Licenses suspended for Marquette bar, accused of MDHHS violations

North Central UP

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Irie Vibes Inc. which does business as Wooden Nickel on Presque Isle Avenue in Marquette has had all business licenses suspended following an investigation from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission’s Enforcement Division.

According to the complaint filed, at 12:15 a.m. on February 2, 2021, a sergeant and an officer with Marquette City Police Department (MCPD) noticed a suspected MDHHS order violation. Upon inspection, MCPD said it found 60 people inside, which is above the 25% posted seating capacity. The establishment’s normal capacity is 66 persons. The report also notes the business was found to be open past the 10:00 p.m. curfew. Officers said they observed many patrons standing and mingling in a common area, where neither patrons or staff were wearing face masks. Officers recorded video of the inspection by using their body camera. We have contacted the Wooden Nickel for a response to the report and they have not yet responded.

A second investigation, two days later on February 4, 2021 at 12:00 a.m. was conducted by a sergeant and two corporals from MCPD. Officers said they found 40-50 people inside the business, again after the 10:00 p.m. curfew. The report notes patrons and staff were again, not wearing face masks. The second investigation was also recorded by body camera.

The complaint state that on February 4, 2021 an investigator from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission spoke to the bar manager, explaining the consequences of intentionally violating the curfew, 25% occupancy, masks, and distancing requirements of the MDHHS order. The investigator then spoke with the the Licensee’s stockholder, and he stated that he was aware of the activities at the establishment.

The complaint also outlines MCPD discovered MDHHS violations on to prior occasions.

According to the complaint, on January 1, 2021, MCPD officers found 30 people inside, no employees wore face masks and one patron was wearing a mask. MCPD said it found similar activity on January 16, 2021, with six people inside and none wearing masks.

Below are the conclusions of the investigation, copied from the complain.


On both February 2, 2021, and February 4, 2021, the Licensee violated the MDHHS Gatherings and Face Mask Order dated January 22, 2021, by allowing indoor gatherings at the licensed premises without requiring patrons to be seated, and by
allowing groups of patrons to intermingle, contrary to section 3(b)(1). Each of these violations also violates Mich Admin Code, R 436.1011(1).

The Licensee also violated that order on both dates by allowing indoor gatherings at the licensed premises while permitting patrons to gather in common areas in which people congregate, dance, or otherwise mingle, contrary to section 3(b)(2). Each of these violations also violates Mich Admin Code, R 436.1011(1).

Further, the Licensee violated the January 22, 2021 MDHHS Gatherings and Face Mask Order on both dates by allowing indoor gatherings at the licensed premises while allowing the number of patrons indoors to exceed 25% of normal seating capacity, contrary to section 3(b)(4)(A). Each of these violations also violates Mich Admin Code, R
436.1011(1).

The Licensee also violated the MDHHS Gatherings and Face Mask Order dated January 22, 2021, on both dates by allowing indoor gatherings at the licensed premises and allowing indoor dining between the hours of 10:00 PM and 4:00 AM, contrary to section 3(b)(4)(B). Each of these violations also violates Mich Admin Code, R 436.1011(1).

The Licensee also violated the MDHHS Gatherings and Face Mask Order dated January 22, 2021, on both dates by allowing indoor gatherings at the licensed premises without requiring persons to wear face masks, contrary to section 7(a), (c). Each of these violations also violates Mich Admin Code, R 436.1011(1).


Michigan Liquor Control Commission Hearing Commissioner Edward Toma signed an order to suspend the Class C license and Specially Designated Merchant licenses, and all permits,
at the above-captioned licensed premises.

Irie Vibes, Inc. is scheduled to appear before an Administrative Law Judge on Friday February 19, 2021 for a virtual hearing on the charges identified above.

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