Café Rosetta Defies Michigan’s Coronavirus Lockdowns In A Battle To Stay In Business

Not the business in question. (Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Font Size:

A Michigan café is defying the state’s strict lockdown orders in a battle to keep their business alive.

Café Rosetta was started in 2013 by Amy Heikkinen, a single mother who was looking for work. Heikkinen told the Daily Caller that the café lost 40% of its revenue when the first lockdowns went into effect.

Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer implemented restrictions in November that shut down indoor dining. At that point, “We looked at our books and were already in pretty rough shape,” Heikkinen told the Caller. “So we figured well, we either close down now or later. And here we are. Still open.” (RELATED: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Extends Partial Lockdown In Michigan)

Heikkinen is in the middle of a legal battle challenging a ruling from a circuit court ordering her to close her doors.

The café is being represented by attorney David Kallman. Kallman was also the attorney for 77-year-old Michigan barber Karl Manke, who faced criminal charges after he defied coronavirus restrictions and opened his business. The charges against Manke were dismissed in October after the Michigan Supreme Court found Whitmer’s lockdown order to be unconstitutional, NBC25 News reported.

“I think it’s up to the American people whether it’s constitutional or not for me to work, to have a right to earn a living doing work that I’ve always done prior to corona,” Heikkinen said of the lawsuit.

“Of course we’re hoping to win,” she added. Several fundraisers have been set up to help the café pay the fees associated with the lawsuit, including one on the Christian fundraising site GiveSendGo. The lawsuit is currently in circuit court in Ingham County. (RELATED: ‘Operation Haircut’: Michigan Barbers Defy Lockdown, Offer Haircuts On Capitol Lawn)

“I think we have a pretty good shot at figuring this out,” Heikkinen told the Caller.

Erik Kiilunen, the founder of the anti-lockdown group All Business Is Essential, has been advocating for Café Rosetta throughout its fight to stay open. He told the Caller that other businesses have joined the café in defying Michigan’s restrictions.

“There’s a group called Stand Up Michigan, which is a published list of restaurants in Michigan that are defying the order, and I want to say it’s up to about 40 right now,” Kiilunen said. “We’ve been actively encouraging anybody in our local area to open up, to stand up.”

Kiilinen told the Caller that Café Rosetta has racked up between $32,000 and $37,000 in fines for defying the order. There is a daily fine of $1,000 for staying open, but Kiilinen said that the daily fine is more of a threat and the café has been charged a total of $5,000 in daily fines.

“I have rheumatoid arthritis and hyperthyroidism, which on one end says that I’m immunocompromised or somehow unable to be around the public, which simply isn’t true,” Heikkinen told the Caller. “So by all means, what the narrative is is that anybody with that condition should hide and not be in the public, but I don’t have that luxury. I don’t have that choice.”

“I have to support my family,” she added. “I’m a single mom with six kids and I’ve been working as a frontline worker this whole time.”