A Michigan restaurant owner blasted what he called a “shocking” double standard by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and called her out for being pictured inside a restaurant in a large group in violation of her own coronavirus restrictions.
Speaking on “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday, Mitch Spangler, the owner of Spangler’s Family Restaurant in Michigan, said “it was just shocking that the double standard could even happen,” noting that if Whitmer truly believes “there is a danger and believes in the science, “how do you forget the rules?”
“We weren’t allowed to forget the rules,” he stressed.
Whitmer apologized on Sunday after a photo emerged that appeared to show her disregarding social distancing guidelines at a bar.
The photo showed the governor with a large group at The Landshark Bar & Grill in East Lansing, Mich. Whitmer appeared to be with a dozen people with tables pushed together although the state still requires social distancing at restaurants, with no more than six people at tables.
The group was unmasked and there seemed to be no social distancing.
“It was an honest mistake, and I have apologized for it,” Whitmer said at a press conference on Monday. “I think that we have specifically not gone forward and penalized businesses trying to do the right thing. It’s those that have flouted and put people’s safety at risk that are the most concerning. I don’t know that there’s a lot more for me to add at this point in time, other than those former Spartans … who know the establishment should be aware that it’s now a restaurant, and they have pretty good pizza.”
Spangler said he is now facing a $4,500 fine, which he was able to negotiate down from $9,000, thanks to help from an attorney who worked with him pro bono.
He said he would “love” for the entire fine to be waived, but noted that this is “the best that we could do with the attorney general’s office at this point.”
Spangler noted that because of his legal team he was able to work “through the emotional roller coaster.”
“I am so grateful to the support of the community,” he said.
Spangler explained that he could have faced bankruptcy during the coronavirus pandemic and the associated restrictions imposed by the governor had he not stayed open.
He said that two years ago he invested over $300,000 in two buildings for his businesses, using money from friends and family members, not from banks.
“It was either face them and tell them, ‘Hey your investment’s no good’ or reopen and take as many safety precautions as necessary, which included air cleaners, plastic barriers my staff fully masked up… we just had to do it or be done.”
During Monday’s news conference, Whitmer announced the restrictions will be lifted on July 1.
MICHIGAN’S WHITMER APOLOGIZES AFTER MASKLESS PHOTO EMERGES ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Last May, Whitmer faced backlash from Republican lawmakers after a reported request from her husband to get the family’s boat out on the water before Memorial Day weekend — far from their home in Lansing.
Whitmer, a Democrat, famously had imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in the country, which sparked frequent protests. What’s more, she’s told people not living in northern Michigan to stay away from vacation spots there during the holiday weekend.
Whitmer spokeswoman Tiffany Brown refused to comment specifically on the matter, saying the administration wouldn’t address “every rumor that is spread online.”
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She said in a statement at the time that “our practice is not to discuss the governor’s or her family’s personal calendar/schedules.”
Fox News’ Evie Fordham and Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.