People continue to donate to a GoFundMe account to support the embattled Lakeview Lounge in Battle Creek. The initial goal of the fund was $8,000. It’s up over $30,000 as of earlier this morning. The bar along Capital Avenue remains closed following state virus closing enforcement action. Owner Norm Downey is being fined $1,200 for allowing customers to be seated inside the lounge during the Governor’s ongoing restaurant and bar shut down.

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Downey heard the fine being assessed against him during a virtual hearing involving a state Administrative Law Judge. A state attorney wants an extended closing order. He's asking for a 60-day closing order. Downey objects to that time frame, arguing if the state’s ban is lifted at the end of the current extension which runs for another 13 days, that keeps him shut down long past that time. The loss of income he says is already devastating. The Judge is taking all that under advisement and is expected to render a decision on the specifics of the closing order as early as tomorrow.

TSM/Lacy James
TSM/Lacy James

The establishment is being accused by state investigators of being open at least twice last month, and at least once earlier this month. Investigators charge Lakeview Lounge with willfully violating the Governor’s order through the state Health and Human Services Department to remain closed for dine-in seating along with facemask violations. The state claims tips from area residents about the bar being open are what led investigators there initially last month.  And when they returned earlier this month to serve emergency liquor license suspension orders, customers were found inside then too.

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