Cafe Rosetta Joins Hundreds of Restaurants in Michigan To Defy Lockdown

Cafe Rosetta in Calumet, MI, remains open for indoor dining and takeout, in violation of stay-at-home orders issued by Michigan’s health department issued on November 15, resulting in a fine of $1,000 per day. Amy Heikken, a mother of six and the owner of the café, is also refusing to pay the accumulated fines for allowing indoor dining and keeping her café open. Some locals have shown their support for Amy, including Michigan small business owner Erik Kiilunen, who established the “All Business Is Essential” campaign to keep Michigan businesses open and thriving during the pandemic and is acting as her spokesperson.

Erik Kiilunen explained that Amy does not really want to be in conflict with anybody but she has 30 employees and she can’t afford to stop offering indoor dining especially when it has already started snowing in Michigan. Amy has six children to support and the café, which she founded with the help of her brother in 2011 after getting divorced, is the source of her livelihood. Furthermore, she can’t wear a mask as required by the health authorities because of a thyroid problem.

cafe rosetta happy customer

Amy Heikken had to make a decision for herself, her children, and her employees and that was to remain open and offer indoor dining, despite being in violation of the state mandate. Currently, she is under pressure from the local health department, headed by Tanya Rule, who is the environmental health director for the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department, who decided to impose on her a fine of $1,000 for each day that she stays open. More about Heikken’s café can be gleaned from the Cafe Rosetta Instagram page.

Many locals have shown their support for Amy by visiting the café daily, including one customer who went further by initiating a fund raiser on, which is a crowdfunding site. The money raised will also be used to help pay for her legal fees as she continues her legal battle against the state.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) had issued the Epidemic Order that imposed restrictions on indoor dining and in-person learning for the period of November 15 to December 20, 2020. According to the MDHHS, the restrictions were there to prevent the spread of COVID-19, specifically due to indoor gatherings, which in turn would minimize the strain on the state’s healthcare system that is tasked with saving lives. Note that workplace cafeterias, soup kitchens and shelters are exempt from the order regardless of occupancy size.

The state health department added that such targeted and temporary closures of establishments, including restaurants, have been shown to be successful in helping avoid spikes in COVID infections in Western Europe. The MDHHS also clarified that the epidemic order was to stop indoor dining in restaurants but restaurants can stay open and offer outdoor dining and they have been encouraging residents to support restaurants by ordering delivery or take-out. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer had also asked Congress to pass a law offering financial help to bars and restaurants.

On the other hand, Erik Kiilunen noted that the Michigan Supreme Court in June 2020 had decided in favor of Karl Manke, a 77-year-old barber who reopened his shop in May 2020, in defiance of Gov. Whitmer’s orders. Michigan’s high court had also denied in October 2020 Whitmer’s request to expand her emergency powers in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. The result was that the governor had to work with the MDHHS for the issuance of orders for statewide restrictions.

Whitmer had explained that the emergency order to prohibit the gathering of people for whatever reason is based on the authority given to the MDHHS by the Legislature, issued a century ago, to counteract threats to public health such as those posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. She further argued that the MDHHS director has the power to prohibit such gatherings if it has been determined that it is necessary for the control of an epidemic.

Those who are interested in learning more about Café Rosetta may want to check out their website, or contact them through the telephone or via email. To know more about the Cafe Rosetta location, people may want to visit their Google Maps page.


For more information about Cafe Rosetta, contact the company here:

Cafe Rosetta
Amy Heikken
102 5th St, Calumet, MI 49913