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Business owner outraged after prom event held at banquet center in violation of governor’s orders

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    Saginaw County (WNEM) — People are upset after a prom took place at a Mid-Michigan banquet center Tuesday night.

“It’s not right,” said Steve Dobis, owner of Forest Edge and Hellenic Banquet Center.

That’s how Dobis felt after witnessing the prom event on social media Tuesday night.

He said the prom took place at the Swan Valley Banquet Center with students from Valley Lutheran High School.

“I was quite shocked at that moment to see the party going on inside,” Dobis said.

Dobis owns a separate banquet hall in Saginaw that is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the Swan Valley Banquet Center should not have allowed this to happen.

Dobis said it defies the governor’s orders, which only allow for 10 people inside a venue and 100 people outside of it.

“All of us who are abiding by the orders and that are losing money and thousands and thousands of dollars, I don’t feel that it is right that they’re able to go and host events,” Dobis said.

TV5 reached out to Swan Valley Banquet Center for comment but has not heard back yet.

However, school officials said the prom held last night was not even under the authority of Valley Lutheran High School.

“We canceled it because, one, we could not have the number of people who ordinarily would come to prom. We could not host something like that with all the dancing and all the socializing that goes on. We could not be able to manage those social distancing requirements,” said Dr. John Brandt, executive director of Valley Lutheran High School.

Brandt said they had canceled the school’s prom in June and that it was supposed to be held at a different banquet center.

He said they never authorized this event and that it’s unfortunate a party like this would take place without proper social distancing.

“I do understand where people are coming from, but by the same token, I think that people need to exercise good judgement,” Brandt said.

The Attorney General’s Office issued a statement saying executive order violations should be reported to local law enforcement agencies.

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Stephen Borowy

Article Topic Follows: Regional News

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