Michigan man who defied state pandemic orders to keep diner open dies of COVID-19

A man who defied state orders and kept his restaurant open last year during the pandemic, partly to pay medical bills, has died of complications from COVID-19.

John Parney, 62, operated the Quincy Diner in Quincy in southern Michigan.

He was admitted to a hospital with COVID-19 in September, went home but quickly developed significant health problems that put him back in the hospital, according to a GoFundMe page.

Parney died Dec. 14, according to his obituary.

He kept the restaurant open in December 2020 in violation of orders from the Michigan health department, which was trying to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by banning dine-in business.

"My wife’s fighting stage-four colon cancer," Parney said at the time. "We depend on this restaurant to help subsidize billing and all of that. My employees need that. Of course, if I’d have stayed closed much longer, I’d have lost the business."

Employees wore masks and customers were spread out.

"We’re doing all the stuff we’re supposed to do, other than the fact that my doors are open," Parney said.

Parney wasn’t vaccinated against COVID-19 but had pledged during his illness to get a shot "because the battle, at that point, was worse than any training he endured in the military," his family said.