Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Crowds gather as downtown East Lansing bars reopen

June 9, 2020
<p>The line at Harper&#x27;s Restaurant and Brewpub on June 8 following Michigan&#x27;s reopening of bars and restaurants at 50% capacity.</p>

The line at Harper's Restaurant and Brewpub on June 8 following Michigan's reopening of bars and restaurants at 50% capacity.

Photo by Kaishi Chhabra | The State News

Following the announcement last week that indoor dining areas could reopen at 50% capacity, many in East Lansing took to the open bars Monday night to celebrate a moderate return to normalcy.

Harper’s Restaurant and Brewpub and Lou and Harry’s were among the bars across the state that welcomed customers indoors on the first night of their reopening. This follows the state entering stage four of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's six-part “MI Safe Start Plan” as COVID-19 case and death numbers continue to decline.

"I'm excited about the bars reopening," Adrian College student Neysa Miller said while waiting in line at Lou and Harry’s. "I definitely miss the bar scene. I miss social interactions and being around everyone in general. And I'm excited that everything's opening back up.”

A Lou and Harry’s Facebook post described precautions taken to keep the environment safe. Among these, all surfaces will be sanitized on a continuous schedule, seating will be limited to create a social distance barrier and employees will be required to wear masks and have their temperatures taken upon arrival.

“We called earlier to make sure they are following all guidelines … it was great to be at Harper’s,” Michigan State alumna Hailey Browne said while leaving Harper’s for the night. “I feel like at some point this shift had to happen. So, to open it now would be better than opening it way later.”

Markers were placed down the stairs and sidewalk in front of Harper’s urging those at the bar to maintain a physical distance of six feet while waiting to enter. Although the governor advised Michiganders to continue wearing masks and continue social distancing, not many were seen doing so. 

According to a post Monday evening, Harper’s opened their patio seating and offered half-off sandwiches, $2.25 drafts and $3 long islands throughout the night.

“I feel like it’s been long enough,” East Lansing resident Larissa Swiss said while in line for Harper’s. “I’ve been out of state recently, so it’s like everything’s been open except for Michigan.”

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