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Ingham County limits restaurant capacity as East Lansing-linked COVID-19 cases rise

June 29, 2020
<p>The East Lansing clock tower photographed on Aug. 23, 2019. </p>

The East Lansing clock tower photographed on Aug. 23, 2019.

Photo by Sylvia Jarrus | The State News

Confirmed COVID-19 cases linked to East Lansing's Harper's Restaurant and Brewpub has now surpassed more than 100, and while Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's Executive Order 2020-114, or "Stay Home, Stay Safe," already restricts restaurant capacity to 50% of normal seating, the Ingham County Health Department restricted capacity further in an emergency order Monday.

The localized directive caps restaurant capacity at 50%, or no more than 75 people at one time — whichever is less and without exceptions.

The order is targeted toward large licensed food service establishments with capacities of more than 150.

"Large crowds are difficult to control," Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail said in a release. "By allowing no more than 75 people, restaurants and bars will be better able to enforce social distancing and the use of masks and face coverings. I strongly encourage all bars and restaurants to strictly enforce safety measures and to do all they can to help stop the spread of coronavirus in our community."

Michigan law grants Vail with the authority to issue orders to protect public health, the release said. Those who disregard the order could be subject to a misdemeanor that includes up to 90 days in jail or a fine of up to $200.

There order is in effect starting at 12:01 a.m. on June 30 and will continue through 11:59 p.m. on July 16.

The case count from Harper's includes 95 primary cases, people who directly went to Harper's during the exposure period, and 12 secondary cases, people who were in contact with the primary cases but not at Harper's themselves.

Ingham County residents make up 59 cases, while the remainder were from counties such as Clinton, Oakland, Wayne, St. Clair, Macomb, Eaton and Kalamazoo. About 40% are current Michigan State students or recent graduates, according to the health department.

Those infected have been found to be between the ages of 16 and 28. None have been hospitalized, and most are either experiencing mild symptoms or are asymptomatic.

If you visited Harper's between June 12 and 20, you are considered among those who have been exposed and have been asked to self-quarantine for 14 days since your visit.

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