Friday, November 27, 2020

East Lansing outdoor gatherings limited to 10 people before Halloween, U of M game

October 28, 2020
<p>Campbell&#x27;s Market Basket, located on Grand River Avenue, displays pumpkins and fall colored flowers at both entrances. Shot on Oct. 18, 2020.</p>

Campbell's Market Basket, located on Grand River Avenue, displays pumpkins and fall colored flowers at both entrances. Shot on Oct. 18, 2020.

Photo by Lauren DeMay | The State News

Outdoor gatherings in downtown East Lansing are now limited to 10 people, down from 25 previously, according to an emergency order issued by Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail.

The order, meant to stop the spread of COVID-19, begins immediately and will remain in place indefinitely.

Local health officials determined the following perimeters based on records showing where large house parties have occurred in the past.

"The restricted area stretches from the northern edge of the Michigan State University campus to Burcham Drive and is bounded by Harrison Road to the west and Hagadorn Road to the east, including properties adjacent to those streets," the statement said.

Based on the health department's observations and previous citations under prior orders, Vail said stricter gathering limits are necessary.

“By further reducing the size of gatherings in this section of East Lansing, we may prevent local outbreaks associated with Halloween and football-related gatherings," Vail said.

Most recently, East Lansing police issued seven gathering citations on the Oct. 26 game day. Additionally, city officials and campus police have taken firm stances against gatherings.

Anyone in violation of the 10-person limit will be subject to a $500 fine, based on a city of East Lansing ordinance, Ingham County Health Communications Specialist Amanda Darche said.

According to the release, those between 20- and 29-years-old account for 40% of all COVID-19 cases in Ingham County since the pandemic began. In response, the order focuses on limiting gatherings where college students and rental properties are concentrated.

“While most MSU students are doing the right thing and cheering on the Spartans in a safe manner, we are still seeing far too many large off-campus gatherings without masks and physical distancing,” East Lansing City Manager George Lahanas said in the release.

Lahanas said the city does not want to experience outbreaks as a result of Halloween and Spartan football celebrations.

Schools, childcare, community centers, religious spaces, farmers markets and parks within the restricted perimeter are exempt from the order, the release said. These areas are restricted to a 100-person outdoor gathering limit.

This is a developing story, stay with The State News for updates.

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