Thursday, February 2, 2023

City Council prohibits lines downtown on St. Patrick's Day

March 9, 2021
Downtown East Lansing on Nov. 20, 2020.
Downtown East Lansing on Nov. 20, 2020. —
Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

The East Lansing City Council passed an order Tuesday prohibiting lines for entry into bars, restaurants and other businesses in the City’s Downtown Development Authority district to combat the crowds expected to gather downtown on St. Patrick’s Day. 

The ordinance starts at 12:01 a.m. on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day and ends at 2 a.m. the next day. Along with prohibiting lines, it limits outdoor gatherings to 15 people in the downtown area.

Those who violate the City Council's order face a civil infraction and a fine of up to $25. East Lansing Mayor Aaron Stephens said handing out tickets is not the goal of the order, but rather to remind people of the precautions they need to follow downtown and give ELPD the extra authority to break up lines and large groups. 

“That would be the goal, is just, really a very gentle reminder of this rule that’s put in place,” Stephens said.

Stephens emphasized that most bars and restaurants have used online reservation services and will continue to use them as popular drinking days like St. Patrick’s Day approach. 

This comes as a reinforcement to an Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail issued an emergency order last Thursday restricting outdoor gatherings in specific parts of East Lansing to 15 people as well. Statewide, outdoor gatherings are limited to 50 people and indoor gatherings to 15 people from three households.

Violators of the existing ICHD order could receive a misdemeanor, meaning imprisonment for up to six months and/or a $200 fine. They could also receive a municipal civil infraction ticket, punishable by a $500 fine under a City of East Lansing ordinance.

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