Tuesday, July 27, 2021

East Lansing bars adjust to new 2 a.m. curfew

June 2, 2021
El Azteco is pictured in downtown East Lansing June 30, 2020.
El Azteco is pictured in downtown East Lansing June 30, 2020. —
Photo by Matt Schmucker | The State News

As of Tuesday, June 1, restaurants and bars are able to return to normal protocol and move closing time back to 2 a.m. after the state COVID-19 health restrictions were lifted for dining services.

While this affects restaurants state-wide, it hits close to home as numerous restaurants and bars in East Lansing can stay open late to serve customers. Business slowed over the past year because restaurants and brewpubs were unable to serve college students in the area.

The most recent health regulation update restricted restaurants to close at 11 p.m., allowing only six individuals per table.

"We are going to be changing our hours to stay open later on Friday and Saturday," Meghan Bell, Peanut Barrel in East Lansing's manager, said. 'So far we haven't seen much of a late-night or demand for late-night, Sunday through Thursday. But it's still something that we may consider tweaking in the future."

For physically smaller businesses, it has been difficult with not only a curfew but also a maximum 50% capacity restriction.

"Obviously with the 50% capacity, it affects a lot of businesses, but with Lou and Harry's being a little bit smaller we can not even really fit 50% in with how many tables we have, and with everyone's sitting down," Lou and Harry's general manager Shane Carney said. "So, with everything being lifted, we can actually do 50% again and it's going to be super helpful for us and I think for everyone."

East Lansing's restaurants and bars are continuing to offer deals and bringing back those that are offered specifically during late-night hours.

"We just have our regular daily specials and happy hour specials, the typical 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Happy Hour, not any sort of late-night happy hour as of right now," Bell said.

"We have been running all of our specials pretty much the entire time, but obviously we have our Thursday Night, Mug Night which is my favorite deal," Carney said. "Then we also have a couple other specials that are great that will keep on going."

Carney said he was excited to have people standing up and dancing again.

"Today is going to be the first day that will actually get to experience people standing up and being able to dance again," Carney said. "We are super excited about it because it is no fun having to go around telling everyone to sit down and keep their masks on. It is a change of pace and we are so excited to get into it."

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