East Lansing Bar Linked to at Least 34 Positive COVID-19 Cases
As of noon Wednesday the number stood at 34 and growing. The cases are all related to an coronavirus outbreak traced back to a popular East Lansing bar called Harper's Restaurant & Brew Pub. The establishment is near the Michigan State University's campus.
In the past 24 hours the number of cases has grown quickly. The Ingham County Health Department is recommending that anyone who visited the East Lansing bar and restaurant between June 12 and June 20 quarantine for two weeks from the day of their visit.
The health department is strongly stressing the importance of the quarantine and getting tested if symptoms are present. "Given the number of cases in this outbreak, we consider this a higher risk exposure than a typical visit to a restaurant or bar," Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail said in a press release. "There are likely more people infected with COVID-19 not yet identified. We need help from people who went to Harper’s during the exposure dates so that we can contain the outbreak. We need everyone exposed to stay home."
Reports indicate that all of the people with cases linked to bar are between the ages of 18 and 23. With the amount of students from Michigan State University that frequent the bar, the university itself has commented on the outbreak saying, "These positive cases underscore the importance of personal responsibility among our students, faculty and staff, and taking the necessary steps to protect ourselves and others from the unnecessary transmission of COVID-19," said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of our Spartan community impacted by this virus and we wish them a speedy recovery."
Harper's owners have temporarily closed the bar and issued a statement indicating they will make sure that all of their employees are tested for coronavirus and they will pay for the employees’ tests. Their statement reads,
“Our small family business takes its role and responsibility in our community very seriously – especially when it comes to the health and safety of our customers and team members. That’s why we have taken every measure to not only meet, but exceed, local, state and federal guidance for reopening during this COVID-19 health pandemic, which has been confirmed by the Ingham County Health Department. That’s also why we have closed temporarily, to implement added safety precautions. We understand that people who tested positive for COVID-19 visited our establishment as well as several others in East Lansing. So before we are-open, we are investing in new air filtration technology as well as a virtual line management app that will help negate city sidewalk lines that we have no control or authority over. We are also making sure all of our employees are tested. As a family-owned and operated business, we will not waiver from our commitment to go above and beyond, diligently maintaining health standards and protocols to help keep our employees and guests safe.”
PAT AND TRISHA RILEY
Several people were commenting on Harper's Facebook page regarding the crowds and lack social distancing by patrons. As of Wednesday evening that page is now deactivated.