Ingham County Health Department Gives Emergency Order Over Restaurant Capacity
INGHAM COUNTY - The Ingham County Health Department (ICHD) has released an Emergency Order to reduce restaurants capacity to 50 percent or a maximum of 75 people, which ever one is smaller.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-114 already restricts a restaurant’s capacity to 50 percent of their normal capacity. However, the order does not impose a limitation. The Health Department's emergency order directly prohibits all food service establishments from allowing more than 75 patrons at a time.
Ingham County’s Health Officer, Linda S. Vail said in a press release that the order will help restaurants and bars enforce COVID-19 prevention procedures.
“Large crowds are difficult to control,” said Vail. “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.”
State law allows Vail to issue this order under Section 2453 of the Public Health Code in order to protect the public health. Those who disregard the order may face a misdemeanor that includes a $200 fine and/or up to 90 days in jail.
This order was released to due to reports of COVID-19 cases linked to restaurants like Harper's Restaurant & Brew Pub which currently has 107 cases linked to it. 95 of these cases are people who went to Harper’s during the exposure period between June 12th and June 20th. The other 12 where from people who were in contact with a primary case but did not go to Harper’s themselves. Only 59 of these cases are people who actually live in Ingham County.
Those who have visited Harper’s within the exposure period have been asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. All of the people with cases linked to Harper’s were between the ages of 16 and 28. Most have experienced minor symptoms with 28 people being asymptomatic. No one has been hospitalized.
Harper’s announced on their Facebook page that they will temporarily close down again in order to implement new systems to help protect their patrons in the future. One thing they are incorporating is a program to eliminate waiting in line to enter the restaurant. They are also modifying their HVAC system to install air-purifying technology.
Everyone who visited Harper’s during the exposure period are encouraged to get tested as well. A testing event is being held on 846 Service Road in East Lansing on June 30th from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm. No appointment is necessary. It is also free. People can also visit a no-cost testing site or contact their primary physician to get tested.
For more information, Ingham County residents can call the ICHD COVID-19 response line at 517.887.4517 or visit hd.ingham.org/coronavirus.