East Lansing bar linked to 85 positive cases of coronavirus

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

The Ingham County Health Department said Saturday at least 85 people who visited an East Lansing bar have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Those infected with the virus visited Harper's Restaurant and Brew Pub, near Michigan State University's campus, between June 12-20, the department said.

Health officials advise anyone who was at the bar during those dates to get tested for the coronavirus, whether or not they have symptoms and self-quarantine for 14 days.

Officials announced the first infections Wednesday when 22 cases were confirmed.

Harper's Restaurant and Brewpub in East Lansing.

"We need people to treat every person they encounter as a potential carrier," said Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail in a news release earlier this week. "I strongly urge everyone to take precautions so that we can keep infections down and keep businesses open."

Most of those initially infected are between the ages of 19 and 23, the health department said. About half of them have some connection to MSU, others have residences in other Michigan counties, and some are secondary infections.

None of those infected required hospitalization, the health department said.

Harper's announced it was temporary closing Monday night, although the Ingham County Health Department said its inspectors found that the pub was following appropriate safety procedures. 

The bar, which opened at 50% capacity on June 8, said it was closing to start a program that will eliminate long wait lines outside and to replace and improve the air conditioning throughout the building. 

"We have experienced long lines on the public sidewalk in front of our building. We have attempted to instruct customers waiting in line to wear face coverings and practice social distancing through signage on the public sidewalk and with a banner on our railing," the restaurant said on Facebook.

"Our oversight of the line on our stairs has been successful, but trying to get customers to follow our recommendations on the public sidewalk has been challenging."

On June 9, one day after it's re-opening, a reporter for The State News tweeted videos and pictures of large crowds at East Lansing bars, including at Harper's.