East Lansing bar Harper's linked to virus cases to detail reopening plans to liquor commission

Ariana Taylor
The Detroit News

East Lansing bar Harper's Brew and Pub must appear at a hearing next week before the state liquor commission to detail its efforts to ensure safe operations after nearly 200 positive cases of COVID-19 last month were linked to the bar. 

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission has ordered owners of the bar, which closed last month after the outbreak, to appear at a show cause hearing July 23 via Zoom to defend the status of its Class C and Brewpub licenses and permits. 

During the hearing, Harper's owners will be asked what "steps it took or failed to take" to comply with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's executive order regarding the opening of bars and restaurants at 50% capacity as COVID-19 restrictions were eased. 

The bar will also have to demonstrate to the commission how it plans to safely reopen for patrons and employees. 

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Harper's announced on Facebook on June 22 that it was closing to "implement a program to eliminate lines, and to modify our HVAC system to install an air purifying technology while the air is being conditioned and re-circulated. When we have finished implementing these two strategies, we will have the most state-of-the-art neighborhood venue for you to visit safely."

The next day, the Ingham County health department announced that the bar near Michigan State University was linked to 22 positive cases of coronavirus. Over the course of two weeks, the number of cases related to Harper's rose to over 180.

The Ingham County Health Department said in a June 23 press release its inspectors found that the pub was following appropriate safety procedures.