Michigan College Bar Closes After 85 Visitors Catch Coronavirus

A bar in Michigan has been linked to an outbreak of at least 85 cases of coronavirus, leading to Ingham County's highest increase in cases since late May according to the county government website.

Dozens of cases of coronavirus have been traced to the Harper's Restaurant & Brew Pub in East Lansing, which was found to be following appropriate safety procedures related to employees, restaurant capacity, and table spacing.

A statement on the Harper's Restaurant & Brew Pub website says: "We have taken these enhanced health and safety measures for our customers and employees. We ask that you please follow all posted instructions while visiting Harper's Restaurant & Brewpub, Club RUSH, and P.T. O'Malley's.

​​"By visiting Harper's Restaurant & Brewpub, Club RUSH, and P.T. O'Malley's, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19."

The bar reopened on June 8 after being closed due to Michigan's lockdown order. But following the cases of coronavirus linked to Harper's, the bar closed again on June 23 to "implement a program to eliminate lines, and to modify our HVAC system to install an air purifying technology."

Inside the Harper's... the crowd is enjoying the first night of reopening @thesnews pic.twitter.com/dGBAsC8Hgj

— Kaishi Chhabra (@IamKaishi29) June 9, 2020

The Ingham County Health Department (ICHD) is now asking anyone who visited the bar from June 12 through June 20 to self-quarantine for 14 days. The ICHD said nobody has been hospitalized.

The ICDH reported that of the first 34 people to test positive for COVID-19 in relation to the bar, all were between the ages of 19 and 23, and around half were connected to Michigan State University (MSU).

Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail said in a statement: "Anyone could have COVID-19. You never know because some people with coronavirus are not yet sick, and some people never have signs of the disease.

"We need people to treat every person they encounter as a potential carrier. That means wearing masks and keeping 6 feet away from others. I strongly urge everyone to take precautions so that we can keep infections down and keep businesses open."

MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D said in a statement: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of our Spartan community impacted by this virus and we wish them a speedy recovery.

"We will continue working in partnership with the health department to facilitate any necessary contact tracing and redouble our efforts to educate our community on the importance of the preventative measures we all should be taking."

According to the Johns Hopkins University, Ingham County has reported 980 cases of the coronavirus and 29 coronavirus-related deaths. The Statista graph below shows that the U.S. has more than 2.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19.

coronavirus COVID-19 Statista
A Statista graph that shows that the U.S. has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world, as of June 29, 2020. Statista