More Than 100 COVID Cases Linked Directly To Michigan Bar

Cassandra Stone

Officials are asking all patrons who came between June 12 and June 20 to self-quarantine for two weeks

County health officials in East Lansing, Michigan, are reporting at least 107 cases of COVID-19 have been linked directly to a local bar between June 12 and June 20. The Ingham County Health Department is now asking all patrons who visited Harper’s Restaurant & Brew Pub to self-quarantine and report all cases of the virus.

At least 12 of the cases are from secondary transmission, according to the health department. Which means that a dozen people who did not physically visit the bar have been infected because they came into contact with people who did.

CNN reports that the number of positive cases linked to the bar has risen rapidly since it was first reported last week. Initially, 14 positive cases were reported, that jumped to 34 on Wednesday. By Saturday, that had risen to about 85.

“Harper’s re-opened at 50% capacity on June 8th according to the Governor’s executive order, and have welcomed back our employees and numerous customers to our restaurant and brewpub. The extraordinary exuberant response to our re-opening has been beyond our expectations,” a now-deleted statement on Facebook read, per CNN.

Trish Riley, whose family owns the bar, says she hopes people who visited continue to get tested. She told Bridge Magazine she thinks it’s important to keep testing accessible to understand the scope of the infection — particularly among the “young adults” who rushed back to the bar once it reopened in early June.

“People say to me, I feel so bad for you being demonized as far as the numbers,” said Riley, who co-owns the bar with her husband, Pat. “I say we have to get the numbers. If we don’t have the numbers, we don’t know what’s out there.”

With coronavirus cases on the rise in Michigan (and plenty of other states that have recently reopened), Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has put a pause on other businesses who had planned to reopen by July 4 and said she is contemplating a “more conservative” approach. She said recent outbreaks at places like Harper’s Restaurant & Brewpub in East Lansing reinforce the need for continued precautions.

“The virus has not changed; what has changed is our knowledge and our ability to make decisions that prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Whitmer said in a coronavirus press briefing last week. “It’s on every single one of us to do our part to protect one another, to protect the gains that we’ve made as a state, and to strengthen our ability to get our economy back on track.”

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