85 people who visited a specific bar in Michigan test positive

This is my opportunity to remind you all that I live in Los Angeles County and that we are currently number one for the amount of Coronavirus cases *waves big foam #1 finger* Yay us. And we had some of the most stringent quarantine orders in place (not that everyone followed the mind you, but they were there). Gov Newsom and Mayor Garcetti just re-shut all our bars. It was a disheartening announcement, not that I don’t think they should (I do), but because like everyone else, I want to think we are edging ourselves out of the pandemic when clearly we are not. However, it’s obviously for the best. I say ‘obviously’ because in Michigan two weeks ago, one establishment, Harper’s Restaurant & Brewery, was ground zero for 85 new cases of COVID-19.

Coronavirus cases linked to crowds who visited a Michigan bar after it reopened have risen to 85, according to health officials.

The Ingham County Health Department is asking anyone who visited Harper’s Restaurant & Brewpub, outside of Michigan State University in East Lansing, between June 12 and 20, to self-quarantine for two weeks.

As of Saturday, 85 people who visited the bar between those dates or have come in contact with people who did have tested positive for coronavirus.

When the Ingham County Health Department announced the outbreak on June 23, 14 people who visited the bar had tested positive. The next day, 34 people had tested positive, the department said.

“Given the number of cases in this outbreak, we consider this a higher risk exposure than a typical visit to a restaurant or bar,” said Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail. “There are likely more people infected with COVID-19 not yet identified. We need help from people who went to Harper’s during the exposure dates so that we can contain the outbreak. We need everyone exposed to stay home.”

[From NBC News]

The report said the bar reopened on June 8 and voluntarily closed again briefly on the 22nd to add air purifying to their HVAC system. The county health inspectors said Harper’s had followed all “appropriate safety procedures related to employees, restaurant capacity and table spacing.” The restaurant said it had been very successful managing its entrance and dining area, but people waiting on the public sidewalk were not adhering to the restaurant’s recommendations. This is so hard for restaurants. They can do everything right, but they can’t control the people coming in. The responsibility for keeping us safe should fall on the individuals, but it’s the businesses that take the hit (some deservedly, sure). Like Hugo’s Tacos here in LA, who closed their locations for their employees’ mental health because of what they endured trying to enforce the restaurants’ face-mask policy. I get the obvious answer is keep it all closed but even for restaurants and bars that can afford to pay their employees during the closure, wait and bar staff really do live on tips. I want to return to ‘normal’ life as much as anybody but not at the cost of someone’s else’s health.


Photo credit: Instagram and Anna Shvets via Pexels

Related stories

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

24 Responses to “85 people who visited a specific bar in Michigan test positive”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Rapunzel says:

    And now, this bar is even more screwed than if it had stayed closed. Who will want to go there now?

    • Original Jenns says:

      The people who don’t care about wearing masks or other people’s health. It’s sad.

      You’re completely correct, Hecate, a restaurant can follow all of the guidelines to keep parties away from each other, but the parties themselves are part of the problem. If I’m meeting a friend for lunch, that friend may be an a hole who never wears a mask when going out , and now I’m maskless, eating next to them (which is why I haven’t eaten out, too scared). Re-opening bars and eateries is for people who have been wearing masks and social distancing, and unfortunately, so many people are stupid.

      • IMUCU says:


        “a friend may be an a hole who never wears a mask when going out”

        There are so many of those types here in FL, even a couple of the nurses I work with! One even said “I’m not going to live my life being scared” (when talking about going out to eat with friends). When it was mentioned that the numbers for the COVID19 units were increasing here in this area she replied “Well, we just need to keep thinking positive” and “Things better get better bc I have a trip out of state planned.” It’s such cognitive dissonance and denial. If people don’t behave responsibly and safely in public, COVID19 will continue to spread a lot faster and there will be more restrictions. Everyone has to do their part physically and no part of “positive thinking” is going to change that.

      • Temperance says:

        So many people are stupid. Ignorant. Stubborn. Willful. Entitled. Brainwashed. Careless. Murderous.

    • Kristen says:

      Uh, no. This is 100% the bar’s fault. They weren’t requiring masks for entry, and the inside was packed, no distancing required. Back in March, after the university closed, but before the EO forcing bars to close, Harper’s was having Corona specials in order to fill the place. Harper’s is terrible and they did literally none of the things right.

  2. Noodle says:

    I live in Huntington Beach, CA, and we have a growing list of bars and restaurants that are closed because of infections. One restaurant, in its fervor for freedom and penchant for stupidity, has actually announced itself a “mask-free” establishment. The owner responded to a negative YELP review by asserting his beliefs in a free, white America, and no communist snowflake Governor is going to tell him differently. So yeah, that restaurant will be closing soon as well.

    • ME says:

      That restaurant should get a hefty fine for carelessness and risking public health. Moronic to say the least.

      • Noodle says:

        Utterly moronic. They are going to get shut down quickly, now that the mask order has been re-established in the state. Unfortunately, the whole thing has really created so much division within my community, which is divided 50-50 on BLM/White supremacy. Mask wearing is a political statement here, which is so stupid. I just feel for the employees who have gone three months without a paycheck, go back to work, and have to deal with the idiots who won’t let them wear masks at work, and won’t allow patrons to wear masks. They are stuck in the middle of this dumb conflict, and putting themselves (and their families) at risk because of an idiot restaurant owner.

    • Thea says:

      @noodle, are you talking about that Italian place on brookhurst? I drove by it yesterday and there were a lot of people outside. They also have a big yellow “don’t tread on my right” flag up that didn’t used to be there.

      I’ve ordered from them in the past, but I’ll never go back there again. The food wasn’t that great, there are better restaurants around.

  3. Sam the Pink says:

    None of this is surprising. Young people feel invincible. I know so.many young people (like, under 30) who say “even if I get it, it won’t kill me. I will be okay.” Which misses so many points!

    1.) Even if you are just fine, you can spread it to people who will not be fine. Your parents, your grandparents, the immunocompromised (who, hint, hint, you can’t always tell who they are), etc.

    2.) This virus messes you up. Doctors are seeing people who will likely have lifelong effects from this. Even if you don’t die, you might not be the same. We know very little about this virus and how it impacts us. Why take that risk?

    3.) There is zero reason to be out at a bar right now. None. I get having to go out for food, to the bank, for supplies, etc. There is no reason to head out to the bar. I know I am climbing the walls for a haircut, but it’s still not worth my kids’ health or wellbeing.

    • Thaisajs says:

      I was going to write a comment, but Sam captured my thoughts perfectly. All of this!

    • Lilly (with the double-L) says:

      Yesterday I was getting tested (no results yet and because of my work – not symptoms, thank goodness) and I asked the doctor about going to the hairdresser. He said with precautions and not every week, I still thought “nah.” Plus when he said “not for weekly styling,” I kind of felt like he’s out of touch. But, maybe there are people who go weekly? I just thought of my grandma who would do that and keep it structured through the week. I just have that long Native straight hair, so I don’t go every week and I think I’ll try trimming my own hair.

      • Sam the Pink says:

        Yeah, there are women who go every week. I think if you have something like a weave or extensions, you go far more because you have to get it maintained. There are also women who go routinely to get blowouts. I go, maybe, like once every 2-3 months?

        I thought about trimming my own but I just don’t trust that, especially since I have layers in my hair and would probably ruin them.

    • Thea says:

      In the beginning, I thought the same. That I’m young and healthy and if I get it, chances are I’ll be ok. But even thinking that, I still took quarantine seriously. I didn’t leave unless it was to go to the grocery store. I haven’t eaten out since March. The last time I was at a bar was on leap day. I haven’t hung out friends.

      But now we know that even if we survive it, there’s lasting health problems that could arise.

      My younger sister is still hanging out with friends, sleeping over, etc. I know people who threw a baby shower last weekend. People who are having house parties or going out to bars. I have an aunt, who is immunocompromised and elderly. She’s been quarantining in California and is so utterly bored, she wants to fly back to NYC. Sometimes, I feel like I’m the only one taking COVID seriously.

      • Temperance says:

        Yes, this week’s bad news is that COVID-infected people are getting significant lung damage (literally visible on basic xrays) even if you do not exhibit symptoms (80% of people that have gotten COVID have no idea). As you all should know, lung damage doesn’t ‘heal’ or get better after the disease. You simply lose more and more function throughout life.

  4. BlueSky says:

    The cases continue to rise here ever sent our a$$ kissing governor decided to reopen last month. They haven’t reclosed anything of course. They are requiring masks now in the city limit areas and restaurants are putting stickers in their window to show they are complying with guidelines. None of this will do anything and on top of that they are doing the farmer’s market downtown.

  5. Gippy says:

    This bar will be fine. It’s across from MSU campus. I love all the youth that are protesting and stuff right now, so impressed. They’re young though and feel invincible, they’ll be back to the bar. Glad I’m not 20 something during this, I know I’d be hating quarantine even more!

    • VIV says:

      They will. I haven’t been to EL for a few years, but they never had enough bars for the number of students – I’d be surprised if that has changed. People will still go. I am 0% surprised this happened at Harper’s.

  6. ME says:

    I know this sounds insane but I really believe this virus has been around since late last summer/early fall. I am guessing California was one of the first to get it and perhaps a lot of people got the virus and had short-term anti-bodies for it because their cases were mild or no symptoms at all. Those anti-bodies have worn off and here you go with people getting re-infected. I think each time you get re-infected with the virus, it does more and more damage to your body. This is why it’s so important to keep wearing masks, social distance, and for the love of God don’t go to the movies, eat-in restaurants, or even the mall (unless absolutely necessary). Don’t be stupid ! I mean I could be wrong…ok maybe I am wrong, but there is something unique about this virus from all others.

  7. KellyRyan says:

    I’m within 15 miles of LA County residing in Kern County. Yes, we were one of the fifteen on Gov Newsom’s list to close. The Michigan bar that closed was a bar and restaurant. Were all those infected at the bar or both areas? We have our share of irresponsibles in our community. My issues are Airbnb, homeowner’s who do not scrutinize visitor behavior, HOA which does not lead and buckles under pressure to whiner’s, and completely ignores CDC guidelines on decontamination.

  8. Charfromdarock says:

    I just don’t understand the deliberate obtuseness.

    We are 32 days Covid free in my province and are starting to open very slowly.

    I’m freaking out that people are starting to mix outside their own bubble in public places. There’s no way I’m going to dine in at a restaurant or go to a bar until there is a viable treatment and/or vaccine.

  9. Siul says:

    I just can’t believe no one is taking this virus seriously enough to wear mask. It’s a stupid mask that you wear when you go outdoors. How hard is that? Apparently, the ones in that bar didn’t have the brain cells to figure that one out. And this crap about opening up slowly. Well, look what happened. The numbers have spiked up and now beds for ICU is nearly full. For me, I’d have everything shut down for a few months, have everyone tested, and force people to wear masks once the numbers of infections go down. But that’ll never happen. Now, American is the laughing stock in world. And we’re so powerful?

  10. ZeeEnnui says:

    I had to come out of lurk mode because I love Hugo’s Tacos (the honey chipotle salsa is everything). I live in West Hollywood but whenever I’m in Studio City, I always try to stop in. The food is great and the people that work there are so kind that it infuriates me that people would do that. Here’s the deal. NOBODY enjoys wearing a mask but we do it to protect others. I’m sick of the selfishness and this “the Earth is flat” attitude. I’m pretty sure that if I got the virus I’d survive it, but why risk it? I know a few people that had Covid and they have never been so sick in their life. One guy I know from my gym who is in tremendous shape will now have severe lung damage for the rest of his life. As much of a badass as Val Kilmer was as Doc Holiday, I don’t really want to spend the rest of my life as a “lunger,” so the mask it is! Also, as a born and raised kid from behind the Orange Curtain #ShockedNotShocked. At least in L.A. majority of us are doing the right thing but I passed a small neighborhood bar that I love on Friday and the line was packed and not socially distant (get your drinks to go, people). I feel like despite doing everything right, and I feel like Gavin Newsom has done a terrific job, we’re in this for the long haul. It sucks. I’m embarrassed for our country right now.

  11. Temperance says:

    Ya think? A deadly airborne, proximity-sensitive virus is running rampant and it sounds like a good idea to you to go out, go to a bar, squish in, drop the mask (iif you bothered), and sit there for a long time breathing everyone else’s disease for a while for a drink you can get at HOME. Sounds like Darwin at work to me,.