Updated

Harper's celebrants ring in the reopening of bars and restaurants

Social distancing? What’s that?

Posted

Updated at 4:05 p.m.to add comments by Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail

MONDAY, June 8 — Homecoming?

No. It’s the first day restaurants and bars in mid-Michigan could be open since March 16, when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer closed them for dining in.

Many places were closed or still limiting themselves to carry out.

Some places, such as Black Cat Bistro, on Albert Street near Abbot Road, were quiet. Tables were spaced at least six feet apart. Several tables inside and out were occupied for dinner.

Then there was neighboring Harper ’s. By 8:30, a long line had formed on the sidewalk. The patios were jammed. If tables were six feet apart outside, customers certainly were not.  They partied like it was 1969. The music roared.

Today, Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail said there was nothing officials can do to prevent people from not social distancing inside or out.

"People are told if you’re not from the same  household, you have to stay six feet apart," Vail said. "We have to have people basically respect that. If they don’t, there's not a lot we can do about that. In the outdoors, that is the rule."

"Inside, Harper’s must keep tables six feet apart and must stay at the capacity they are allowed — that’s 25% right now — or 250, whichever is smaller."

"If they have their tables placed and restrict the capacity, they’ve done what they are supposed to do, and people will be people. We have to rely on personal responsbility."

(City Pulse will publish more on the reopening in Wednesday’s print edition.)

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