Michigan Agency orders hearing for bar tied to outbreak

Michigan Agency orders hearing for bar tied to outbreak

JULY 16,2020 | BY: DAVID EGGERT | Lansing, MI | (AP) — Michigan liquor regulators on Thursday ordered that an East Lansing bar answer questions about a coronavirus outbreak that infected at least 180 people and was a factor in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s decision to halt indoor service at establishments that chiefly sell alcohol.

A hearing, scheduled for next week, could result in a license suspension or revocation for Harper’s Restaurant and Brewpub, which currently is closed. But the purpose primarily is fact finding, said Jeannie Vogel, spokeswoman for the state Liquor Control Commission.

The outbreak occurred last month, shortly after bars and restaurants were allowed to reopen following a monthslong shutdown. The order cites news outlets showing large crowds inside the bar not adhering to social distancing and not wearing masks despite Whitmer’s order, which lets customers remove face coverings only while seated.

Regulators want Harper’s to “show cause” as to the status of its licenses, answer questions on what steps it took or failed to take to comply with the governor’s measure and demonstrate that its plan for reopening will protect patrons and employees from another outbreak.

Harper’s ownership could not immediately be reached for comment.