When Harper’s Restaurant and Brew Pub reopened in Lansing Michigan, it saw “shoulder-to-shoulder crowds”. Now at least 80 people have tested positive as a result.
At least 80 people in the United States have been infected with coronavirus after going to the same packed pub – with the outbreak believed to be linked to just one patron.
Now at least five other people have also tested positive as the result of secondary infections.
Harper’s Restaurant and Brew Pub in Lansing, Michigan, reopened on June 8 after being forced to shutter for months due to the pandemic.
Videos posted to Twitter by student journalist Kaishi Chhabra showed a large queue of patrons not wearing masks waiting to get into the venue and dancing inside on opening night.
The bar, popular with students at the nearby Michigan State University, saw “shoulder-to-shoulder crowds” in the days that followed, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Now anyone who went to the pub between June 12 and June 22 is being ordered to self-quarantine for two weeks after 80 people who went to the venue during that period tested positive for COVID-19.
There are now fears that secondary cases could skyrocket with five diagnosed cases linked to people who went to Harper’s during those dates.
‘WE WAIT FOR OUR TEST RESULTS AND PRAY’
The cluster is thought to have originated from just one infected patron who caught coronavirus from a friend who had hosted a house party with no masks or social distancing, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The host was reportedly showing symptoms when they held the party on a Friday night, however, did not get tested until Monday.
They only shared their positive test results with friends on the Tuesday, parents of the infected college students told the newspaper.
One mother, whose 19-year-old daughter has tested positive after contracting coronavirus from someone who had gone to Harper’s at a bonfire afterwards, said she was “frustrated” at the situation.
“I’m so sad. We stayed home as ordered and then let our guard down – and now this,” the mum, who asked not to be named, told the Detroit Free Press.
The teen’s whole family was now in self-isolation and waiting to find out if they too have COVID-19.
“It’s everywhere – and I get that. And perhaps she shouldn’t (have gone) to a bonfire,” the mum said. “So now we wait for our test results and pray … Praying is all we have.”
‘CHALLENGE’ OF SOCIAL DISTANCING IN PUBS
Local health officials are now trying to contact trace all known cases to prevent the outbreak from worsening.
So far 23 of the known 85 cases are asymptomatic, the Lansing State Journal reports.
Ingham County Health Department spokeswoman Amanda Darche said the task of contact tracing was made all the more difficult because of the environment in which the outbreak occurred.
“Unfortunately, due to the nature of a bar setting, they’re not necessarily able to identify everyone who they had prolonged, close conversations with,” Ms Darche told the newspaper.
In a Facebook post, Harper’s said that it had been unable to enforce social distancing outside the bar, with crowded lines of patrons waiting to get into the venue.
“We have attempted to instruct customers waiting in line to wear face coverings and practice social distancing through signage on the public sidewalk and with a banner on our railing,” they wrote.
“Our oversight of the line on our stairs has been successful, but trying to get customers to follow our recommendations on the public sidewalk has been challenging.”
The pub would be closed until they could “devise a strategy that eliminates the lines altogether” and install an air purifying system.