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Restaurants and bars stepping up safety measures as coronavirus cases surge

An outbreak of COVID-19 cases linked to one restaurant in East Lansing, has owners in Grand Rapids working to stay open for business

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.- As cases in Michigan spike, restaurants and bars are stepping up their game to keep people safe.

According to our sister station WLNS, this week more than two dozen people tested positive for coronavirus, all of those cases are linked to Harper's Restaurants and Brew Pub in East Lansing, Michigan.

Ingham County Health Department is now urging anyone who has been there in the last two weeks to self-quarantine. 

"It was 22, now its 25 that should tell you that we're probably going to see some more cases," says Ingham County Health Officer, Linda Vail. "But we're finding them as fast as we can. I'm gonna hope that people will opt for this (face mask) as opposed to more months of economic devastation."

Harper's Restaurant and Brew Pub is currently closed. 

In Grand Rapids, restaurants and bar owners are enforcing measures to keep staff and customers safe. On the west side, Morning Belle Brunch employees are required to sign off with a manager that they are healthy and ready to work. 

"Once an employee enters the building they have to sanitize, that's mandatory as the very first thing when they come on," says general manager, Shelby Gaskin. And then they need to put a mask on and they need to glove up as soon as they walk in the door. And then after that they need to grab a manager to sign off that they are not having any symptoms that day and then they are able to work from there."

John Jermstad is the owner of Birch Lodge located on Michigan Street Northeast. He told 13 ON YOUR SIDE that after an asymptomatic staff member tested positive for COVID-19, the bar is being professionally "fog" sanitized each week and highly touched surfaced will be cleaned every 30 minutes. John says Birch Lodge is committed to doing the following:  
- Sanitizing as needed in customer areas
- Using disposable drink ware and silverware
- Not using any community items such as ketchup and mustard bottles
- All employees are wearing masks and gloves 100% of the time
- All employees are required to complete a health questionnaire and a temperature check.  

The bar closed Wednesday while these additional safety measures were put into place

Popular Michigan chain Buddy's Pizza is following all laws related to reopening the restaurant, per Governor Whitmer's executive order. 

"We are following the requirements of both the local health departments as well as the states," says vice president of growth, Katy Dean. "Per the executive order the requirement is that masks must be worn by guests until they are seated at the table, eating and drinking. So we do ask the guests to bring a mask we do have disposable that we can hand out if somebody forgets theirs."

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