Legal occupancy to be reduced by half at restaurants, bars, food service establishments in Ingham County

County taking additional measures to enforce social distancing amid coronavirus concerns


LANSING, Mich. – The Ingham County Health Department ordered the legal occupancy load at licensed food service establishments to be reduced by 50 percent effective 5 p.m. March 16 through 5 p.m. April 5.

This news follows Michigan Gov. Whitmer’s executive order to ban events and gatherings exceeding 250 people amid the growing coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns in the state.

RELATED: Gov. Whitmer: 12 new COVID-19 cases, 45 total cases in Michigan

Ingham County law enforcement already committed to enforcing the ban, but Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail takes it a step further by issuing the order of a 50% decrease in occupancy load.

“This is a social distancing measure and is necessary to ‘flatten the curve’,” said Vail. “We know this virus is in our community, likely undetected in some cases. We need proactive actions including reductions in occupancy load to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Ingham County food service establishments affected by this order include but are not limited to: restaurants, bars, church dining halls, schools, country clubs, banquet halls, catering and carry out, according to officials. Exempt from this order are healthcare facilities, long-term care facilities and grocery stores, officials said.

Anyone who disregards this order could face a misdemeanor charge that includes up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $200, according to officials.

Click here to download a sign from the health department to notify your customers of the new occupancy restriction.


About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.