On Thursday, July 23rd, a representative from Harper’s Restaurant and Brewpub will appear before the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, a commission within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). As of this morning, 186 Coronavirus cases have been effectively linked to the restaurant. Ingham County Health officials asked people who visited the restaurant between June 12 and 20 to get tested, watch for symptoms, and self-quarantine for 14 days.
Typically, the Liquor Control Commission operates as a regulatory entity in the state. During the initial months of the pandemic, the Liquor Control Commission operated a buy-back program for the state’s restaurants and bars accepting unopened alcohol.
The hearing is a result of the Ingham County Health Department’s investigation into the Harper’s COVID-19 outbreak. While the hearing’s purpose is fact-finding, the result of such a hearing could result in the suspension or an entire revocation of Harper’s liquor license. The Order to Show Cause cites Harper’s failure to enforce mask-wearing and social distancing among crowding patrons.
“Although Harper’s placed signs on and around the establishment directing patrons to practice social-distancing measures and wear masks, many of the patrons disregarded these directions and congregated in large crowds,” the order reads.
In the past few days, supporters of the restaurant have started a change.org petition in efforts to save the family business. With over 2,900 signatures, the petition states, “News outlets, city officials, and other notable people have gone out of their way in efforts to destroy Harper’s name and their business.”
ELi will make efforts to reach out to the creators of the petition for the article covering the hearing later this week.
For now, Harper’s is ordered by the Liquor Control Commission to have an officer or stockholder present for the hearing. If Harper’s so chooses, they can be represented by an attorney who must submit a written appearance prior to the meeting.
Correction, 9:53 am: the article was clarified to articulate that the Michigan Liquor Control Commission is a commission within LARA.