Restaurant owners and diners in East Lansing enjoy looser restrictions on indoor dining


“At 25 percent it was okay. At 50 percent, it really feels a lot better, ”said Joe Bell, owner of The Peanut Barrel.

Another point of contact in East Lansing, Lou & Harry’s, says customers are already eager to get back to their favorite tables.

“I think it’s a great thing. Now we can fill our tables, even at 25% we couldn’t fill our tables even if two or three were left out because we still couldn’t fill them all with the number of people we would need here, ”Lou said & Harry’s General Manager Shane Carney.

The Michigan Department of Health allows bars and restaurants to increase the capacity of indoor dining options as long as appropriate COVID-19 prevention methods are in place. At the Peanut Barrel, guests are required to fill out a contact tracing form.

Indoor guests like Roger Ghaderi appreciate that companies keep an eye on security.

“They make sure you write down everyone’s name and phone number in case an outbreak of any kind occurs so that it is manageable,” Ghaderi said.

Crunchy's agent records diner information for follow-up purposes

Dunham. WSYM

Crunchy’s agent records diner information for follow-up purposes

Some restaurants not only greet guests, but also employees with the new pandemic instructions.

“Our wage bill is now likely up 25 percent, the equivalent of 100 hours a week,” said Bell.

Mike Krueger, the owner of Crunchy’s, another East Lansing favorite, spoke at the news conference on Tuesday where Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced changes to the pandemic policy, which include a limit of 100 customers regardless of restaurant size.

“It felt really good to be able to pass this news on. It wasn’t quite what we wanted, you know from an industry perspective. It doesn’t do anything for the larger venues with more than 200 people. It doesn’t help the smaller restaurants either, which can no longer open because they can’t position their tables as they need, ”said Krueger.

Joe Bell visits The Peanut Barrel with indoor guests

Dunham. WSYM

Joe Bell visits The Peanut Barrel with indoor guests.

Belll said he was grateful to open up a little more and hope to keep moving in the right direction.

“We have changed from the huge 24 guests to 48 guests now. We would like to be 95 years old, but these days are still a bit over, ”said Bell.

For some, after such a strange year, dining indoors with more guests is a reward.

“I think it’s a wonderful thing that you know. People worked for a long time to take the vaccine or to isolate themselves from other people. It’s time to get back to normal, ”said Ghaderi.

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