Ingham County relaxes but continues restaurant capacity restriction


Illustration by Peter Hamlin/AP

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Ingham County officials issue a new emergency order stating restaurant will have to reduce restaurant capacity to 50 percent or no more than 125, whichever is less in order to combat the spread of coronavirus.

This new emergency order replaces a previous one that reduced restaurant capacity to 50 percent or no more than 75 people.

Executive Order 2020-143 already restricts restaurant capacity to 50 percent of normal seating, but it does not impose a limitation. The county’s emergency order directly affects large licensed food service establishments with capacities of more than 250. With the new order (Ingham2020-12), no food service establishment may have more than 125 patrons at one time.

“Since I issued the original emergency order, cases have trended downward,” said Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail. “We’ve had time now for restaurant inspectors to work with our large capacity establishments, and these establishments have had time to adjust. New executive orders with more restaurant safeguards have also been issued. I hope we can loosen capacity restrictions again in the coming weeks, but we could tighten them once again if cases increase.”

State law provides Vail with the authority to issue orders to protect the public health under Section 2453 of the Public Health Code (MCL 333.2453). Those who disregard the order could be subject to a misdemeanor that includes up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $200.

Many options are available for coronavirus testing in the community. People can contact their primary care physician or visit a no-cost testing site. A list is available on the State of Michigan’s website: The health department and Ingham Community Health Centers also host regular testing events. A list can be found at

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