East Lansing bars respond to on re-openings and the spread of COVID-19

 The typically loud and rambunctious crowds in East Lansing bars have been replaced with control and regulation, rendering a dramatic change in the bar scene since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Before [the pandemic], it was very laid back, it was a fun environment to make good money at,” said Lauren Dix, server at Beggar’s Banquet. “It’s just a little bit tenser and there are not as many people coming in.”

After the COVID-19 pandemic forced Michigan State University to end in-person classes, hundreds of students flocked to the local bars in East Lansing. Not long after, the lack of social distancing and mask-wearing at many bars and restaurants caused many of them to shut down or implement new rules in order to minimize the spread of the coronavirus. 

Four months after the pandemic reached East Lansing, many bars and restaurants attempted to re-open after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order on June 1 that allowed them to begin conducting business again. Some were able to open successfully, relying on curbside pickup and takeout orders to make up for the revenue that they lost while being forced to close down but, others, however, were not as successful.

Live at the Replay offers socially distant space in Old Town

At the corner of E. César Chávez Ave and North Larch St. stands Replay Entertainment Exchange, where owner Ted Wilson has been hosting socially distant live events for the Lansing community. Techno blares from public address speakers as vendors and DJs set up their stations while Zee Simons and Travis Stillwater, coordinators for the Live at the Replay event, make sure that the artists and activities set up around the open lot are ready for a night of music, movies, and laughter. “It’s bummer summer 2020 and so we wanted to replay some of the summer and bring it back a little bit,” said Stillwater. Wilson said the idea to have outdoor events at the Replay parking lot was brought up years ago but wouldn’t have happened without the coronavirus pandemic.

MSU professors work COVID-19 safety measures into fall teaching plans

Alec Gerstenberger(Top Left to Right) Dr. Raymond Jussaume, Professor Anastasia Kononova (Bottom) Professor of Practice Andrew Corner

After the spring semester was cut short because of COVID-19, many universities, faculty and students struggled to deal with the quick transition from in-person to online learning. Now that there has been time for schools to get plans together, many professors have been trying to figure out how to safely and effectively change their teaching plans to accommodate new university mandated safety measures when classes resume this fall. “The first couple weeks of fall will tell us a lot about what the rest of the semester is going to look like,” said Andrew Corner, an advertising and public relations professor at Michigan State University. As the start of the fall semester approaches, MSU has transitioned 57% of undergraduate classes to online learning, with 17% changing to a hybrid system and the remaining 26% completely in-person. 

“Even for my in-person classes, I would be prepared to go online anytime,” said Anastasia Kononova, an advertising and public relations professor at MSU. “This is something we did not predict in the spring semester and this is something I think we’re getting ready for in the Fall in case the pandemic re-emerges on campus.

Local Facebook groups sew positivity by making masks

Alec GerstenbergerThe front window of the Seams fabric store

As the novel coronavirus continues to spread, social distancing measures and wearing masks are important for slowing its spread. Forced to dock in Guam for two months after sailors contracted COVID-19, USS Theodore Roosevelt is an example of why safety measures matter. Out of the crew of nearly 4,800 sailors, tests showed that 1,273 of the carrier’s crew were infected. “Those wearing a face covering had a 55.8 percent infection rate versus those not wearing masks, who had a 80.8 percent infection rate,” according to an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune. When Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued her “Stay Home, Stay Safe” shelter-in-place order, masks were not required to be worn in public.