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EL Bars, Restaurants Gear Up For St. Patrick's Day

Peanut Barrel Google Maps photo
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The Peanut Barrel in downtown East Lansing

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, when the bars in East Lansing are usually packed. This year is different, with strict capacity rules in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Joe Bell is the owner of the Peanut Barrel Downtown. He says he has taken “way more precautions” than normal. Peanut Barrel is using a phone app to regulate entry. “In the past," Bell explains, "when we have been at capacity, we pull our tablet out and we meet people outside the front, and we put them on the waitlist, and then when there’s a table available for them, we either text them or call ‘em, and away they go.”

Bell says he’s scheduled a lot of staff today. He hopes business picks up this evening after a slow afternoon. “Most of the bars and restaurants," he continues, "I’m not gonna say all of ‘em but I’m gonna say most of us, are working very hard to make sure that we pull this thing off right, and so far, we are.”

There’s a cap of 50-percent capacity in place for indoor seating, and the city of East Lansing is barring lines outside restaurants and bars.

Bell says during the day, he could see neighborhood parties going on behind the Peanut Barrel.

Scott Pohl has maintained an on-call schedule reporting for WKAR following his retirement after 36 years on the air at the station.
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