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East Lansing loosens some restrictions

Published: Mar. 4, 2021 at 7:12 PM EST
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The Ingham County Health Department’s 30-day heat map says one area, highly populated by students, has had the highest concentration of new COVID-19 cases over the last month.

But even with that information students told me they aren’t so sure how effective police will be at stopping larger gatherings.

MSU student Noah Daberko said, “I mean you can try to have 10 people come but all those 10 people know 10 other people and, I mean, the more the party grows, it’s kind of exponential.”

After classes, on the weekends, when it gets warm out and especially on St. Patrick’s Day.

MSU student Anthony Vecchio said, “I say we get pretty rowdy, you know, especially at the fraternities. If you walk around on St. Patrick’s Day, you’re definitely going to see a lot of people outside and especially if it’s in nice weather.”

With COVID-19 cases declining, the Ingham County Health Department is loosening restrictions on outdoor gatherings in East Lansing just in time for St. Patrick’s day and March Madness. The rule is now that 15 people can gather outside instead of 10. But some students aren’t convinced it’ll be enforced.

East Lansing Police on the other hand say students who break the rules won’t be “fine”-- they’ll be given a ticket.

East Lansing Police Dep. Chief Steve Gonzalez said, ”There’s no provision for a first warning or first offense.” Since the ten-person limit was put in place in the fall East Lansing Police have written 25 to 50 tickets.”

If people are ticketed and the ticket sticks they could be charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by jail time and/or a $200 fine. It could also be a civil infraction ticket with a $500 fine.

RESTRICTED AREA

East Lansing gathering map
East Lansing gathering map(Darche, Amanda | WILX 2021)

The restricted area stretches from the northern edge of the Michigan State University campus to Burcham Drive and is bounded by Harrison Road to the west and Hagadorn Road to the east, including properties adjacent to those streets. County and city officials identified the area based on the frequency of noise ordinance violations historically occurring in the area due to large house parties.

The restricted area has a high concentration of college students and rental properties. People ages 20-29 years old account for 30 percent of all COVID-19 cases in Ingham County since the pandemic began. The department’s 30-day heat map indicates that the restricted area has had the highest concentration of new COVID-19 cases over the last month.

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