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Suburban Milwaukee County ‘Safer at Home’ orders prohibit opening of bars, restaurants

MILWAUKEE — The 18 municipalities in suburban Milwaukee County and their 10 public health officials came together to sign an order that provides guidelines on how local businesses can move forward after the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the state’s coronavirus stay-at-home order Wednesday, May 13, ruling that Governor Tony Evers’ administration overstepped its authority when the order was extended for another month without consulting legislators.

The suburban Milwaukee County order runs through May 21.

The SCOWIS 4-3 ruling Wednesday essentially reopened the state — lifting caps on the size of gatherings, allowing people to travel as they please and allowing shuttered businesses to reopen, including bars and restaurants, however, local governments can still impose their own health restrictions.

Some Milwaukee area business owners said Thursday they were scrambling to make sense of it all.

Indulge Salon + Skin

Indulge Salon + Skin

Tracy Pohlkamp

Tracy Pohlkamp

“Now, everybody is scrambling to get open,” said Tracy Pohlkamp, owner of Indulge Salon + Skin in Whitefish Bay. “I know I’m not the only one.”

Some Milwaukee area business owners said Thursday they need more time, or feel it’s too soon to reopen amid the pandemic — despite the financial hit.

“Even if we could open today, we know we have to take certain steps,” said Michael Stodola with Lakefront Brewery.

“Any short-term financial gain is not worth long-term community hurt,” said Steph Davies with The Waxwing.

Shopping localThe suburban Milwaukee County order allows for the reopening of indoor shopping malls, as long as they are at 25% capacity and social distancing guidelines are followed — along with the reopening of salons, spas, tattoo parlors and tanning salons. Customers must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.

“I’m excited to open and get back to business,” said Pohlkamp. “I’m going to open up Monday because there are things I have to do. I know I’m safe. I’m doing more than what the order is telling me to do. I have masks, I have visors, I have sanitation stations.”

Both the suburban Milwaukee County order and the City of Milwaukee order prohibit the opening of restaurants and bars — which must continue to operate for pickup or delivery only.

FOX6 News reached out to the Milwaukee Police Department Thursday regarding any plans to enforce the order with citations or arrests. A spokeswoman said they’re working with the Office of the City Attorney and Milwaukee Health Department to figure out next steps.

As for the suburban Milwaukee County order, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley said each municipality would have to weigh in on that.

Below are some highlights from the COVID-19 public health plan for suburban Milwaukee County:

Retail establishments: Retail establishments, including indoor shopping malls, may remain open. Such establishments shall:

  • Limiting the number of individuals in a location to either 25% of the total occupancy limits established by the local municipality or four (4) individuals per 1,000 square feet of customer floor space;
  • Abide by Physical Distancing and Protective Measure Requirements; and
  • Abide by Safe Business Practices.

Restaurants: Restaurants may remain open only if they remain in compliance with the following:

  • Restaurants may remain open for food take-out or delivery service only;
  • Alcohol sales shall comply with Section 2(g) below;
  • Customers may enter the above establishments only for the purpose of ordering, pick-up, and paying for food or beverages or both;
  • No seating may be provided;
  • Food and drink may not be consumed on premises, either indoors or outdoors;
  • Establishments shall meet Physical Distancing and Protective Measure Requirements among all individuals on the premises to the extent possible;
  • Restaurants shall cease any self-service operations of salad bars, beverage stations, and buffets; and
  • Customers are prohibited from self-dispensing any unpackaged food or beverage.

Bars: This includes breweries, brewpubs, wineries, distilleries, and alcohol beverage retailers. Such establishments may remain open only if they remain in compliance with the following:

  • Carryout sales of alcohol beverages and food are allowed if permitted by state law and municipal ordinance;
  • Delivery of alcohol beverages to retail customers is prohibited;
  • Wineries holding direct wine shippers’ permits may make deliveries of wine in accordance with their permit;
  • Breweries, wineries, and distilleries may continue manufacturing functions with Physical Distancing and Protective Measure Requirements in place;
  • Customers may enter the above establishments only for the purpose of ordering, pick up, and paying for food or beverage or both;
  • No seating may be provided;
  • Food and drink may not be consumed on premises, either indoors or outdoors; and
  • Establishments shall meet Physical Distancing and Protective Measure Requirements among all individuals on the premises to the extent possible.

Salons and Spas: Hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, day spas, electrolysis providers, waxing salons, eyebrow-care establishments, tattoo parlors, body art establishments, and tanning facilities may open with Physical Distancing and Protective Measure Requirements and the following precautions in place:

  • All workstations shall be at least six (6) feet apart;
  • Only one client per individual providing services to clients is allowed in the business or facility at a time. No individuals should congregate in a common waiting area before or after their appointment;
  • Staff shall wear a mask or cloth face covering while in the business or facility. Clients shall wear a mask or cloth face covering to the extent feasible while in the business or facility;
  • Staff and clients shall be screened for COVID-19 symptoms upon entering the business or facility.
  • Chairs and workstations shall be sanitized after each client per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventionii; and
  • All appointments shall be scheduled by phone or online. No walk-in clients are allowed.

Statement on behalf of suburban Milwaukee County municipalities is below:

“We know that the fight to contain COVID-19 is fluid, ever-changing, and ultimately dependent on the widespread availability of a vaccine or treatment. We also know we are stronger in this fight together, and working together is going to be more critical than ever before. Since Safer at Home is no longer in effect, the 18 municipalities in suburban Milwaukee County and their 10 public health officials came together to sign a local order that provides guidelines on how local businesses can move forward in the coming 8 days. Our goal with this order is the same as yours – to reopen as safely and quickly as possible. With this order, the suburban municipalities in Milwaukee County have an order in place to protect the lives and livelihoods of our communities. This order states that bars and restaurants continue to be closed and gatherings of more than nine people are prohibited. We will continue to assess local needs and keep everyone informed.”

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