Bars, restaurants could be fined $5K for violating COVID-19 health orders in proposed legislation

Posted at 10:23 AM, Nov 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-12 13:14:10-05

MILWAUKEE — New proposed legislation upping the fine for violations of Milwaukee's public health order is heading to the Common Council for consideration.

Milwaukee's positivity rate is over now 17 percent and The Health Department continues to share concern over the number of COVID-19 cases being reported in the City of Milwaukee, now more than 35-thousand since the pandemic began.

Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic sponsored new legislation that could fine bars and restaurants that violate public health orders more. Instead of a $500 fine, businesses now face fines ranging from $500 up to $5,000 for each violation.

In addition, the city will increase compliance and enforcement checks at businesses.

"While many businesses in Milwaukee have submitted COVID-19 safety plans and are taking proper precautions, even a small handful not enforcing mask mandates or other health orders is unacceptable given the current state of affairs," said Dimitrijevic.

The new legislation was discussed at the Public Safety & Health Committee meeting Thursday morning and was passed. It will go to the Common Council to be considered at a Nov. 24 meeting.

During the common council meeting, health officials said only a very small number of businesses continue to operate without complying with the city's COVID-19 health order.

"We must all do our part and continue working together to limit the spread of this virus so we can come out of this pandemic a stronger and healthier city on the other side," said Dimitrijevic.

The health department said they are also bringing on more staff to increase compliance and enforcement checks. The amended ordinance to increase fine is now off to the full common council for a vote.

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