Businesses seek clarity and harsher consequences for violating Milwaukee's new health order

Posted at 6:33 PM, Oct 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-29 19:33:29-04

MILWAUKEE — Businesses in Milwaukee now have more restrictions on how they operate and the number of people allowed inside, based on a new health order that went into effect Thursday. It impacts all businesses in some form, but some more than others, in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. However, there's mixed reaction among workers who say it’s causing confusion or doesn’t go far enough.

Dan Jacobs owns multiple restaurants in the city. TMJ4 News met up with him at DanDan, where he said he’s been taking every precaution he can to make sure his employees and customers are safe.

“We’re following the rules, we’re playing by the rules, you know everybody should be,” Jacobs said. “We installed an iWave filtration system to our HVAC, we put up partitions to separate the tables.”

Jacobs said Milwaukee’s new health order doesn’t really impact them at DanDan because they have an approved health plan from the city plan which they continue to follow.

Under the new restrictions, restaurants and bars, both indoor or outdoor without an approved plan, can only have 25 percent capacity.

All establishments, even those with a plan, must shut down dance floors, and all customers must be seated except for using the restroom; that means no going up to the bar for a drink.

Cori Coffman of Pritzlaff Events said they also have an approved plan, but are still trying to understand their new limitations.

“There is a lot of mixed messaging of what we can and cannot do,” Coffman said.

Either way, she said the last few days some weddings scheduled for November have been canceled, and instead, have taken their business elsewhere.

“When you think someone maybe not able to do it in the City of Milwaukee, but they can out in Brookfield or out in Waukesha or out in Ozaukee, that's where the frustration comes in,” Coffman said.

Jacobs said ultimately to help curb the spread of the virus, we need harsher consequences for violations.

“Instead of you know $500 fines, we should be taking away liquor licenses and business licenses,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs also said it’s just as important that small businesses get more federal funding to survive. He said it could be incentive to follow capacity guidelines.

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