Empty hospitality spaces are opening their doors to blood donors during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 12:41 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 13:41:42-04

MILWAUKEE — Local event spaces continue to host blood drives during the coronavirus pandemic.

When coronavirus began to spread, and new social distancing rules were implemented statewide, wedding venues and open-concept hospitality spaces were forced to cancel much of their day-to-day business.

At the same, Versiti Blood Centers began to noticed many of its donation drives being canceled due to concerns over the virus.

That's when Aurora Health Care and Visit Milwaukee stepped in and asked hospitality businesses, like South Second in Walker's Point, to step up and host some blood drives.

"We saw that call for help and we thought what better way to utilize our space," said Hannah Kitzerow, who works at South Second. It's a space that typically hosts weddings and galas.

"It's still giving that space allowing everyone to be six feet apart," adds Kitzerow.

Thanks to the generosity of donors, leaders at Versiti Blood Centers say the blood supply is in good shape again. However, hospitals are looking to the future and starting to plan for the day doctors will be able to preform elective surgeries again. With that day in mind, Versiti Blood Centers say it will be up to donors to help ensure the blood supply can remain strong.

"Blood does have a shelf life of 42 days so, we have to be cognizant and aware of our resources so that we are ready to collect when hospitals need it," said Rheanna Pieroni, who helps coordinate blood drives in the Milwaukee area.

Donors say the process is quick, easy and safe.

"Everything's really clean, everyone;s wearing masks and they even took my temperature right when we got in the building," said Curt Cluth who was donating blood at South Second on Thursday.

The events are described as a chance for hospitality workers to donate blood and help heroic healthcare workers.

Versiti Blood Centers would like to hear from other area businesses who have enough space to safely host blood drives amid the coronavirus pandemic. They're also hoping to begin scheduling blood drives for the months of May, June, and July. You can learn more about that process by clicking here.

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