Milwaukee enters Phase 4 of city's COVID-19 reopening plan

Posted at 3:56 PM, Jul 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-01 16:56:40-04

MILWAUKEE — As Wisconsin sees the biggest increase in the number of positive coronavirus cases in a month, the City of Milwaukee has entered "Phase 4" of the Moving Milwaukee Forward Safely re-opening plan.

The city moved to the new phase of it's COVID-19 re-opening plan on Wednesday, July 1st at 12:01 a.m.

The move means businesses like hotels, gyms, restaurants, bars, and theaters can now operate at 50% capacity. Faith based organizations can now also operate at 50% capacity and retail shops, child care settings and youth camps can operate at 75% capacity.

Milwaukee resident Jeanne Geraci said she remains hesitant as the city moves into Phase 4 of reopening.

"For me, I'm still working from home, wearing a mask and not ready to go inside restaurants," said Geraci. She said she does trust the health department's decision. "I trust our city health department and city leaders. I think that they're following the science..."

The lifted restrictions mean that Ma Fischer's, on Milwaukee's East Side, is now more comfortable extending it's hours, now that they can welcome more guests at one time.

"Friday and Saturday we'll be open 24 hours," said owner Hedi Panos, who also said it's now up to everyone to do their part in keeping businesses open. "Wear your mask in, leave your mask on when you order, of course, take it off when you eat, put it back on when you leave."

Still, some businesses choose to stay closed.

Shawnette Smart, whose family owns The Uptowner, a bar in the Riverwest neighborhood, said they're waiting for information proving to them that the virus is going away.

"I just feel that if we stay closed, we can nip this in the bud sooner." said Smart.

Meanwhile, at Neroli Salon, stylist Sarah Milanowski is looking forward to welcoming back more customers.

"It's kind of exciting but kind of still scary at the same time," said Milanowski.

She and her co-workers continue to wear face masks, to sanitize regularly and social distance, and to screen the temperature of each client that comes through the door.

"We don't want our numbers to rise more and we don't want to contribute to that as well," said Milanowski.

The City of Milwaukee has a 5 phase re-opening plan. They use data surrounding cases, contact tracing, the availability of care, the access to personal protective equipment such as masks, access to testing to determine when it's safe to move into a new phase of the re-opening plan.

The city will remain under Phase 4 for at least 14 days and the City of Milwaukee Health Department said they will continue to enforce violations of the city orders.

A statement from the health department on Wednesday said, "The Health Department has staff assigned to complaint investigation and enforcement of orders. If an establishment is found to be in non-compliance of the order, the Health Department has the authority to issue a municipal citation. Additionally the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) are also investigating noncompliance of the order and providing support to the Health Department as needed."

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