Tavern League of Wisconsin calls for soft reopening of bars and restaurants on May 1

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Posted at 7:25 AM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 18:25:07-04

The Tavern League of Wisconsin is urging Gov. Tony Evers to consider a soft reopening of restaurants, taverns and supper clubs in the state on May 1.

The Tavern League is calling for a 'Safe at Work' policy after the governor's recent extension of the 'Safer at Home' order to May 26.

"On May 26th, when the current Stay at Home Order ends, the challenges facing Wisconsin in fighting the Coronavirus will essentially be the same as they are today, with no vaccine available," said the Tavern League in a press release. "According to experts, a vaccine will not be widely available for 12 to 18 months. Wisconsinites cannot live under a Stay at Home Order for the next 12 to 18 months."

Tavern League is recommending a reopening that includes continuing social distancing and other guidelines in place during the coronavirus pandemic.

Those include:

  • All employees required to wear masks and gloves
  • All tables 6-feet apart
  • Practice social distancing of 6-feet
  • No more than six people per table
  • Eliminate table condiments and paper menus
  • No salad bars or self-serve buffets
  • Reduce on-premise capacity by 50%

"Businesses are open and operating safely in this state today. And so, we think we can learn from those businesses and apply what they're doing to the hospitality industry," said Scott Stenger of Tavern League of Wisconsin. "If something isn't amended, we will have been closed for 70 days on May 26. And the sad reality is we can't survive," said Stenger.

However, in a press briefing Monday, Evers said the state isn't ready to open yet.

"We are aware of different people suggesting different things. May 1st, relatively confident that would be a tough road. Following White House guidance. We aren't even to phase 1 or phase 2," said Evers.

Governor Evers announced the Badger Bounce Back Program Monday with a specific plan for re-opening the state.

"The plan is quite simple. We reach these goals that are important for us as a state and nation. There's no timeline, obviously if we could do it tomorrow, we would but that isn't the case."

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