Jeramey Jannene

City Reduces Capacity for Restaurants, Bars

New health order restricts capacity further, effective December 3rd, ending January 15

By - Dec 2nd, 2020 05:01 pm
Old World 3rd Street. Photo by Carl Baehr.

Old World 3rd Street. Photo by Carl Baehr.

The Milwaukee Health Department is issuing a revised COVID-19 health order that goes into effect on Thursday, December 3rd. The new order imposes lower capacity limits on all bars and restaurants. It also will further restrict team sports activities.

Bars and restaurants with an approved safety plan, of which there are at least 660, will have their capacity reduced to 50 percent of the pre-COVID-19 limit. Previous health orders allowed those businesses to operate with higher limits included in their individualized plans.

Bars and restaurants without an approved safety plan will have their capacity maintained at the lesser of two restrictions: either 25% of total occupancy or one person for every 30 square feet of floor space open to the public.

Retailers will be limited to one person for every 30 square feet of floor space open to the public. All other businesses must continue to operate according to previously defined safe-business practices including minimizing in-person contact and maintaining social distancing.

Unlike past orders, the new restrictions will expire on January 15th with the city reverting to version 4.2 of its Moving Milwaukee Forward Safely order.

“All changes in the public health order in Milwaukee are the result of a careful review of the available data, application of public health science and analysis of situations where COVID-19 can be transmitted,” said interim Health Commissioner Marlaina Jackson in a statement. “The Health Department is particularly aware of the alarmingly high rates of infection in Milwaukee along with seasonal activities that increase indoor contact and potential for COVID-19 infections.”

Continuing an earlier limitation, individuals at all restaurants, bars and gatherings, regardless of the presence of a safety plan, need to remain seated except upon arrival, departure and use of the restroom. Dance floors are prohibited.

All in-person team sports activities are prohibited unless a health department-approved safety plan is in place. Testing is required at least once every three days for participants, including three days in advance for visiting teams. No fans or observers are permitted. Order 4.2 permitted practices and intra-squad scrimmages without a safety plan.

Milwaukee Public Schools already canceled all of its winter sports, but a number of private schools continue to operate team sports with practices in the city and games outside. The new order could change that.

Public gatherings continue to have their capacity restricted to 25% of a site’s capacity or 25 people, whichever is less. Religious and political events are subject to gathering limits of 100 people.

The health department’s Milwaukee COVID-19 dashboard shows a case peak in early November, but a current case level still exceeding the then-record highs being recorded in late October. The city reports 45,476 all time cases and 404 deaths.

According to its last public update, the city has fined six businesses for violating the health order. Mayor Tom Barrett is signing into law an ordinance that will increase fines from $500 per offense to a maximum of $5,000.

A full copy of order 4.2, issued October 26th, can be found on Urban Milwaukee. A full copy of order 4.3, which goes into effect on December 3rd, is also available.

Categories: Food & Drink, Health, Weekly

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