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Milwaukee Won't Adhere To State Order Limiting Businesses

Lauren Sigfusson
With safety barriers between tables, people dine at St. Paul Fish Company in the Milwaukee Public Market during the coronavirus pandemic.

Milwaukee health officials say the city will enforce its own coronavirus orders for bars and restaurants, which doesn't necessarily limit the businesses to 25% capacity imposed under Gov. Tony Evers' new restrictions.

The Milwaukee Health Department said in a statement that Evers' order permits local municipalities to have more restrictive orders in place and the city determined its plan fits that criteria.

Even though the city’s current order “permits a larger threshold of individuals in certain places than [Evers’ order] allows, the additional restrictions listed under the local order do more to prevent COVID-19 transmission than Governor Evers’ Emergency Order #3,” health officials said in a statement.

The local order requires restaurants and bars to submit an 80-point COVID checklist to the health department in order to operate.

On Tuesday, Evers took the step to limit indoor gatherings as coronavirus cases have surged in the state.

Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm issued the order at Evers’ direction and said the rise in the state’s cases was due partially to gatherings at bars and restaurants.

Under Milwaukee’s order, capacity limits are waived if a bar or restaurant has an approved COVID-19 safety plan. Those businesses receive a certificate or seal from the health department that shows they can operate safely.

Health officials have so far approved 318 of 850 safety plans submitted, the Journal Sentinel reported.

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