City of Milwaukee has fined businesses nearly $30,000 for COVID-19 violations

NOW: City of Milwaukee has fined businesses nearly $30,000 for COVID-19 violations

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The city of Milwaukee has fined businesses nearly $30,000 for COVID-19 violations.

These violations are one way the city is trying to slow the virus’ spread.

The city issued 38 citations for 27 different businesses from July 31 through Feb. 9.

Of the $28,000 in current total fines, VIP Lounge – on S. 1st  Street – accounts for more than a third of that amount.

Their four separate violations total $11,000.

The reasons: capacity and no masks.

“The health department isn’t out there looking to play ‘gotcha’," Steve Baas, senior vice president of governmental affairs & public policy for the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, said.

He said a majority of businesses are following the rules – and the health department is being proactive against those that aren’t.

“I would encourage any establishment that has had a violation or a fine to work hand in hand with the health department to find a way to operate safely," he said.

Fiesta Café was fined last summer.

They say it was for an outdoor event, and they appealed the ticket.

They haven’t been back on the violation list since.

“We’re always doing hand sanitizer, cleaning the tables, social distance. Everybody needs to wear a mask," Rosa, restaurant manager, said.

As city and health leaders continue to fight the spread, Baas says the rules are there for a reason.

“You want people to be legitimately safe in these establishments and not have a false sense of security," said Baas.

The health department currently has 11 pending citations.

Last year, the city increased COVID violation fines.

They now start at $2,500 for an initial violation.

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