Despite phase 4 of reopening, some Milwaukee bars remain under legal capacity

NOW: Despite phase 4 of reopening, some Milwaukee bars remain under legal capacity


MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Increased capacity for restaurants and bars has some Milwaukee customers excited.

“I think it’s safe and it’s good to be able to go out and socially have some drinks with your friends,” John Rybka said.

But some bars say there isn’t enough demand to fill 50 percent capacity. Other bars say they don’t think it’s safe.

“We actually aren’t open inside, and haven’t been at all," Nomad World Pub owner Mike Eitel said.  "We have been opening the patio only.”

Restaurants are also a mixed bag, with some ready to welcome more customers and others sticking to outdoor seating.

“You don’t go inside unless you have a mask, and only to use the restroom, and otherwise everything was done right outside, and he came to us,” said Sue Koller, who was eating at La Masa, which still only offers outdoor seating.

Phase four also means increased capacity for libraries, hotels, gyms, youth services and stores.

Usinger’s president, Fritz Usinger, opened up his retail store Wednesday, but is keeping capacity lower than the city will allow.

“We have our policies in place to protect our employees," Usinger said. "And that’s really what it comes down to, is our retail clerks are very important to us, and we want to make sure that they stay healthy.

City leaders say they can enforce both capacity requirements and social distancing requirements. Mayor Tom Barrett said he reserves the right to increase restrictions again if COVID-19 cases spike.

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