Milwaukee alderman calls on mayor to reopen city as some business owners express frustration

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A Milwaukee alderman is calling on the mayor to reopen the city, as the county prepares to end their stay at home order.

Alderman Mark Borkowski sent a letter to Mayor Tom Barrett, after hearing from business owners who are right on the border with other cities getting ready to reopen.

“The last two months have been terrible,” said Sean Raffaello, who owns McCarty Park Pub and Grill.

Raffaello has been struggling during the pandemic, and soon he’ll watch other bars reopen while he’s forced to stay closed.

“There’s probably a bar down the street within 2,000 feet of here that will be open by Friday,” said Raffaello.

He’s one of many business owners who border other cities in the county.

“It’s grossly unfair to Milwaukee businesses,” said Ald. Borkowski. “The only municipality that will not be open for business is the City of Milwaukee, and I say that’s crazy,” he said.

“We know that there are a lot of people that want to act like life is back to normal,” said Mayor Barrett Wednesday afternoon.

But the mayor is holding firm on his decision to stay closed. He says now is not the time to rush to reopen, even if surrounding communities are.

“We’re dealing with a pandemic, so we have to be responsible and deal with this in a way where we think it's not going to cause us to potentially have a huge setback,” said Mayor Barrett.

However, business owners want the chance to show they can open safely. “He’s not showing any confidence that we’re going to behave like civilized human beings, and we’re going to,” said Raffaello.

Raffaello says if he is allowed to reopen, he knows how to do it right.

“We’re going to do everything we’re supposed to do in our establishment to maintain social distancing and having people safe,” said Raffaello. “We’re not trying to get away with anything, we’re trying to survive, and survival's very tough,” he said.

The mayor did not set a timeline Wednesday on when the city will reopen.

Raffaello says he will be ready Friday, but isn’t going to break any laws, he will wait for the mayor to lift the order.

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