Milwaukee restaurants prepare for phase 4 reopen

NOW: Milwaukee restaurants prepare for phase 4 reopen

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- As coronavirus cases increase in Wisconsin, Milwaukee is preparing for phase 4 of its reopening plan. 

On July 1, bars and restaurants will be able to operate at 50% capacity. 

“We’re in no rush to increase capacity. Right now we’re very safe, we’re able to control the cleaning, we’re able to control staff, control customers what they do and how they move around," said George Watson, general manager of Red Lion Pub. 

He said they have steps in place to keep employees and customers safe. 

"When the staff comes in we have a little device that takes their temperature, they have to put masks on, gloves on, we have all the PPE equipment."

They have arranged the seating so that when the seats are full they know they are at the 25% capacity they are currently allowed to be at. 

"During the busy days we’ve actually got a door man on so he’s actually got a clicker to make sure we’re bang on," Watson said.

"It’s a little difficult to navigate, especially if you are a restaurant chain or a restaurant with multiple locations especially if they’re in different cities, it can be pretty difficult to navigate," said Kristine Hillmer, President and CEO of Wisconsin Restaurant Association about the difference in restrictions in the City of Milwaukee. 

She says most restaurants are following the same set of guidelines when it comes to social distancing and sanitation. 

"The difficult thing is consumers habits are changing, so for the City of Milwaukee, specifically it’s difficult because they’re at 25 percent and they go to 50 percent on Wednesday or they can have an approved health safety plan, but the difference is in the suburbs or in the cities surrounding Milwaukee, they don’t have as many restrictions and so consumers are going to those restaurants, they are still dining out and it’s really putting Milwaukee restaurants at a disadvantage."

Hillmer said it's concerning anytime there's a rise in numbers, not just or restaurants that want to open, but for those who have been impacted by the virus. 

"The one thing we need to remember, though, is there’s a responsibility on the restaurant side to help put everything in place to keep people safe and so on, but it’s also incumbent on consumers when they go to a bar or restaurant is they have to follow the rules, too."

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