Wisconsin Tavern League calls for opening bars by May 1

NOW: Wisconsin Tavern League calls for opening bars by May 1


MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Tavern League of Wisconsin is calling on Gov. Tony Evers to allow bars and restaurants to reopen on May 1, more than three weeks ahead of the end of the current stay-at-home order that has forced the closure of most nonessential businesses.

The lobbying group argued in a statement late Sunday that bars, restaurants and supper clubs could reopen by implementing a variety of safety measures to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

“There are a lot of businesses that are up and running right now," Tavern League Director Pete Madland said of businesses like hardware and grocery stores. "They’re doing it in what the public evidently perceives in a fair way.”

The Tavern League released a series of rules for their proposed partial reopening:

·        All employees required to wear masks and gloves
·        Practice social distancing of 6 feet 
·        All tables 6 feet apart
·        No tables of more than 6 people
·        Reduce on premise capacity by 50%
·        Outdoor eating and drinking with 6 feet distancing permitted
·        No salad bars or self-serve buffets
·        Eliminate paper menus
·        Eliminate all table condiments

“It’s not a permanent solution," Madland said. "It’s a stopgap solution to get our businesses open before May 26."

Other businesses, like Belair Cantina, say they have been able to stay afloat by transitioning to all pickup and delivery, but it wasn't easy.

“You have to be on point at all times," Belair Director of Operations Matt Roman Lopez said. "And really be changing rapidly for whatever new guidance that’s given.”

The governor is facing increasing pressure from businesses and Republican lawmakers to reduce the time of the stay-at-home-order which he extended last week from April 24 to May 26. The Tavern League says they hope to talk to lawmakers and the governor about their plan in the coming days.

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