Some bars begin to reopen in the Chippewa Valley

Published: May. 14, 2020 at 7:03 PM CDT
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On Wednesday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the Safer at Home Order lifting many statewide restrictions on bars and restaurants.

At Slim's Lake Hallie Tavern, bar-goers are greeted by hand sanitizer and seated at least six feet apart, a different scene from when the bar closed to customers in March.

The Connors opened Slim's Lake Hallie Tavern back up to customers on Wednesday night after the supreme court's decision.

"This is great," says Tim Connor who owns the restaurant with his wife, Marlene.

"It is wonderful," says Marlene. "It is a relief."

The parking lot at Slim's was packed on Thursday evening as customers say they are glad to be back inside the bar.

"I was excited this morning when i heard that things were kind of opening up," says long-time customer Mark Severson.

"I was looking forward to the opening up," says another regular, Randy Thermes.

The Connors say they have taken extra steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and say social distancing will be enforced at the bar.

With these guidelines in place, some customers say COVID-19 is not a high concern.

"They've got it safe and clean," Thermes says. "if you stay socially distant it should be alright if you don't like it you should stay home."

Severson says it can't be worse than going to the grocery store.

So far, the Connors say customers have been respectful of the social distancing guidelines.

On Wednesday, other area bars opened to the public including Court n' House and Roadside Ice Cream & Diner.

However, not all bars and restaurants are rushing to open their doors.

Lisa Aspenson, who owns several Eau Claire restaurants including Mona Lisa's, Mogie's Pub, The Livery and Stella Blues, says she will not consider reopening her restaurants until at least May 26.

"This is really serious and our company is taking this seriously," Aspenson says. "Our staff, I believe, feels confident that we are gonna do everything we can do to protect them and our families and the community."

She says she has been working on guidelines to open the businesses safely and has also been keeping a close eye on other states and their guidelines.

"Whatever it is that we are required to do we will go above and beyond what the requirements are," Aspenson says.