Tavern League of Wisconsin making push to re-open bars and restaurants

Published: Apr. 20, 2020 at 4:18 PM CDT
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Last month, Governor Evers and state health officials ordered bars and restaurants to close for dine-in service.

The move aimed to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the state, But the Tavern League of Wisconsin says many bars and restaurants are struggling to stay in business.

"Having to be closed right now is having a devastating effect on members of our association and everyone in our industry,” said Executive Director of the Tavern League of Wisconsin Pete Madland.

Madland says many bars were forced to close their doors as a result of the stay at home order issued in march.

"It was hard enough for our members to survive until the 24th, which some did not,” he said.

Now with Evers extending the safer at home order until May 26, Madland says more bars will likely have to close for good.

“The effects and closings because of the extension to may 26th will be even more devastating,” he said.

The Tavern League of Wisconsin is pushing for a "soft opening" of bars starting May 1 with some precautionary measures.

"Social distancing of course of six feet, taking out tables making sure they are six feet apart, reducing the occupancy by 50%, no self serve, no salad bars, no condiments on the tables, Requiring servers to wear masks and gloves,” Madland said.

He also says many bars do not have the option to offer take-out, and the ones that do can not survive off take-out alone.

"They can not keep their doors open by serving a bunch of carryout fish frys on a Saturday night, they have to be open 5,6,7 days a week,” he said.

And with a possible vaccine several months out, he says there needs to be a better short term solution in place.

"We're looking at this as a stop gap measure, it is not a permanent solution by any means. For many of our members, there is no tomorrow, today is today is today. We have to make changes now. Extending this to June is not an option."