COVID-19 guidelines updated for Washington, Ozaukee County: 'It's a positive development'

PORT WASHINGTON -- The Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department updated its guidelines on Wednesday, June 17 to recommend increased capacity at stores, restaurants and events after seeing a reduction in COVID-19 cases.

Wesley Feest

"Everybody is happy to see that we're open," Wesley Feest, general manager at Brazen Head Pub said. "People that are coming in and sitting down, they're saying, 'good for you guys, thank you for being open.'"

Businesses and shops are further relaxing rules on gatherings and masks.

As of Wednesday, the health department updated capacity guidelines to 75% for restaurants and retail and 50% for events -- including concerts, weddings and funerals. With risk factors and coronavirus case numbers down, according to the department, it is also lifting an order that called for the immediate lockdown of all long-term care facilities which went into effect on May 18.

Village Pointe Commons in Grafton

"It's a positive development. I think people in Washington County have really been taking COVID-19 seriously," Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann said.

Josh Schoemann

Schoemann said that, legally, businesses have been safely allowed to operate at their discretion.

"People always have more questions about how it applies to them personally, and so that's what the guidelines are all about," said Schoemann. "Now that the numbers are starting to look a little better, they're adjusting accordingly and we'll keep moving forward that."

In downtown West Bend, a lot of businesses have reopened -- and a lot of people could be seen out enjoying their favorite restaurants and shops again on Thursday. However, some places are still closed, including the Historic West Bend Theatre -- still in its "longest intermission ever."

Downtown Hartford

A similar scene was set in Thiensville and Hartford.

Scott Henke

"If somebody has got a mask on, they back off and keep their social distance and if they know them, I've seen some hugs," Scott Henke, executive director of the Hartford Chamber of Commerce, said.

At restaurants, some continue to come in for take out wearing masks. Others come without.

In some cases, many others were seen no longer are taking any precautions at all.