'COVID is still here:' As Waukesha County reopens for business, some officials urge continued caution

WAUKESHA -- Waukesha County opened for business after the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the state's "Safer at Home" order Wednesday, May 13, and many celebrated the reopening at restaurants Thursday.

With restrictions on businesses operations lifted, County Executive Paul Farrow asked that people continue following CDC guidelines. Customers at The Neighbors Bar and Grille in Waukesha were seen continuing social distancing efforts on Thursday.

Chris Potratz

"We have social distanced our tables 6 feet apart," said the restaurant's owner, Chris Potratz. "We will be sanitizing as guests come and go."

With some customers and staff in close proximity as they celebrated the reopening of the dining area -- closed for two months, Potratz said to stay home if you don't feel safe.

"These are recommendations," he said. "We're going to try to follow them as much as we can, but again, people do have a choice now."

Customers at the reopening of The Neighbors Bar and Grill in Waukesha County

State Reps. Cindi Duchow and Adam Neylon were at the reopening, also asking people to take safety precautions.

Cindi Duchow

"My hair salon is going to use every other seat," Rep. Duchow (R-Delafield) said. "They're going to go to a second floor to spread out. One of my local restaurants have spread out their tables. They've sanitized. They're ready to go."

Rep. Neylon shared some of his thoughts on why he felt it was time to lift the "Safer at Home" order in Waukesha County.

Adam Neylon

"I don't believe there will be a spike moving forward," Rep. Neylon (R-Pewaukee) said. "I think people need to maintain personal responsibility to make sure that there is not a spike, and that we are still maintaining our social distance and still following proper guidelines."

New Berlin Mayor David Ament shared his continuing concerns about the coronavirus, asking people to still avoid common areas, like playgrounds.

Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly said he's worried the change could lead to a spike in cases.

"The Supreme Court decision did not get rid of COVID," said Mayor Reilly. "COVID is still here, and people need to be aware of that."

FOX6 News was told Farrow is looking into putting possible restrictions on people meeting in large groups, but as of Thursday, there were no such restrictions on the books.