Health Dept. issues Phase 4.1 of 'Moving Milwaukee Forward Safely' COVID-19 orders

The Milwaukee Health Department will advance its Moving Milwaukee Forward Safely COVID-19 health orders to Phase 4.1 at 5 p.m. on Friday, July 31.

The update includes the MKE Cares mask ordinance that went into effect on July 16 --  requiring masks or cloth face coverings to be worn by all persons in the City of Milwaukee over the age of three. Businesses are allowed to require this policy to provide service.

Under the new phase, restaurants and bars will also be required to submit a safety plan and Risk Assessment Tool by 11:59 p.m. CT on September 15th to continue serving patrons indoors without capacity limits.

"All of our tables are socially-distanced by six feet. We also bring all individual condiments, all wrapped silverware," said Chris Adams with AJ Bombers.

Adams said his company -- Hospitality Democracy -- will submit a plan on Monday, Aug. 3.

AJ Bombers on Water Street in Milwaukee

"We anticipate once the weather turns a little bit, and patios like you can see here aren't as prevalent, people will want to dine in," Adams said. "We'll have to have those measures in place."

All plans will be reviewed in the order that they have been received, and approval may take several days. Once a business has been approved, the operator will receive a certificate or seal from the Milwaukee Health Department indicating that they may operate safely.

The health department will also be hosting a safety plan workshop for bars and restaurants on Aug. 6.

What's included in Phase 4.1?

Under Phase 4.1, all schools—including K-12, trade schools, colleges, and universities—will be able to operate at 50 percent capacity for in-person sessions with a Milwaukee Health Department-approved safety plan.

"For every single course that we offer, there's an online version that we offer and a limited face-to-face version of that," Jeff Morin, president of the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD), said.

MIAD submitted a plan last week. Morin said in-person learning is critical for MIAD students who need to access labs.

"There's a maker's space for laser cutting and 3D printing and vinyl work. There's a textiles lab for soft goods development and our product design curriculum," said Morin.

Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD)

As MIAD waits to get the go-ahead from health officials, Morin said construction is underway inside to make the building as safe as possible. That includes renovating the fourth floor to create more cubicle space and installing a new ventilation system.

A checklist for plans based on State and CDC school reopening guidance will be available at by the end of next week. 

Gyms and athletic centers may now operate with the lesser of the three:

  1. 50 percent of the total occupancy
  2. One person for every 30 square feet
  3. 250 people

Gyms are required to comply with the mandatory mask requirements. Exceptions may be made during strenuous activities where social distancing can occur and mask wearing would cause difficulty breathing. In addition, sports teams, including youth sports teams, can submit a safety plan to the Health Department for approval to participate in the fall season.

Lastly, the City of Milwaukee key indicators for Moving Milwaukee Forward Safely have been updated as they are every Thursday and are available online at  

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