Milwaukee order compliance vital as state's virus cases surge

Milwaukee County officials on Tuesday, Oct. 13 provided the latest updates and information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leaders are keeping a close eye on virus numbers as Wisconsin broke a record on Tuesday for COVID-19 cases and deaths in a single day.

At Milwaukee Brat House, everyone has learned to adapt.

"(We're) doing what we can to keep guests coming in to eat and drink," said Ryan Cooke, director of operations with Milwaukee Brat House. "When you're moving around the restaurant, you have to have your mask on."

The restaurant and bar has been following a COVID-19 plan that includes expanded outdoor seating to keep customers safe.

"We're trying to serve warm cocktails for the first time," Cooke said.

Milwaukee mask mandate, face covering required, mask required

While they're trying to do it right, not every bar in the city has.

"If the bars want to screw this up, then there's going to be problems," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Barrett said that while restaurants have been in compliance with COVID-19 restrictions and have been following plans, there have been packed bars with lax rules. He is threatening tighter restrictions if places do not fall in line.

"I want to see the bars follow these rules. You can ruin it for yourself and you can ruin it for everyone else.  If you don't take this seriously," Barrett said.

Milwaukee Health Department placard denoting an approved COVID-19 safety plan for bars and restaurants

Milwaukee Health Department placard denoting an approved COVID-19 safety plan for bars and restaurants

That's why places, like Milwaukee Brat House, are asking others to do the right thing as the pandemic continues to tighten its grip on the state.

"Do what you can so we can all get through this. Wearing a mask is uncomfortable, but it's going to stop us from getting shut down and keep everyone safe," said Cooke.

Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley on Tuesday said COVID-19 numbers in the county are "still too high" and that it is important to "stay vigilant." Crowley said Wisconsin as a whole now was 10 of the top 20 metro areas with the highest COVID-19 infection rates nationwide, but Milwaukee County is not part of that list.

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Milwaukee's interim health commissioner, Marlaina Jackson, said the health department will continue to try to use an educational approach first, working with businesses to follow a COVID-19 plan.

If places continue to break the rules, they risk citations or, even worse, their license being pulled.

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