Milwaukee restaurants, bars to submit safety plans, part of anticipated order revision

Outdoor dining will continue to be allowed as long as people follow Milwaukee's mask ordinance, but soon, there will be much stricter rules for those eating inside.

Still going strong after 31 years, the owner of Zad's Tavern in Walker's Point is among the lucky business owners that haven't taken a major hit amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Forced to shut down for two-and-a-half months this spring during the "Safer at Home" order, owner Terry Zadra thanks his loyal customers for keeping him afloat this summer.

"It's like a rollercoaster, you know," said Zadra. "I try to keep people spaced apart. They can have the mask off when they're not drinking. But when they go to the bathroom, they have to have the mask on."

Now, Zadra will have to overcome yet another hurdle if he wants to continue serving people inside his bar.

Zad's Tavern in Walker's Point

On Tuesday, July 28, the Milwaukee Health Department offered a glimpse of some of the revisions that will be included in its updated safety order -- Phase 4.1 -- set to be released by Friday, July 31. 

Among the revisions, bars and restaurants will have to submit a safety plan if they want to offer indoor dining.

"Right now, we're looking at giving people some time to do that," Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik said. "Once that date hits, you're not going to be able to serve indoors unless you have an approved plan."

Zadra hadn't heard about the new requirement, but said he will comply with officials' requests -- knowing it will help keep the community safe and his doors open.

 "You don't want to be shut down. People want to go out," Zadra said. "This is Milwaukee. People want to have fun, go out."

The health department offers a risk assessment tool online that restaurants and bars can fill out to help them write a safety plan -- CLICK HERE.

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