Milwaukee to issue citations to businesses not in compliance

Milwaukee leaders on Thursday, Oct. 22 re-evaluated the city's coronavirus re-opening plan as cases and hospitalization are on the rise.

The city has been in Phase 4 of its re-opening plan since July, but setbacks with cases and positivity rates have leaders rethinking next steps.

"The problem is getting more severe here," Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.

It looked like a city on the right path, but now, seven months into the coronavirus pandemic, Milwaukee is facing setbacks.

The city's trends mimic the rest of the state. There are close to 2,300 people being tested daily at Milwaukee's three testing sites.

Drive-thru COVID-19 testing at Miller Park

Positivity rates are on the rise — currently at 11% — more than twice what it was a month ago.

Hospitalizations in the county are at the highest level in the pandemic with more than 250 coronavirus patients getting care.

"Despite all of our COVID fatigue, we must remain vigilant. We will get through COVID," Dr. Ben Weston with the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management said.

Leaders are now taking a closer look at an order to re-open.

Under Phase 4.1 of Moving Milwaukee Forward, bars and restaurants are allowed to stay open with adherence to a city health department-approved safety plan.

Barrett says not everyone has been following the rules. The mayor said warnings will no longer be issued for those in violation, instead, they'll be ticketed.

"With the serious situation that we're in, it's appropriate to get more serious about the enforcement," said Barrett. "If you are not in compliance, if it's complaint-driven or not, a citation will be issued."

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For now, Milwaukee is a city halted in moving forward as the third wave of COVID floods the state.

A decision on the city's COVID-19 plan will be announced in the coming days with more specifics as to the changes we could see.

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