Muskego to hold community event despite pandemic, business owner worries it's 'maybe not a good idea'

In weeks past, massive gatherings of people have been seen nationwide partying during the coronavirus pandemic. While COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin leave many people concerned, the City of Muskego is moving forward with a big event of its own.

On Thursday afternoon, Aug. 6, things were quiet at Mickey's Grill in Muskego. The owner, Miguel Hernandez, said that is the new normal for many restaurants during the pandemic. But word of a popular city festival set to make a surprise return on Friday, Aug. 7 is creating a lot of buzz.

"It's a lot of people walking, I don't know exactly how many thousands of people, but they do it every year," Hernandez said.

It's called "Jammin' on Janesville," and it brings the restaurants curbside to the estimated thousands of attendees looking to shop.

"Maybe not a good idea for (us) to do this right now this year," said Hernandez.

Hernandez said during the pandemic, he's surprised the city leaders would allow it to happen. But Muskego Mayor Rick Petfalski said the event is not a city function.

"Jammin' at Janesville is run by the Muskego Area Chamber of Commerce, it's a private organization," said Petfalski. "The City of Muskego does not have any input as far as the planning, or operations of the event itself."

The mayor said, in short, as long as participating businesses follow local and state health guidelines, there is nothing he can do.

"I treat it no differently than any other business in town," Petfalski said.

Statement from the Muskego Area Chamber of Commerce

The Muskego Area Chamber of Commerce said the event is about striking a balance between public health and the community's economy -- and returning a bit of normalcy. For Hernandez, though, the risk outweighs the reward.

"I know it's for supporting the businesses, but maybe it's not a good idea," said Hernandez.

FOX6 News received a news release from the Muskego Area Chamber of Commerce, but no one was able to sit down for an interview. The city's mayor said he won't be around for the event, citing prior engagements.