Open at 25% capacity, business remains down for some Milwaukee bars as patrons take caution

MILWAUKEE -- The governors of Texas and Florida have ordered bars to close once again because of a recent surge in COVID-19 cases. In Wisconsin, being back open has not solved bar owners' economic woes, either.

While stormy weather on Friday, June 26 might have hampered some plans to meet for drinks outdoors, FOX6 News learned from some bar owners that Friday nights still aren't as busy as they used to be.

David Martin

"I take it serious. Because I don't come out. Believe me," David Martin, a patron at Pete's Pub on Milwaukee's east side, said. "This is the first time I've been out since quarantine and this is nice. This is nice."

Martin felt it was finally time for an outing, but said he is still being cautious about the coronavirus -- practicing social distancing and having hand sanitizer available. He also said, for now, he is avoiding groups.

Several bar owners in the Milwaukee area told FOX6 News that they have noticed many people still do not feel safe to go out for a late-night drink, even with many bars operating at only 25% capacity.

Pete's Pub


Joanna Szeszycki, bar manager of Dorsia on Milwaukee's east side, said late-night weekend turnout is not nearly what it used to be. She said she sees patrons making an effort to come during off times for a drink or meal while keeping a distance from each other.

Joanna Szeszycki

"What's interesting from my side is I feel like a lot more people are coming out earlier in the week than they are on the weekends," said Szeszycki. "I think that they feel as though less people are coming out, and so they feel safer, and so I feel like our weekends have been slower but our beginnings of the week have been higher, much bigger increase."

Many managers who spoke with FOX6 News on Friday said they are grateful for patrons who are making efforts to keep help them feel safe as well.