Phase 4 of Milwaukee's virus reopening takes effect; businesses remain cautious: 'Follow the guidelines'

MILWAUKEE -- The City of Milwaukee entered Phase 4 of its COVID-19 reopening plan on Wednesday, July 1, allowing more people to gather in certain spaces, such as restaurants and retail stores.

Some Milwaukee businesses, though, remain cautious and focused on safety as the citywide plan moves forward.

Things are sizzling at Stack'd Burger Bar. The Milwaukee restaurant is focused on food and safety as the city enters Phase 4 of its COVID-19 reopening plan.

Stack'd Burger Bar

"You want to open up right so it doesn't go in reverse," said Trevor Danielson, Stack'd owner. "For me, the biggest part of all of this is keeping my employees safe, keeping my customers safe, doing my part to help out in any way I can to provide a safe environment for everyone."

Gyms, restaurants and bars are now able to open at 50% capacity. Retail stores can now open at 75% capacity.

Jeanette Kowalik

City leaders said data show criteria were met to move on to Phase 4. As businesses step into the new phase, officials are keeping an eye on capacity.

"The health department will be monitoring this capacity," Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik said. "Remember, we have an order. It's not guidance. It's something we can enforce."

City.Net Cafe

City.Net Cafe on Wisconsin Avenue is serving smooth jazz and roasting coffee. Owner Sam Belton said the shop has spread tables out inside to allow for social distancing, but many customers are choosing another option.

"We're getting more people sitting outside," said Belton.

As the state sees the continued spread of the coronavirus, Belton has a message to businesses.

"Don't push it too hard. Just follow the guidelines," Belton said. "I hate to see when I see businesses with too many people gathered, and they're not social distancing or anything like that."

Kowalik encourages people to let the Milwaukee Health Department know about any capacity violations by sending photos or videos; email with violation information.