RACINE, Wis. - Racine police are being asked to help enforce the city's mask ordinance. Some business owners told FOX6 News on Thursday, Oct. 29, though, that protections against COVID-19 are hurting sales.
RG Natural Babies has been open in Racine for a decade, but the pandemic makes owner Michelle Schimian worry if her business will survive another year.
Schimian believes the city's mask ordinance and safety guidelines are killing business.
"It’s definitely been challenging," said Schimian. "It’s a little bit frustrating. Because I know that myself and other business owners are doing things to keep people safe. It’s just putting more fear into people."
This week, with Racine's coronavirus case rate now exceeding its previous high from late May, Public Health Administrator Dottie-Kay Bowersox is asking the Racine Police Department to assist with compliance inspections.
"We are going to be doing these inspections to help further the education and awareness and cite those businesses that are in non-compliance," Bowersox said.
Bowersox said the city's five-day average of positive tests is 27%.
"The outbreaks are coming from bars and restaurants. We also have social gatherings," said Bowersox.
At Carriage House Liquor Company, honest talk is on tap from bartender Linda Ketter.
"I think they had to do what they had to do to keep us safe," said Ketter. "I’m 71 and I want to stay living. I don’t want people around me – maybe they’re young and can fight it off – I can’t."
If a customer comes in without a mask, Ketter asks them to leave. Even with enforcement of "Safer Racine" guidelines, she said she expects the coronavirus will linger for a long time.
"I do believe it’s going to – as it’s spiking now – I see it spiking all over the country. Especially with the weather getting colder," Ketter said.
For violating the city's order, businesses could face fines between $50 and $500.
Racine's city attorney and city clerk are also authorized to revoke a business's license for failure to comply.