Masks at Milwaukee, Waukesha businesses; new guidance prompts pivot

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is easing indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to stop wearing masks inside in most places. While the updated CDC guidance gives us a welcome glimpse at getting back to normal, some business owners are proceeding with caution.

At SPIRE Fitness, Hubie Krawczyk said in addition to abiding by city rules, safety precautions have been so well-received by guests, they're keeping things as is.  

"We’ve worked really super hard to get to this point," said Krawczyk, owner of SPIRE Fitness.

Located in Milwaukee's Third Ward, the boutique fitness studio isn't sprinting toward ditching masks just yet.  

"It’s just for the safety of all of our members, and that’s the most important part of this," said Krawczyk.

Despite new CDC guidance, Krawczyk said he will continue to follow local orders.  

"The City of Milwaukee is basically our go-to," Krawczyk.

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Plus, with stringent cleaning and COVID-19 safety measures, he said guests have gained confidence in their business and he won't risk losing that now.  

"I really believe that if we… all the sudden we didn’t do that, that would hurt us more than help us," said Krawczyk.

The SPIRE team introduced a limited number of socially-distanced outdoor classes in the fall where masks were not required. They plan to re-introduce those next month.

In Waukesha County, where masks haven't been mandated since the end of March, Brisco County Wood Grill customers have still been required to wear them unless seated at their table.

"The community helped us get through it," said Dionisios Tsioutsiopoulos.

Now, Tsioutsiopoulos said in keeping with CDC recommendations, that measure will become relaxed for fully vaccinated individuals, though that will be based on the honor system.  

"We want to go back to that sense of normalcy," said Tsioutsiopoulos. "We hope people are being honest and true."

While employees will stay masked for the time being, he said there's room to pivot – just like they've been doing for the last year.  

"This is so new to everybody, so we’re going to have to see how it goes," he said.