With safety precautions in place, some Milwaukee landmarks reopen amid COVID-19 pandemic

Chuck Wikenhauser

MILWAUKEE -- It's back to business for a number of notable Milwaukee landmarks this week. Safety precautions are being taken at the Milwaukee County Zoo, The Pfister Hotel and Potawatomi Hotel and Casino -- all reopening during the coronavirus pandemic.

"It will be a little bit different than your normal zoo experience," said Chuck Wikenhauser, zoo director.

The Milwaukee County Zoo is reopening Saturday, June 13 after shutting down for nearly three months.

Wikenhauser said tickets for Saturday quickly sold out. Guests can expect an "outdoor only" experience during Phase One of the reopening plan.

"Hours will be shorter -- from 10 to 3 p.m., and there will be certain restrictions as far as where people can go on the ground," Wikenhauser said.

Capacity will be also capped to 1,500 visitors. Guests will be asked to wear masks.

"Judging from my trips, the animals are going to be attentive, wanting to see those people back," Wikenhauser said.

To the east of the zoo, officials at Potawatomi Hotel and Casino held a soft reopening event on Monday for invited guests.

Tim Smith

New safety precautions include temperature checks at the door.

Guests will also be asked to practice social distancing and wear masks inside the property. Gaming reservations are required.

And in downtown Milwaukee, the iconic Pfister Hotel welcomed guests back Monday.

"We've been working towards this day since the day we closed," said Tim Smith, managing director. "We have sanitizing stations throughout the hotel. At last count, we were at 60 throughout the building."

Smith said there are glass partitions throughout the property -- and they've reduced capacity. Rooms will not be re-booked until 48 hours after a guest has left.

"That's an electrostatic sprayer that will cover about 2,000 square feet in 15 minutes," said Smith. "It's great for the big public spaces. We are committed to providing the same great service we've been providing for 127 years. Come and visit us!"

In a few weeks, officials at the Milwaukee County Zoo will reassess when they can reopen at full capacity.