Coronavirus Update for Restaurants in Wisconsin

With the ongoing and increased uncertainty over the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), here at the WRA our primary focus is – and will continue to be – to educate and support our restaurant and supplier partners through this difficult and challenging time. We are taking proactive measures to advocate for and alert members to changing policies, guidelines and best practices.

WRA has put together helpful resources targeted for employers, employees and others in the industry. Please check back often as we will continue to update this website as new information comes available and new developments arise.

Resources for Restaurants

Check here for the latest government updates. You’ll also find helpful resources including a COVID-19 employer toolkit, how to get started with delivery services guide, ideas to support employees and an FAQ.

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WRA advises restaurant operators to carefully open if you feel it is right for your business and your community. If you do choose to open, it's important to do everything possible to mitigate the risk of spread and build confidence in customers.

The situation is still very fluid and things can change very quickly. Local health departments (counties and municipalities) can legally issue an emergency order to continue Safer at Home provisions within your area. Some have issued their own orders and the details vary. It’s imperative to keep an eye on what’s going on in your city and county to ensure that you are not in violation of local mandates, opening yourselves up to fines and license revocation. We encourage you to check directly with your local health department for the latest information for your area and check in often as regulations can change quickly. See List of Local Health Departments

When you decide to open up and welcome back dining room customers, we encourage you to check out the Wisconsin Promise Program and other helpful resources developed by WRA as well as the state guidelines recently released by WEDC (Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation).

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Resources for Restaurant Employees

Important resources on unemployment benefits, supplemental food programs, health insurance, temporary job listings and mental health resources.

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Wisconsin Eats – WRA Dining Guide

Looking for a place to dine?  Check out the WRA Dining Guide of Member Restaurants.  Search by city, zip code, type of cuisine offered and more.  Services and hours for restaurants vary right now, so make sure to call ahead for details.

More Info


All around our communities people are pulling together, helping each other, adapting and thinking outside the box.  Take a moment to hear some feel good stories and innovative strategies that restaurant businesses are implementing to keep their business going and to be there for their communities.




Dane County Issues New Restrictions Based Upon Latest Information on COVID-19 Cases

Public Health Madison and Dane County announced new restrictions for gatherings, bars and restaurants effective at 8:00 am on July 2, 2020.

A Public Health Madison & Dane County news release indicates that the sustained, high number of cases in Dane County for the past week is linked to gatherings and visits to bars. This was concluded after consultation with their contact tracing team.

The new changes related to bars, restaurants and gatherings include:

  • At restaurants, indoor dining capacity is reduced to 25% of approved seating capacity levels
  • Bars may provide takeout but cannot have any indoor dining
  • Customers may enter bars only for the purposes of ordering, pickup, and payment of food or beverage or while in transit
  • Bars and restaurants are permitted to provide outdoor seating, with physical distancing
  • All indoor gatherings are permitted with 10 individuals or fewer not including employees - individuals must maintain physical distancing
  • All outdoor gatherings are permitted with 25 individuals or fewer not including employees - individuals must maintain physical distancing

“Restaurant” is defined as where sale of alcohol beverages accounts for 50% or less of the establishment’s gross receipts. “Bar” is defined as an establishment in which fermented malt beverages are sold for consumption upon said premises and whose sale of alcohol beverages accounts for 51% or more of the establishment’s gross receipts and whose primary business is that of a bar.

Public Health Madison and Dane County indicated that Dane County will not be moving forward with looser orders for at least a month.

See Order


Public Health Madison and Dane County has guidance for employees that is somewhat stricter in some respects than guidance from the CDC, including how to handle an employee who tests positive for COVID-19.

See Public Health Madison and Dane County Guidance for Essential Workers Who do Not Work in Health Care

City of Milwaukee Moves to Phase 4 of COVID-19 Orders

The City of Milwaukee announced that they will move to Phase 4 of the "Moving Milwaukee Forward" Public Health and Safety Order since criteria outlined in the plan have been met.

The move to Phase 4 is effective at 12:01 am on Wednesday, July 1st. The City of Milwaukee will remain in this phase for a minimum of 14 days, which is the incubation period of COVID19.

The limitation for bars and restaurants related to 50% of the total occupancy of the location contained within gathering size limits may be waived for an individual establishment upon approval and continued compliance with a Restaurant and Bar COVID-19 Safety Plan by the City of Milwaukee Health Department.

Restaurant and Bar COVID-19 Safety Plan

Risk Assessment Tool for Expanding Capacity in Bars and Restaurants

Order # 4

Press Release

Milwaukee Moves Forward Plan


Our Purpose

We Provide the Services and Tools for Members to be Successful

WRA membership includes thousands of foodservice businesses representing virtually every size and style of establishment in the state. Restaurateur members include fine dining establishments, mom-and-pop supper clubs, small cafes, fast food outlets, corporate chain restaurants, institutional foodservice operations, catering businesses and hotel and motel foodservices, to name a few. In addition to restaurateur and foodservice operators, WRA has hundreds of Supplier Associate Members that provide goods and services to the restaurant industry.

By uniting in an association, members gain access to information and services to help them better run and promote their businesses. And, a strong membership gives WRA powerful support in pursuing its mission to provide members the services and tools to be successful through advocacy, education and communication.



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Owner and Chef Discussion


Now Hiring—Resources for Employee Recruitment

We've heard from our members that staffing is the number one concern right now for restaurant operators. It's time to think outside the box on how to tackle this challenge. WRA offers resources for employee recruitment and managing a multigenerational workforce with some ideas you may not have thought about before.

Workforce Portal