Information Specific to Restaurants
WRA provides restaurant operators with the latest news, helpful guidance and useful resources to help restaurant operators navigate the many issues relating to re-opening dining rooms. WRA advises restaurants to carefully open if they feel it is right for their business and their community.
For more information, contact:
Kristine Hillmer | WRA President & CEO
Currently in Wisconsin, restrictions to stem the pandemic are being issued at the local level with the exception of the statewide mask mandate that goes into effect on August 1st. 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. 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
Keep in mind that if restaurants and bars in your area do not do a good job with implementing reopening best practices, local health departments will likely take action to impose stay at home closures for your area. It takes just a couple of bad examples to drive public concern.
On the flip side, customers need to make good decisions on what is best for them and their personal situation. In a press release sent out statewide, WRA urged customers to be patient and understanding as restaurants make decisions that are best for their business, their employees, their customers and their communities.
We encourage restaurants to check out the Wisconsin Promise program and other helpful resources developed by WRA as well as the state guidelines released by WEDC (Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation) and guidelines from the FDA on this page.
Milwaukee Restaurants and Bars Can Submit Safety Plan for Expanding Capacity – Approved Plan Required for Indoor Dining After September 15th
The City of Milwaukee Health Department recently released a risk assessment tool to allow restaurants and bars to submit a safety plan for maximum feasible capacity at your specific location allowing 6 foot physical distancing. And, in order to continue inside dining after September 15, a plan must be submitted for review.
Also, a restaurant or bar with an approved plan will be ‘phase-proof’ should the gating criteria require moving back in phases. This means if between now and September 15 Milwaukee moves back to phase 3, your restaurant will be exempt from having to reduce capacity.
The Ask WRA team is receiving training so they can field questions to help navigate the requirement. We are not able to write plans but can answer questions as you work to complete your plan.
Customers will decide when it feels safe to dine in your restaurants. Providing single-use menus may be one way to earn their trust and show you care. Ask for Wisconsin Restaurant Association pricing when emailing for info.
Wisconsin Restaurant Promise
In partnership with the Wisconsin Restaurant Association and health officials across the State, restaurant owners and operators can make commitments to earn the Wisconsin Restaurant Promise endorsement during the COVID-19 recovery period.
- Customizable Poster (Insert YOUR restaurant logo!)
- WRA Guide
- National Restaurant Association Reopening Guidance
EMPLOYEES WHO TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19 OR HAVE BEEN EXPOSED
Are you grappling with the issue of an employee who tested positive for COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone who has tested positive? You're not alone. Our Ask WRA Team has received quite a few questions from restaurant operators about this topic. WRA provides resources with the latest guidance on how to handle the situation.
FREE FOOD SAFETY TRAINING AVAILABLE
Because of the challenges presented by COVID-19, ServSafe has developed a number of free resources aimed at keeping our workers and the dining public safe. Free courses include ServSafe Reopening Guidance: COVID-19 Precautions, ServSafe Delivery: COVID-19 Precautions and ServSafe Takeout: COVID-19 Precautions.
FREE REOPENING GUIDANCE VIDEO AVAILABLE
ServSafe has developed a FREE on-demand training video to train operators and staff to reopen restaurants with new COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. ServSafeReopening Guidance: COVID-19 Precautions provides an overview of the key actions that provide operators and staff the tools to reduce risk of transmission, apply new sanitation and disinfecting practices, and recognize new social distancing while reopening operations.
This training video features:
- Knowing the symptoms of COVID-19
- Preventing the spread
- Recognizing actions to reduce employee and guest risk
- Keeping guests and employees safe
- Guidelines for face coverings, hand washing, hand sanitizer use, and food handling
- Guidelines for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting
- Changes to maintain social distancing
Milwaukee Restart Program Provides Grants to Businesses
Restart is a program that helps Milwaukee businesses to reopen and adapt to the "new normal." Grants will assist for-profit businesses located in the City of Milwaukee that have 20 or fewer full-time or full-time equivalent employees and greater than $0 but less than $2 million in 2019 revenue. Restart grants are limited to one per business owner. All applicants must be current on property taxes owed to the City of Milwaukee up through the 2018 tax bill.
Businesses may apply to cover specific expenses associated with re-starting business operations including personal protective equipment for employees, modifications to business space and operations to adapt to COVID-19 pandemic and restock of perishable inventory.
Link to Application. You will need to create an account.
Applications must be made online and will be accepted between May 28, 2020 and June 12, 2020.
Information to consider when deciding next steps when Wisconsin re-opens
COVID-19 CONSUMER TREND OUTLOOK
There isn’t a one size fits all resolution for getting through this pandemic. When you decide what your next steps should be when dining rooms open back up, the most critical thing to consider will be the consumer. We’ve gathered some information on consumer trend outlooks that will help prepare you for the new reality once the industry re-opens.
Masks Required/Suggested Posters
Social Distancing Posters
Hand Washing Posters
Handwashing is the most effective means of preventing the spread of bacteria and viruses and can prevent contamination of food, utensils and equipment. Training is key! Don’t assume that your employees know the proper way to wash their hands.
To encourage employees to properly wash their hands, WRA created several new handwashing posters.
Back to Business Plan
The Wisconsin Restaurant Association is part of a coalition of groups who created the Back to Business Plan which is a proactive plan strategically designed to open Wisconsin businesses based on a number of risk factors and offers employers a clear vision for when and how they can begin to operate, once again. The Back to Business Plan was developed with input from a diverse group of stakeholders, including those in business, government and the medical community. Additionally, it draws on best practices and recommendations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). WRA is advocating for proactively adopting this data-driven plan for reopening Wisconsin’s economy so that we are ready when it is deemed safe to do so.