Milwaukee has ordered bars and restaurants to close effective at 2:01 a.m. this morning. Carryout, delivery and curbside service will still be allowed under the order, but patrons will no longer be able to dine in.
Ten other Milwaukee County municipalities have also enacted the order: South Milwaukee, St. Francis, Bayside, Brown Deer, Cudahy, Fox Point, Glendale, River Hills, Shorewood and Whitefish Bay. There is no end date for the order.
“Clear and bold actions are needed immediately to stop the spread of COVID-19 and strengthen public health in Milwaukee County, and that means closing our bars and restaurants for now,” a news release from the municipalities says. “This will be extremely difficult on the family-owned bars, local restaurants and small businesses that make Milwaukee County the best place to call home. We are in unprecedented times, and that calls for unprecedented actions. We want to thank the bars, restaurants, businesses and all our residents for understanding this is a necessary measure to safeguard the health of our community. We are all in this together.”
The order, which follows Gov. Tony Evers’ action Monday limiting gatherings to under 50 people. That order doesn’t apply to grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals, food pantries and childcare centers.
Health officials around the country have testified to the need to “flatten the curve,” slowing the spread of the virus through social distancing in order to prevent a spike in cases that would overwhelm the U.S. hospital system.