What you need to know about Wisconsin Reopening

As the dust settles and states begin to look forward to reopening it’s time to think about what types of measures your bar, restaurant, or another establishment in Wisconsin should do about reopening. Before reopening you should address concerns regarding sanitation and safety, employee education, liability, distancing, and continuing to offer to pick up or delivery.


The Wisconsin Restaurant Association (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.”


Restaurants and Bars were unexpectedly allowed to reopen May 13th without restrictions.


Sanitation and Safety

For the safety of your staff and customers, you should sanitize all areas of the restaurant before reopening. This includes the kitchen, tables, chairs, the bathroom, and checkout areas. Be sure to follow the instructions found on our disinfectant label and rinse thoroughly with water to reduce the risk of food contamination.


Make sure all “high-touch” areas like doorknobs, railings, switches, and faucets are regularly being cleaned throughout the day. Since pin pads can be a hot spot of contamination make sure you’re wiping it down in between each customer use. If needed conduct training and reinforce procedures at meetings.

Employee Education

Not only is it important to make sure all of your employees are up to date on safe Wisconsin Alcohol Seller and Server training. It’s an important time to make sure all employees are about to successfully identify if an employee or patron is showing signs of COVID-19 (World Health Organization COVID-19 Symptoms list).


In addition, you should create house policies that dictate when and for how long an employee should be unable to return to work. The CDC currently recommends self-quarantining for 14 days someone who might be sick and self-isolation if you are.



Before opening be sure to post a clear and concise liability waiver. This statement should be available for patrons and servers to read on the door or in seating areas. This waiver should speak to how you’d like your customers to conduct themselves, how the staff has been trained and enhanced cleaning procedures.



In order to maintain the recommended six feet of separation, it’s recommended that you redesign the dining room areas to seat customers farther apart. You may want to consider canceling or postponing events that typically bring in crowds like fundraising, bands, and banquets. It is also recommended that you temporarily discontinue self-service food and drink opportunities.


Pick Up/Delivery

While a lot of people may be eager to rejoin their daily tasks like getting a bite to eat or drinking at the local pub. There may be regular patrons who would prefer to remain distanced from the general population. So it may still be lucrative to maintain pick up and delivery options that were put into place. If this option was previously not in place, it may be a good time for management to reconsider.


Additional resources related to COVID in your state include:


Wisconsin Restaurant Association


State of Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services


Wisconsin Governor


How to Prevent Getting Sick (CDC)


Testing for COVID-19 (CDC)