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Bar, restaurant owners in ‘preservation’ mode with new restrictions

Local businesses adapt once again to new public health and safety measures enforced by Dane County.
Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 5:19 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - I/O Arcade Bar was just coming up on a month of being back open after COVID-19 forced it to close in March. Owner Mitchell Turino says he had to close again under the new public health order.

“Even in the last few weeks, we’re lucky to get 20-30 people in here,” said Turino. “Now we’re just trying to figure out where to go from here.”

I/O, a popular bar on Willy Street, does not have any outside seating, which would allow it to stay open.

“For us, it’s a lot more difficult because we can’t take these games outside,” added Turino. “It’s just kind of preservation at this point.”

Rockhound Brewing Company serves a collection of pub far and is considered a restaurant. Owner Nate Warnke says he’s learned over the past few months to stay flexible.

“There are always little changes that are going on,” said Warnke. “There’s not a huge change for us and that’s a positive thing because we’ve kind of been doing everything the same way.”

Warnke says he will have outdoor dining on his patio and can provide customers with indoor dining at 25 percent.

Both Warnke and Turino say they understand the public health and safety concerns.

“This is obviously a much bigger issue than any particular bar or restaurant,” said Turino.

According to the City’s statement on the increased restrictions, some of the most important changes include:

  • All indoor gatherings are permitted with 10 individuals or fewer not including employees. Individuals must maintain physical distancing. (Section 2.a.)
  • All outdoor gatherings are permitted with 25 individuals or fewer not including employees. Individuals must maintain physical distancing. (Section 2.b.)
  • At restaurants (defined in order), indoor dining capacity reduced to 25% of approved seating capacity levels. (Section 5.b)
  • Bars (defined in order) may provide takeout (no indoor dining). (Section 5.b)
  • Bars and restaurants are permitted to provide outdoor seating, with physical distancing. (Section 5.b)

Click HERE for more information about the changes.

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