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’Especially with the recent spike, that’s terrifying’: Business owners navigate Badger football, COVID-19

After two cancelled games, Regent Street business owners are glad the Badgers are back, but they say they want to make safety a priority.
Published: Nov. 15, 2020 at 12:06 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Badger football team took to the field again Saturday night, after the last two games were cancelled because several players tested positive for COVID-19. In their first away game of the season, the Badgers beat Michigan 49-11.

Badger football fans in Madison were excited to see the team playing again, and business owners shared that excitement.

“It was a bummer that we missed out on that for two weeks, but we’re glad we have the rest of the season to get through,” said Angela Genin, general manager at Lucky’s 1313 Brew Pub.

For Genin and other Regent Street businesses like Sconnie Bar, the past few months and the fall football season has been a rollercoaster.

“At this point, we’ve gotten unfortunately used to having different surprises,” said Lucas Simon-Wambach, general manager at Sconnie Bar.

First, the Big Ten cancelled the fall football season in August, then decided to bring it back in September. After that, the Badgers had to cancel two games due to COVID-19 cases among players.

“Each one of those blows, they hurt and they’re obviously hard for the business, but just staying positive," Simon-Wambach said.

Ahead of the Badgers game at Michigan on Saturday, Sconnie Bar and Lucky’s 1313 both filled all their reservations, but they admit navigating during a pandemic is hard.

Both said they are worried about the spike in COVID-19 cases across the state, but they are glad to see the Badgers back in action and are making safety a priority for their staff and customers.

“No more than 40 people, keeping everybody spaced out,” Simon-Wambach described.

Genin said Lucky’s 1313 also spaces tables out and only one waiter has contact with each table.

“Once people are seated, we go through all the rules, we temp check people before they come in,” she added.

Since the Badgers' first game in October, Wisconsin has seen over 100,000 new COVID-19 cases, and the future of the fall football season is still uncertain.

“Especially with the recent spike, that’s terrifying,” Genin said.

Both businesses said they are making the best of it with what they have.

“We’re all in this together,” Simon-Wambach said, encouraging people and businesses to continue following health guidelines. “That 25 percent capacity, we’re sticking to it, and we’re hoping others are doing the same.”

NBC15 checked in with the University of Wisconsin Police Department Saturday night. They told NBC15 students appeared to be following COVID-19 guidelines.

During October’s season opener, the university received 10 reports of health guideline violations.

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