With Dane County Public Health Order lifted, businesses are faced with new decisions

Bloom Bake Shop on Monroe Street previously had a masks required sign in their window. On Wednesday morning, they took it down.
Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 10:05 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - One week after the Public Health Order including COVID-19 restrictions and mask wearing was lifted in Dane County, some businesses are now facing a new set of decisions.

Bloom Bake Shop on Monroe Street in Madison made many changes to adapt during the pandemic, including a new pre-ordering and pick up system, and getting rid of the tables and chairs for in-shop dining. While the changes took some getting used to, owner Annemarie Maitri said they were worth it.

“If you would have told me 15 months ago I don’t know if I would have seen it, but I really love where we are,” Maitiri said. “I love what we can offer now and in addition to more offerings around the bakery which I get excited to think about new things all the time, we also have options for service. You can come in and enjoy a pastry and pick it out, you can come to the window if you’d rather stay outside, or we still are going to continue to offer curbside pickup.”

Bakers are busy in the kitchen at Bloom Bake Shop on Monroe Street in Madison ahead of the...
Bakers are busy in the kitchen at Bloom Bake Shop on Monroe Street in Madison ahead of the opening rush.(NBC15)

Despite the changes, the team at Bloom said customers have been loyal and supportive, showing the community’s dedication to supporting small businesses.

“There were people who drove from Janesville and Sun Prairie weekly with their main mission to keep us alive,” she said. “And not just us. They stop at Pizza Brutta, they pick up their books at Mystery To Me or their records from Strictly Discs.”

Maitri said throughout the pandemic, she and her staff at Bloom Bake Shop have been making decisions as a team. She said this past weekend, Bloom went to a farmer’s market that did not require masks to be worn. She said that was a moment of reflection and decision for the team.

“Collectively as a team with all of us being vaccinated, we decided to go for it,” she said of their decision not to wear masks. “It wasn’t taken lightly, it wasn’t without feeling nervous. It’s like coupled with excitement and cautiousness.”

Wednesday morning, that decision carried forward, as Maitri took down the sign in the shop window requiring customers to wear masks. It’s a decision she said was an emotional one, and one she does not take lightly.

“Health and safety is paramount in a food business, you throw COVID into it, every move we made in the last 15 months, in addition to making a a cake, was related to safety and health,” she said. “It can’t not be taken lightly when you’re now deciding after 15 months to take a mask off. As exciting as it is to see the faces of staff that you never even saw their face when you hired them, it’s still met, coupled with those emotions.”

Bloom Bake Shop owner Annemarie Maitri.
Bloom Bake Shop owner Annemarie Maitri.

Maitri said staff and customers can of course continue to wear masks if they are more comfortable doing so. Maitri said as they navigate yet another new change, they’re prioritizing safety and asking for patience.

“Continue to be safe and cautious, continue to move forward with optimism but with those good policies,” she said. “Leading with kindness, all of us, I’m ready. Summer’s my favorite season so I’m ready for fresh fruit and new menu items and to be a part of this great community.”

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