MILWAUKEE — Matt Roman Lopez, the director of operations at BelAir Cantina on Milwaukee’s Water Street believes the new guidance from the City of Milwaukee on restaurants shows things are headed in the right direction when it comes to COVID-19. 

“It’s a sign that we’re doing things right, that the city as a hole is doing things right and people are staying healthy,” Roman Lopez said. 

As of Friday, restaurants and bars are allowed to let customers stand and move about the restaurant. 

What You Need To Know

  • The City of Milwaukee has eased some COVID-19 restrictions effective March 19, 2021

  • Restaurants aren't required to keep everyone seated

  • Museums can open with capacity guidelines and mask requirements

  • There are new guidelines for indoor and outdoor sporting events

  • Visitors are allowed at long-term care facilities

That’s a big change, and good news for restaurants because it allows them to potentially have more people inside. 

“People don’t have to be seated down in chairs,” Roman Lopez said. "Previously, we had to have a seat for every single guest. It’s recommended that we do, and everything that’s safe for our guests is great, but they can now freely roam the restaurant, order drinks, and walk around or go back outside or what have you.”

Caitlyn Grubich spent her Friday afternoon getting lunch with a friend from college. She said the roll back on restrictions is a good thing.

“I think the idea of shifting in phases is a great way to slowly adjust to these new ideas,” said Grubich. 

Grubich said having the ability to serve more customers allows servers and bartenders the chance to make more money for their families. 

“Coming from someone who was a server and just trying to make ends meet for crying out loud, you know? It’s an important part of the culture,” Grubich said. “And if the restaurant is feeling comfortable with the increased capacity, I think some of the people just out in general will enjoy that kind of social aspect of things.”

Social distancing and mask guidelines are still in place. That hasn’t changed. 

While he’s happy to see some restrictions rolled back, Roman Lopez doesn’t think too much will change when it comes to guest traffic just yet. 

He does think it could encourage people who have been hesitant to dine in, to do so. 

“Maybe this is something that will make them feel good about coming back out,” he said. 

To see the new order from the City of Milwaukee, click here