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Focus Area: Coronavirus/COVID-19

Wisconsin Statewide Order Affecting Restaurants and Others Effective March 17, 2020

A day after the Madison & Dane County Public Health Officer issued an order limiting public and private gatherings of 50 or more people to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) (see post here), the Wisconsin Department of Health Services issued a similar order applying statewide, effective 12:01 a.m. March 17, 2020 

The order broadly prohibits all “Mass Gatherings,” defined as any planned or spontaneous, public or private event or convening that brings together or is likely to bring together 50 or more people in a single room or single confined or enclosed space at the same time.

The order provides several exceptions but imposes various requirements to meet the exceptions. Restaurants are exempt as long as the guidelines listed below are followed:

a. Operate at 50% of seating capacity or 50 total people, whichever is less;

b. Preserve social distancing of six feet between tables, booths, bar stools, and ordering counters;

c. Cease self-service operations of salad bars, beverage stations, and buffets; and

d. Prohibit customers from self-dispensing all unpackaged food and beverages.

Other retail food establishments (grocery stores, convenience stores, farmer’s markets) are subject to a similar exemption.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided is for general informational purposes only. This post is not updated to account for changes in the law and should not be considered tax or legal advice. This article is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with legal and/or financial advisors for legal and tax advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

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