Information Specific to Restaurants


WRA provides restaurant operators with the latest news, helpful guidance and useful resources to help restaurant operators navigate the many issues relating to re-opening dining rooms. WRA advises restaurants to carefully open if they feel it is right for their business and their community.


Kristine Hillmer

For more information, contact:

Kristine Hillmer | WRA President & CEO


Currently in Wisconsin, restrictions to stem the pandemic are being issued at the local level with the exception of the statewide mask mandate that goes into effect on August 1st. The situation is still very fluid and things can change very quickly. Local health departments (counties and municipalities) can legally issue an emergency order to continue Safer at Home provisions within your area.  It’s imperative to keep an eye on what’s going on in your city and county to ensure that you are not in violation of local mandates, opening yourselves up to fines and license revocation. We encourage you to check directly with your local health department for the latest information for your area and check in often as regulations can change quickly. See List of Local Health Departments

Keep in mind that if restaurants and bars in your area do not do a good job with implementing reopening best practices, local health departments will likely take action to impose stay at home closures for your area. It takes just a couple of bad examples to drive public concern.

On the flip side, customers need to make good decisions on what is best for them and their personal situation. In a press release sent out statewide, WRA urged customers to be patient and understanding as restaurants make decisions that are best for their business, their employees, their customers and their communities.

We encourage restaurants to check out the Wisconsin Promise program and other helpful resources developed by WRA as well as the state guidelines released by WEDC (Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation) and guidelines from the FDA on this page.

Milwaukee Skyline

Milwaukee Restaurants and Bars Can Submit Safety Plan for Expanding Capacity – Approved Plan Required for Indoor Dining After September 15th

The City of Milwaukee Health Department recently released a risk assessment tool to allow restaurants and bars to submit a safety plan for maximum feasible capacity at your specific location allowing 6 foot physical distancing. And, in order to continue inside dining after September 15, a plan must be submitted for review.

Also, a restaurant or bar with an approved plan will be ‘phase-proof’ should the gating criteria require moving back in phases. This means if between now and September 15 Milwaukee moves back to phase 3, your restaurant will be exempt from having to reduce capacity.

The Ask WRA team is receiving training so they can field questions to help navigate the requirement. We are not able to write plans but can answer questions as you work to complete your plan.

More Info 


Wisconsin Restaurant Promise

In partnership with the Wisconsin Restaurant Association and health officials across the State, restaurant owners and operators can make commitments to earn the Wisconsin Restaurant Promise endorsement during the COVID-19 recovery period.

Download Full Toolkit


Guidance on Face Mask Use



Are you grappling with the issue of an employee who tested positive for COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone who has tested positive? You're not alone. Our Ask WRA Team has received quite a few questions from restaurant operators about this topic.  WRA provides resources with the latest guidance on how to handle the situation.

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Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s (WEDC) Guidelines

General Guidelines

Restaurant and Foodservice Guidelines

Chef washing hands


Because of the challenges presented by COVID-19, ServSafe has developed a number of free resources aimed at keeping our workers and the dining public safe. Free courses include ServSafe Reopening Guidance: COVID-19 Precautions, ServSafe Delivery: COVID-19 Precautions and ServSafe Takeout: COVID-19 Precautions.

Access Free Training 



ServSafe has developed a FREE on-demand training video to train operators and staff to reopen restaurants with new COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.  ServSafeReopening Guidance: COVID-19 Precautions provides an overview of the key actions that provide operators and staff the tools to reduce risk of transmission, apply new sanitation and disinfecting practices, and recognize new social distancing while reopening operations. 

This training video features:

  • Knowing the symptoms of COVID-19 
  • Preventing the spread 
  • Recognizing actions to reduce employee and guest risk 
  • Keeping guests and employees safe
  • Guidelines for face coverings, hand washing, hand sanitizer use, and food handling
  • Guidelines for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting 
  • Changes to maintain social distancing

Learn More/Get Video 

Deli Worker

Information to consider when deciding next steps when Wisconsin re-opens


There isn’t a one size fits all resolution for getting through this pandemic. When you decide what your next steps should be when dining rooms open back up, the most critical thing to consider will be the consumer. We’ve gathered some information on consumer trend outlooks that will help prepare you for the new reality once the industry re-opens.

Download PDF

Masks Required/Suggested Posters

Social Distancing Posters

Hand Washing Posters

Handwashing is the most effective means of preventing the spread of bacteria and viruses and can prevent contamination of food, utensils and equipment. Training is key! Don’t assume that your employees know the proper way to wash their hands.

To encourage employees to properly wash their hands, WRA created several new handwashing posters.

More Info


Back to Business Plan

The Wisconsin Restaurant Association is part of a coalition of groups who created the Back to Business Plan which is a proactive plan strategically designed to open Wisconsin businesses based on a number of risk factors and offers employers a clear vision for when and how they can begin to operate, once again.  The Back to Business Plan was developed with input from a diverse group of stakeholders, including those in business, government and the medical community. Additionally, it draws on best practices and recommendations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). WRA is advocating for proactively adopting this data-driven plan for reopening Wisconsin’s economy so that we are ready when it is deemed safe to do so.