New program lists Wisconsin restaurants that vow to ‘serve safely’ during the pandemic

Chairs at Za 51
Chairs at Za 51(weau)
Published: Dec. 3, 2020 at 5:41 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Governor Evers’ announcement Thursday morning gave restaurants another slice of hope.

$45 million will be allocated to nearly 2,000 businesses throughout the state that have been impacted by the pandemic. Meanwhile, restaurants are finding their own ways to boost business this winter.

According to the Wisconsin Restaurant Association (WRA), in May 70% of restaurant operators said it was unlikely they would be profitable in the next six months.

Now the WRA is encouraging businesses to “share that they care” by taking a pledge to keep their customers safe this winter. Joanne Palzkill is co-owner of Draganettis and Za 51 and hopes this pledge will bring customers back through their doors with confidence.

“We are trained as restaurants to be safe places,” Palzkill said. “Pre-COVID we have the safest safety standards, safest sanitary standards.”

WRA president and CEO Kristine Hillmer said the ‘Ready to Serve Safely’ program aims to inform the public of just how many safety protocols these businesses take.

“Restaurants who are doing everything that they’re supposed to be doing ... as well as social distancing and wearing masks, hypersanitization, as well as educating staff.. when all of that happens they’re placed on a list,” Hillmer said.

The list on the WRA website has over one hundred businesses that have taken the pledge.

“By looking at those they know they have some places they can go and trust,” Hillmer said. Hillmer also added just because a business is not on the list does not mean they are not being responsible.

Vowing to serve safely might give business a boost, however Gov. Evers’ initiative aims to provide that financial support during a critical time.

Through the We’re All In for Restaurants program, $45 million will be distributed among hundreds of Wisconsin restaurants.

However, Hillmer said it’s the consumers who have the largest say in the future of these businesses.

“We really encourage folks to visit their favorite restaurants if they want them to be around when this pandemic is over,” Hillmer said.

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