Restaurant Employees Laid Off

Things quickly went from bad to worse for Wisconsin’s restaurants under the Evers administration’s emergency orders.

Longtime eateries like Madison’s Avenue Club were forced to close, at least temporarily, after state Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm announced that public gatherings would be capped at 25 percent of capacity.

“We have made the very hard decision to temporarily close the Avenue Club at the end of October. With limited capacity and a decline in customer foot traffic, we couldn’t find a way to keep operating under the current circumstances,” restaurant owners posted on Facebook. “Our sales aren’t covering our expenses, and that’s been the case since March. COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on our industry. Restaurants were the first to close to keep our communities safe, and will likely be the last to fully re-open.”

Kristine Hillmer, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, told Empower Wisconsin the Badger State economy was facing the loss of 50 percent of its restaurants if the pandemic and strict government orders dragged on. By October of 2020, one in 10 restaurants had already closed permanently.

WRA Vice President Susan Quam told Channel3000 about 1 in 3 restaurant employees had been laid off.

Gov. Tony Evers shrugged off the damage done, asserting his administration’s statewide order taking 75 percent of business away from restaurants, bars, retailers and others “is not closing anything.”

“They still have 25 percent capacity to work with,” he dismissively said.

Wisconsin boasted some 12,800 eating and drinking establishments in 2018. They supported more than 284,000 jobs and generated north of $10 billion in sales.

Those numbers have significantly declined due to Evers’ efforts to bubble wrap the state from a virus.

Failing Our Employers