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



On October 6th, Governor Evers announced that he instructed DHS Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm to issue an order that limits the capacity for public places in Wisconsin to 25%. This restriction, which is in reaction to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, is in effect from October 8th at 8:00 am through November 6th. This covers all indoor public places including restaurants and bars statewide. According to Governor's office staff, the order does not impact outside spaces.

Our sources indicate that capacity is the building/room capacity, not seating capacity, so the 25% includes staff.

WRA is in continual communication with the Governor's office as well as state officials and will work to gather the most up to date information on what this means for restaurants.

WRA will continue to communicate to state leaders about the devastating effects that these types of limitations will have on restaurant businesses and will lobby to eliminate restrictions as soon as possible using data to show that restaurants using best practices are not the cause of COVID-19 cases.

NOTE: Under the state emergency order, local municipalities are permitted to have orders that are more restrictive than the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Order. Currently, Public Health Madison & Dane County and the City of Milwaukee have determined that their plans are more strict than the state emergency order and therefore are enforcing their current plans in their jurisdictions and not the state emergency order.  There may be challenges from the state on Dane County and City of Milwaukee’s determinations.

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.

State Order


Press Release


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.

More Info

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.