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UW System president, bar-and-restaurant groups ask Wisconsin businesses to ‘encourage responsible behavior’ amid fall return of 170,000 students

August 24, 2020 5:53 PM

Tabatha Wethal

Posted: August 24, 2020 5:53 PM

Updated: August 24, 2020 5:59 PM

MADISON, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin System president and restaurant and bar group leaders on Monday asked Wisconsin establishments to encourage coronavirus-prevention best-practices once students return for the fall.

In a letter to Tavern League of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Restaurant Association members, UW System President Tommy Thompson, Tavern League of Wisconsin Executive Director Pete Madland and Wisconsin Restaurant Association President Kristine Hillmer asked that bars and restaurants encourage student patrons to physically distance, wear masks and post signage that encourages the same.

“Across our country, we have seen the consequences when large numbers of young people congregate in public settings, including bars and restaurants,” the letter said. “Those consequences have led to the reversal or suspension of plans to provide in-person instruction. We know that nobody wants this outcome. The UW System is actively promoting to students the need to engage in healthy behavior.”

According to the letter, 170,000 students are set to return to the University of Wisconsin System campuses for in-person instruction starting Sept. 2.

In the letter, Thompson, Madland and Hillmer asked that Tavern League of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Restaurant Association members:

Encourage patrons to maintain physical distance, including by setting capacity limits.
Enforce a mask mandate inside your establishments and outdoors where applicable.
Post signs that encourage patrons to wear a mask, watch their distance and wash their hands.
Follow other guidance from your local public health departments and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Tthe UW System said it has developed testing protocols to diagnose and monitor COVID-19 as one component of a strategy to mitigate risk on campuses and in the larger community that includes promoting behaviors that reduce spread, maintaining healthy environments, and preparing for when someone gets sick.

“The System and members of the Tavern League and Restaurant Association have a mutual interest in thriving university communities and want to partner on these efforts,” the letter said.

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