Back To Business

Returning to Work During Recovery

Milwaukee has begun taking steps to safely reopen following the lift of the Safer at Home order. To ensure that businesses across all industries open safely, please review the guidelines below. 

Milwaukee Downtown also surveyed property owners and building managers to better understand the pace and dynamics of employees returning to downtown office buildings for work. While the employees' return back to downtown is anticipated to be gradual, but steady, we are encouraged and optimistic that the trends show a continual increase through the remainder of the year. Click here for the survey summary.

For information on recovery grants and financial assistance programs aimed to assist in reopening, click here.

Moving Milwaukee Forward Safely

In May 2020, Milwaukee City Officials released Moving Milwaukee Forward Safely, the COVID-19 Public Health Plan for the City of Milwaukee. The reopening strategy lays out a plan to relax restrictions on various business types as certain gateway metrics are met, is based on the foundations of federal, state of Wisconsin and Milwaukee County guidance to slow the spread of COVID-19 and bring back our economy. The latest phased reopening plan for the City of Milwaukee can be found here.

Badger Bounce Back Plan

Gov. Evers created the Badger Bounce Back plan for Wisconsin in order to decrease COVID-19 cases to a low level and increase the capacity in our health care system so businesses can begin opening in phases. Click here to view Wisconsin's current standing in the Badger Bounce Back plan and reported COVID-19 phases. 

Active Streets for Businesses - Expanded Outdoor Seating

Consumer survey data continues to highlight the importance of creating additional safely spaced outside seating areas as a business recovery strategy to make patrons more comfortable returning to eating establishments. Therefore, Milwaukee Downtown is supportive of the City of Milwaukee’s new Active Streets for Businesses program that aims to support small businesses through the safe reopening of restaurants and bars by increasing options for outdoor dining that adhere to local physical distancing requirements in well-ventilated areas. The zero fee online application allows for restaurants and bars to expand socially distant outside seating on sidewalks and into parking and drive lanes if approved. The application and guidelines for the program are found here.

Reopening Guidance and Toolkits

WEDC Guidelines and Toolkits

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) created new guidelines and best practices for businesses transitioning into recovery.

A few general guidelines provided by WEDC include:

  • Implement telework and other social distancing practices
  • Require employees to stay home when sick
  • Promote hand-washing
  • Provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies for cleaning and disinfecting workspaces
  • In workplaces where it is not possible to eliminate face-to-face contact, consider assigning higher-risk employees work tasks that allow them to maintain a six-foot distance from others

WEDC provides more general guidelines here for keeping offices and workspaces clean, conducting meetings and implementing social distancing policies. If you’re looking for guidelines that are industry specific, visit WEDC’s website where they cover over 15 Wisconsin industries from agriculture and construction to salons and gyms. Be sure to visit these resources regularly as they are updated with new information as it becomes available.

Click here to view WEDC's webinar and presentation on reopening restaurants.

Click here to view information on the WEDC's small business grants.

BOMA International's Guide to Building Re-entry

BOMA International assembled a document, Getting Back to Work: Preparing Buildings for Re-Entry Amid COVID-19, that features guidelines for preparing commercial properties for the safe return of office tenants, building personnel, visitors, vendors and contractors. This document also identifies other operational and safety procedures that should be implemented, updated or enhanced. Click here to view the document.

MMAC Health & Safety Toolkit

MMAC and the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) partnered to develop a toolkit to help businesses identify risks and implement health and safety procedures. Click here to view the toolkit.  

Milwaukee Magazine Stimulus Program

Milwaukee Magazine announced a $50,000 commitment to help small businesses attract new and returning customers by giving back. The magazine will match invested funds, dollar for dollar, to support these businesses in their advertising efforts. Click here to learn more.


Milwaukee Downtown's Consumer Polling Data

Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 is conducting periodic polling via social media to gauge consumer habits and perception of safety. This data is available to help inform programs, policies and operations for downtown businesses.

View May 2020 survey data

View June 2020 survey data