Tomah business owner speaks out on Emergency Order #3

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — Some small business owners are feeling upset over a new emergency order Governor Evers’ Administration issued earlier this week for limited capacity.

“If my family is hungry.. and my family is my staff. I will do whatever it takes to make sure that they have food on their tables, that they are able to pay their bills, that they are able to continue to exist and function,” said Mike Murray.

Mike Murray is the owner of Murray’s on Main in Tomah. Throughout the pandemic, he has instilled extra cleaning measures, hand sanitizer, and socially distanced seating.

“We take COVID seriously. Every employee wears the mask. We take COVID seriously!”said Murray.

The pandemic is hurting his business financially.

“A half a million dollars in sales. But those sales are what paid the lights, what paid the rent, and what paid the employees,” said Murray.

By limiting capacity to 25%, he says the financial strain will get worse.

“Money’s not bleeding, it’s hemorrhaging out of accounts,” said Murray.

Murray is upset with the exemptions the order gives to places that hold political rallies, and feels once again, the bar and restaurant industry is being singled out.

“Show me the logic behind large group gatherings acceptable, as long as it’s political, and people sitting at a restaurant or bar, completely dangerous,” said Murray.

The Monroe County Health Department put out a statement, “COVID-19 is most easily spread when people are in confined spaces within 6 feet of one another for more than 15 minutes (either in a single encounter or cumulatively), which makes controlling transmission a continuous challenge…We want our businesses to survive, we want to be able to pay our bills and we want ourselves and our loved ones to stay healthy and avoid being exposed to COVID-19.”

“COVID is dangerous to people’s lives in a health situation. Absolutely. Undoubtedly. But it’s also dangerous from a fiscal standpoint,” said Murray.

Twenty-five percent of the capacity in his restaurant is 50 customers. He said, that’s just not sustainable.

“This isn’t about me. This is about my family, my staff, the people that have helped us build to where we are,” said Murray.

Murray said he will keep supporting his staff and staying open for as long as he can, but he can only do it with the help and support of the community.

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