With the highly-contagious COVID-19 Omicron variant on the rise, at least one Milwaukee restaurant is taking extra measures to mitigate the risk of exposure.
Odd Duck in Bay View announced Sunday that diners must be fully vaccinated and wear masks when not seated and actively dining. The restaurant is requiring all patrons over 18 to show proof of vaccination and photo ID at the door. A vaccine requirement for staff is already in place.
In addition, diners are now required to make reservations for seating in both the dining room and at the bar, in an effort to "control the flow of guests coming into the restaurant," wrote Odd Duck owners Ross Bachhuber and Melissa Buchholz in a Facebookpost. "Each day we will evaluate staff health and release further reservations accordingly."
The announcement came with a disclaimer: "To be clear, we completely respect your decision to take your business elsewhere if you disagree. We are not looking to argue, simply to inform you of our policies." Comments on the post were disabled.
Odd Duck will reopen for service on Jan. 5, after temporarily closing late last month. The restaurant said over social media that it had enough staff to function but it was too risky to remain open amid the post-holiday COVID-19 case surge.
Government-imposed vaccine mandates for indoor public spaces have become standard in major cities like Chicago, New York, Boston, Seattle and Washington D.C. In Milwaukee, most performing arts organizations, including The Pabst Theater Group and Summerfest, began requiring proof of vaccine or negative COVID-19 in September.
But Odd Duck is currently one of only a few restaurants in Milwaukee with a vaccine requirement for patrons.
Bounce Milwaukee, which is an amusement park and bar-restaurant in Bay View issued a vaccine mandate in August, prior to reopening its doors. It has already issued a vaccine mandate for its employees. Wy'east Pizza in Milwaukee's Washington Heights neighborhood also requires patrons 12 and older to show proof of vaccine before being seated.