Stadium District bar owner says industry is unfairly targeted; Brown County Tavern League urges local bars are safe

Ahead of Sunday’s NFC Championship Game, the Brown County Tavern League is calling on patrons to be respectful of Covid-19 protocols
Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 4:53 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A bar owner near Lambeau Field says his industry is being unfairly targeted during this pandemic for spreading the novel coronavirus, and he won’t stop people from coming into his place on Sunday.

The message from Kevin Burkel, owner of Burkel’s One Block Over, arrived on the same day the Brown County Tavern League is letting the community know that bars will be a safe place to watch the NFC Championship Game between the Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

An open letter for our members, and the community.

Posted by Brown County Tavern League on Thursday, January 21, 2021

“They let us rot for 10 months, 11 months now. I got to do what I got to do to keep my business open,” Burkel said. “If I got to put customers into seats, I got to put customers into seats. If they choose to come in that’s their choice.”

Don Mjelde owns Richard Craniums along Broadway and serves as president of the Brown County Tavern League, which represents 180 establishments.

Mjelde said he personally understands the pain the pandemic has inflicted on restaurants and bars.

“For a lot of us, business isn’t great. I mean, we’ve been coexisting with this for eight months but it’s not the same business as what we’ve seen, and we’re just trying to stay open to pay our bills,” Mjelde said, “so we’re looking forward to a weekend where we can entertain.”

A combination of COVID-19 fatigue and the Green Bay Packers making a successful run in the playoffs has bars seeing an increase in foot traffic, according to the Brown County Tavern League.

“We want to let the community know that we’ve been working with the health department, law enforcement, and municipal leaders to make sure that everything is being handled as safely and responsibly as possible,” Mjelde said.

This past weekend, bars and restaurants in the Stadium District were criticized for being packed with patrons.

Stadium View Sports Bar and Grill posted on its Facebook page that it’ll be more vigilant on Sunday.

Burkel of Burkel’s One Block Over is upset by the severe economic hit his bar has taken. He told Action 2 News he’s tired of the finger pointing being directed towards businesses like his for spreading the coronavirus.

Burkel added he will not stop people from coming into his business on Sunday but protocols will be in place.

“We have to figure out a way to keep our doors open that’s the bottom line. If they want to shut us down, shut us down and send us a check every month for our loss of revenue,” Burkel said.

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