Open take out containers with food on a tableSome of the regular work our department does involves inspecting and licensing restaurants, hotels, motels, and body art facilities to reduce the occurrence of illness, and our sanitarians develop close working relationships with these establishments.

We recognize the effect the Safer at Home Order has had on these businesses. The Order dictated that tattoo and body piercing establishments close. While the Order allows restaurants, hotels, and motels to stay open, restaurants have been restricted to take-out and delivery and hotel/motel business has been dramatically reduced by event cancellations and a worldwide decline in travel.

The hospitality industry depends on people leaving their homes, which we are being asked not to do right now. We are doing our best to problem solve, innovate, and support businesses as they navigate these uncharted waters with us.

There are many things we are working on behind the scenes to help businesses in the best way that we can:

Licensing and Fees

  • With temporary authorization from Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, County Executive Joe Parisi, and the Board of Supervisors, we rolled back the fees associated with food and drink establishments, temporary food establishments, tattoo and body piercing, hotels and tourist rooming houses, campground and recreational campgrounds, to the 2019 rate, to provide some financial relief.
  • We are also deferring any payments due to us until December 31, 2020 with no late fees or penalties.
  • Re-inspection and pre-inspection fees have also been rolled back to 2019 rates, which remain graduated based on gross sales to maintain equity for our operators. Re-inspection fees charged after March 8, 2020 will also be waived for the remainder of the licensing year.

Promoting Businesses

  • We are promoting what businesses are doing to let people know it is okay and safe to eat takeout on social media.
  • We include a section on our website to highlight ways businesses are helping keep customers safe.


We’re also sending regular communications to licensed establishments, sharing some of the ideas that we have heard that restaurant operators are doing to try to keep their staff in paid status even though they are running at reduced capacity or are currently closed. Many of the ideas we share are from the Wisconsin Restaurants Association or actual restaurants when we asked them about what they are doing.

We want to thank the business owners and operators who are closely following the Safer at Home Order and have reached out to us for questions and resources. We will continue to research and share ways for businesses to innovate, and we will help lift up small businesses in our community, as we all work together toward incrementally re-opening after the Safer at Home Order.

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Public Health Madison & Dane County and a link back to the original post.

Category: About PHMDC