Virus fears take toll on local businesses

Shutdown orders due to Covid-19 outbreak leave taverns, restaurants reeling

BARB ROBILLARD, OWNER of Barb’s Pub and Grub in Fredonia, was disappointed after getting word on St. Patrick’s Day on Tuesday afternoon that she must close her business because of concerns related to the spread of Covid-19. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press Staff

Like the rest of Wisconsin, life in Fredonia took a dramatic turn in the last few days as worries over the Covid-19 outbreak grew.

None moreso than what happened to Barb Robillard, owner of Barb’s Pub and Grub, at about 2 p.m. Tuesday, St. Patrick’s Day.

“We just got notified we’re shutting down at 5 p.m.,” she said. “We did a lot of prep work. We were only allowed to use 50% of our seating capacity” under guidelines set by Gov. Tony Evers to keep gatherings to 50 people or less.

But Tuesday afternoon, the governor ordered that the number be lowered to 10, effectively shutting down all bars and restaurants.  

“We were going to allow just 20 people” in the bar, compared to the usual 60 she gets on St. Patrick’s Day. But now we’re shut down,” Robillard said.

“I have employees who depend on us for a living. This is going to hit us pretty hard. This is the biggest day of the year for bars.”

Robillard, who had seven patrons in the bar when word came down, said the plan was to offer curbside pickup for food, but that idea is now squashed, she said.

Gloria Finnegan, owner of Fredonia Family Restaurant, on Tuesday morning began offering take-out food but was closed for dine-in service.

“I hope that’s how we can keep it,” she said.

Officials said the Village of Fredonia will likely declare a state of emergency this week, which will make it eligible for any state or federal grants.

The village office will remain open, but officials are asking residents to only come to the hall for important business such as voting. Drop boxes are available for paying bills.

The Village Board meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 19, will take place as usual, but other village committees will only meet as needed.

The village will discontinue non-emergency visits to homes and businesses, such as for meter readings and other inspections.

Divine Savior Parish is canceling all activities, including Friday fish fries at Divine Savior School.

At the direction of the Milwaukee Archdiocese, there also will be no public Masses. Parishioners are directed to listen to or watch Mass being celebrated at St. John’s Cathedral in Milwaukee until at least Palm Sunday, April 3.

Father Gideon Buya, however, will continue to perform Masses by himself.

“Masses will still be offered but not with people there,” he said. “I will be praying for our community and families. 

“I’m offering the intentions of the community. Even though people cannot be there, we are still offering the holy sacrifice and redemptive work of Jesus.”

Funerals, weddings, baptisms will still be performed, Buya said, but attendance will be limited. No weddings are currently scheduled until June.

St. John’s Lutheran Church is canceling all activities and will make a Sunday service available online, Pastor Marshal Frisque said Tuesday.

For those who want to receive Communion, the church will hold 20-minute services for a limited number of people. Four such services will be held Sundays and three on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

“We’re trying to spread everyone out,” Frisque said.

People must pre-register for the communion services by  calling, emailing or texting the church or Frisque.

Students in the Northern Ozaukee School District were sent home last Friday with Chromebooks with plans that “there will be continued learning opportunities for all students 4K-12 through digital instruction or other educational materials,” according to a district press release.

The district campus will be closed until at least April 13.

NOSD Supt. Dave Karrels said school vans will be available “to deliver needed supplies and educational materials for our students, provide food pantry items and facilitate deliveries to our senior citizens or families in need.”

Karrels directed those in need to reach out to the district “Community Support Team” by emailing

The Random Lake Area Interfaith Food Pantry, located in Adell and which serves northern Ozaukee County, suspended normal operating hours but will continue distributing food through an ordering system that will allow people to pick up food or have it delivered.

Anyone needing food is asked to email, call (920) 447-2293 or send a private message through the pantry’s Facebook page.

The Fredonia Lions’ dinner meeting Wednesday, March 25, at 5 Pillars has also been canceled.




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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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