By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Aug 11, 2021 at 6:01 AM Photography: Pabst Theater Group Facebook

Several Milwaukee entertainment venues, restaurants, businesses and more teamed up today to urge Milwaukeeans to get vaccinated in order to help protect themselves and their fellow citizens in addition to helping safely bring back the city's local arts, dining and cultural scenes. 

The group of businesses includes the Pabst Theater Group, the Milwaukee Public Museum as well as the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Marcus Performing Arts Center, Milwaukee Ballet, the MSO, Shank Hall, VISIT Milwaukee and several local restaurants and bars. 

"The pandemic either completely closed or extremely limited all of our businesses for the last 18 months," said Gary Witt, Pabst Theater Group president and CEO, in a release. "The vaccine is our way back, and our voices are united as we seek to find a way to get safely back to doing the things that we all love to do – without restriction."

“People are eager to enjoy our community’s expansive cultural and entertainment offerings without restrictions. This will become a reality when more people are vaccinated against COVID-19," added Ellen Censky, president and CEO of the Milwaukee Public Museum, in the release. "As the vaccinated population increases, so does the health of our community, our economy and our ability to safely gather in our favorite public spaces."

The united call for more vaccinations comes as cases and hospitalizations continue to rise both in the state and around the nation due to the Delta variant. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services' most recent update, the state tallied 1,582 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Monday and a seven-day average of 1,101 cases – numbers not reached in Wisconsin since early February. The majority of cases, hospitalizations and deaths in this current nationwide wave is vastly made up of unvaccinated individuals

"Since March of 2020, I have watched countless restaurants close, and some never to be able to be open again. I closed my doors before Governor Evers gave the stay-at-home order. My staff and I pivoted our restaurant to takeout, and maintained a steady takeout operation until June of 2021 when we re-opened again to the public for on-premise dining. We got vaccinated because we believe in the science. We got vaccinated because we wanted to be able to safely serve the public again in person and also keep ourselves and family members who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated yet safe. We got vaccinated because we want this to END. We NOW are at risk of losing all of this again," said chef/owner A.J. Dixon of Lazy Susan, in the release. "We are at risk of having to close the doors, we are at risk of bringing the disease back home with us to the ones who are still waiting to be vaccinated. Most of all, more restaurants and my colleagues are at risk of losing it all again. WE can't go through another 2020. We did our part, now please help us end this and do your part.”

For more information on the vaccines, how they work and more, click here – and for information on finding and scheduling a vaccination, follow this link. Milwaukee, let's continue this return to normalcy we've found this spring and summer, and help protect it – and each other – into the fall and winter. We are, once again and always, in this together. 

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.