Wisconsin Public Radio

MMAC Wants State to Start Reopening Next Week

The group supported Evers original stay at home order that ended April 24.

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - May 7th, 2020 10:20 am
Monroe Building, home of the MMAC. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Monroe Building, home of the MMAC. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

With Wisconsin’s stay-at-home order extended until Tuesday, May 26, a Milwaukee business group wants Gov. Tony Evers to start his first phase of reopening the state next week.

The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) presented its “Smart Restart” resolution Tuesday during their weekly podcast calling for a phased restart of Wisconsin’s economy as soon as Monday.

The MMAC Board of Directors unanimously approved the resolution Friday. The board includes 70 CEOs representing multiple companies and many board members are health care leaders in Milwaukee, MMAC president Tim Sheehy told WPR.

“While we’ve flattened the curve, we are going to have to live and work with COVID-19 for the near-term future,” Sheehy said. “And so it’s really critical that employers put in place best practices to take care of their employees and customers.”

MMAC supported the Evers administration’s first stay-at-home order that ended April 24. The group believed then, based on concerns by their health care leaders, that the order was necessary to flatten the curve of COVID-19 in Wisconsin.

The board now believes it’s time to safely reopen the economy by accelerating Evers’ “Badger Bounce Back” plan without putting the state’s health care system in jeopardy. The plan is supposed to start its first phase when Wisconsin sees a 14-day period of reductions in new infections and a 14-day decline in positive COVID-19 tests as a percentage of total tests.

Sheehy said MMAC believes a good indicator to determine when to reopen is the declining number of deaths and the declining number of hospitalizations in the state.

“Ultimately, consumer competence and employee safety concerns will set the pace for how quickly businesses will open and the economy comes back on,” Sheehy said. “Those will be better measures than a continued focus on ‘Safer at Home.'”

Another business in Madison is planning to reopen Monday despite the stay-at-home order still being in effect.

Monroe Street Family Dental in Madison announced Tuesday it would be expanding its services Monday to provide limited preventative dental care.

“Even at the start (of the order) we remained open, but we modified the services that we provided largely on guidance that came from the American Dental Association and the CDC,” said Dr. Benjamin Farrow, a dentist at Monroe Street Family Dental.

The dentist office sent out an email to patients letting them know the precautions the office is taking, such as COVID-19 symptom screenings, taking temperatures, face mask requirements, and implementing a pre-procedure antimicrobial mouth rinse.

In addition to the precautions, the office won’t be performing any procedures that carry the risk of creating aerosols, Farrow said, because there is concern the virus can spread through dental procedures that produce aerosols.

“I feel like the decisions that we make are based on what’s right for the patient and what’s right for the team,” Farrow said. “What I really appreciate about the ‘Safer at Home’ order, particularly the extension, is that there is excellent guidance in it that helps clarify what are our responsibilities are as we operate.”

The office said in the email it’s committed to fostering a happy and healthy environment and believes preventative dental care is essential to residents’ health.

On Wednesday, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said he’d like to see the state shift to regional restrictions regarding COVID-19. He also said he supports including more specific phases for restaurants reopening, including guidelines for when they could offer outdoor seating and benchmarks for reaching different percentages of indoor capacity.

Listen to the WPR report here.

Milwaukee Business Group Wants To Begin Opening State Next Week was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

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