Wisconsin Public Radio

Businesses Prepare for Possible Re-Opening

State hangs in the balance while Supreme Court deliberates Safer-At-Home order.

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - May 8th, 2020 11:02 am
Closed. Photo by Alan Levine. (CC BY 2.0). https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Closed. Photo by Alan Levine. (CC BY 2.0).

Wisconsin businesses have been preparing how to reopen in a way that will reassure customers and prevent the spread of a disease that has killed 374 people as of Thursday afternoon.

A number of businesses not already open have been signaling how they might resume operations.

The Wisconsin Restaurant Association told lawmakers recently it has been circulating a voluntary plan that requires staff to pass health checks before their shifts, requires tables and chairs to be sanitized after each use and requires indoor seating to comply with “appropriate” social distancing guidelines.

The Tavern League of Wisconsin put a statement on its website noting “many states” have already opened up bars and restaurants. It has a list of suggested recommendations for bars to follow including table spacing and requiring employees to wear masks and gloves.

“This will provide an opportunity for the doors to open, get some people to walk in, sit down and spend some money. And that’s our goal,” said the Tavern League’s lobbyist Pete Madland in a telephone interview Thursday.

Wisconsin has not met all the criteria state health officials say are necessary to get commerce and recreation back on track while COVID-19 continues to circulate in the state.

But a ruling on Gov. Tony Evers’ administration’s “Safer at Home” order by the state Supreme Court could make the administration’s gradual transition plan to reopen the state moot. That plan is referred to as the “Badger Bounce Back” plan and includes a number of metrics the state has to meet before easing up on social distancing requirements.

State health officials are working on guidelines to help businesses operate safely during the pandemic to avoid the further spread of COVID-19.

During a government meeting Thursday morning, it was noted that unlike health care providers, many businesses don’t have experience on how to best contain infectious diseases in the workplace, especially an outbreak where many of the facts are still developing.

“We’re kind of entering a new world, the evidence is evolving,” Dr. Jon Meiman from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services told fellow members of the State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee.

State health officials are reviewing employer guidance from federal agencies and are also looking at what other states are doing as they come up with guidelines for workplaces.

Listen to the WPR report here.

Wisconsin Businesses Plan For Possible Reopening Amid Uncertainty was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

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