Ald. Khalif Rainey
Press Release

Time to turn out the lights on businesses not following the COVID-19 Stay-at-Home order

Statement of Alderman Khalif J. Rainey March 30, 2020

By - Mar 30th, 2020 12:44 pm

Last week the Mayor of Los Angeles issued an order to have water and power shut off to non-essential businesses that were staying open despite government emergency orders that they be closed.

Today I have asked Milwaukee Health Department Commissioner Dr. Jeanette Kowalik to include this same directive as part of her stay-at-home order for the City of Milwaukee. I have asked Commissioner Kowalik to create a process whereby non-essential businesses that have been ignoring the order to close will be served first with a notice that warns of the power and water shut-off.

Those that refuse to close will then have all power and water service turned off until further notice.

I find it incredibly selfish and reckless for any non-essential business to continue to operate during the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency. The north side and the 7th District are at the epicenter of the city’s COVID-19 outbreak, and by (population) percentage of virus spread, Milwaukee is unfortunately in the top eight in the nation, and numerous individuals from Milwaukee have already died of the disease. A non-essential business that stays open could be the source (unwittingly) of hundreds of new COVID-19 infections, and who knows how many possible deaths.

As a city we need to do everything we can and use every tool at our disposal to stop the spread of the virus, and I believe shutting off the lights and the water to scofflaw businesses is one key option Milwaukee must pursue.

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2 thoughts on “Time to turn out the lights on businesses not following the COVID-19 Stay-at-Home order”

  1. KFG says:

    I agree with the Alderman. Until everyone complies, we are all at risk.

  2. Trmott says:

    First, let me say to Jeramey that your excellent (and prodigious) efforts in keeping readers abreast of community developments re: Covid-19 are laudable. . However things turn out, and whether it is intentional or not, you are writing the source material for an important chapter in Milwaukee’s history book. Thank you.

    On this particular topic, “Turn out the lights on…” my initial reaction was to dismiss it. And I still DO think that the Mayor’s opinion was right. That is, try using persuasion. Question: I wonder how many of these instances (cases} there are; anyone know?

    After thinking on it, it seems to me this might not be an either/or matter. If persuasion doesn’t result in the closing of an arguably non-essential business, perhaps because it falls into a “gray area” the City could give that business some rules of operation. For example: No more than X-number of inside at any time; 6-foot distances required among customers and between customers and staff; no sneezing or coughing on site; maybe suggest in writing that patrons and staff members wear a mask or other covering like a scarf over nose and mouth. Finally, if the management is not willing to operate within those parameters, THEN tell them the water and/or power will be turned off as of a specific date — allowing a short time to take care of product and administrative things prior to the closing.

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