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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers issued an emergency order Monday that allows all standalone or strip mall-based retail stores to reopen with tight limits, in what Evers called the latest “turn of the dial” on efforts to reopen Wisconsin businesses shuttered by his Safer at Home order to slow the spread of coronavirus.
No more than five people may shop at a time, and social distancing must be practiced at stores reopening under Evers’ order. The Democrat acknowledged that larger stores, such as Kohl’s, may not find it feasible to reopen, Mitchell Schmidt reported for the Wisconsin State Journal.
Drive-in theaters may also reopen with restrictions.
Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos panned the order in a statement that appeared to significantly shift the position he staked out last week on how to manage the economy during the pandemic. Vos called the order “confusing,” insisting that conditions had improved enough that “It’s time to get everyone back to work in every part of the state.”
The call for an immediate statewide reopening of businesses came just four days after GOP Assembly leaders held a news conference calling for a regionally based reopening, with parts of the state handling fewer COVID-19 cases opening businesses more quickly first. Vos also pushed the regional reopening message during a May 6 Wisconsin Health News webinar.
Asked Monday whether Vos was ditching his call for a regional approach in favor of a swift statewide reopening, Vos spokeswoman Kit Beyer did not directly answer.
“The curve has flattened. Our health care systems are meeting the needs and now underutilized. Enough progress has been made that it makes sense to begin reopening businesses safely around the state,” she wrote in an email to Wisconsin Watch. “Speaker Vos is frankly fed up with the random orders. He still wants to work with the governor to reopen the state, but there needs to be consistency.”
Republican legislative leaders have yet to offer a detailed plan to counter Evers’ Badger Bounce Back plan, and they are suing to overturn the governor’s Safer at Home order extension, which ends May 26.
“We shouldn’t have a Republican plan or a governor’s plan, we need a Wisconsin plan that the entire state can get behind,” Vos said in a statement earlier this month.
Retailers allowed to reopen with no more than 5 customers at a time under new order —Wisconsin State Journal
As COVID-19 spreads, so do conspiracy theories. A Wisconsin professor teaches ways to confront them. — The Cap Times/Wisconsin Watch
As grim stories emerge from long-term care centers, one took steps to halt coronavirus and keep everyone safe — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Coordinating or going rogue on COVID-19: How is your state responding? — Lee Enterprises Midwest
Some blame meatpacking workers, not plants, for COVID-19 coronavirus spread — Associated Press
While concerns remain about reaching people of color, Wisconsin’s free coronavirus testing is for everyone — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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