by Benjamin Yount
Wisconsin’s largest business group is asking Gov. Tony Evers for a plan to reopen the state.
Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce sent a letter to the governor asking him what comes next after his Safer at Home order ends April 24.
“To be clear, no one expects that our economy would go back to ‘business as usual’ on April 24,” WMC’s letter said. “We understand that reopening will require a very strategic and well-planned approach that, over time, phases our economy back to an operational level that existed prior to any social distancing requirements.”
WMC’s Kurt Bauer said businesses in the state need certainty, and need some time to plan.
“Restarting our economy will not happen overnight, and it likely will not be all at once,” WMC President & CEO Kurt Bauer said. “That is why the business community and Gov. Evers need to work together on a plan that determines what industries and what areas of Wisconsin can open safely, along with a timeline.”
Evers has not said what he will do about his Safer at Home order.
On Friday, Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm said “the science” will determine when the state will reopen.
“Absent a vaccine, or other medical intervention, we are going to continue to have to manage this epidemic,” Palm said. “And considering where we are in the stage of clinical trials, that is at least six months away.”
Whenever the state re-opens, the WMC letter says businesses need a heads-up.
“Many businesses simply cannot restart their operations on short notice,” the letter states. “Employers must have lead time to recall furloughed employees back to work, make new hires to replace lost employees, restock supplies and raw materials, reengage their supply and distribution chains, and find a means to recapitalize their businesses to accomplish these steps.”
The WMC suggests a gradual and geographic restart.
“Wisconsin businesses fully recognize that as businesses begin to reopen, there will be a need to maintain some level of social distancing requirements, and perhaps other steps to mitigate person-to-person spread that might involve the use of masks, gloves or other personal protective equipment,” the WMC wrote. “We also understand that the approach to reopening businesses may involve a more targeted geographic approach which recognizes that different parts of the state are having a very different experience in terms of transmission and infection rates.”
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An industry veteran with two decades of experience in media, Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square.