Facing mounting pressure from Republican lawmakers and anti-lockdown protestors, Gov. Tony Evers unveiled a plan to reopen businesses across Wisconsin Tuesday.
The Badger Bounce Back emergency order provided guidelines for the state to ease its way back to normal levels of economic activity.
The plan takes a three-step approach to reopening Wisconsin with phase one permitting gatherings of up to ten people, allowing restaurants to open so long as social distancing procedures are followed, removing retail restrictions for essential businesses and allowing K-12 schools to resume in-person classes.
Phase two permits gatherings of 50 people, allows non-essential businesses to operate with social distancing measures in place and allows colleges and universities to reopen their campuses. Phase three allows normal business and social activities to resume with limited protective measures in place for vulnerable populations.
Evers also outlined the criteria he deemed necessary to begin easing into phase one of the Badger Bounce Back plan. To move forward, Evers said Wisconsin must expand testing and tracking for COVID-19, experience at least a 14-day decline in the number of newly announced cases and show a clear drop in the number of healthcare workers infected with COVID-19.
Evers’ plan bears similarities to the White House’s guidelines for reopening the United States’ economy released by President Donald Trump earlier this month, including a two-week long dip in the number of new confirmed cases.
“We’re starting to see Wisconsin flattening the curve, which means Safer at Home is working,” Evers said.
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In addition to releasing the Badger Bounce Back plan, Wisconsin is set to work with the Mid-America Association of State Transportation Officers, a collaborative effort spanning across nine Midwestern states, in efforts to expand the supply chain and transportation of resources across the region.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, MAASTO is working to permit overweight freight shipments, increase the number of licensed commercial drivers and reduce exposure of citizens to vehicle service centers, such as each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
According to the Wisconsin State Journal, in spite of increased efforts to reopen Wisconsin’s economy, Evers said he will not move into the first phase of the Badger Bounce Back plan until all the criteria to do so are met.
“[if] We reach these goals, these metrics that frankly are important for us as a nation, as a state, and if we meet those goals we will proceed into phase one and phase two,” Evers said. “There’s no timeline.”