By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
Earlier this week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that Wisconsin was essentially open for business. And while residents in other parts of the states flocked to the bars, Milwaukee remained on hold.
Under the ruling, local officials were allowed to place limits on their municipalities. The Safer-at-Home order remained in effect in the City of Milwaukee, but Milwaukee County had to issue a new order. On Wednesday, May 13, Milwaukee County released a COVID-19 Public Local Health Plan for Suburban Milwaukee County.
According to the press release, under the order bars and restaurants in Milwaukee County are expected to remain closed and gatherings of more than nine people remain prohibited. However, county officials are also offering guidance on how small businesses can begin opening in the days to come.
Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley issued a statement concerning the order.
“I commend the public health officers representing the 19 Milwaukee County municipalities for operating with urgency to put orders in place that protect our communities,” Crowley said.
He continued, “I understand this is a time of confusion and uncertainty and it is easy to lose faith. This is why I rely on our public health officers and the data available to guide the way. I remain committed to working toward a safe re-opening based on the best information available. You can’t have a healthy economy without a healthy community. The well-being of all residents will always be my top priority.”
In a daily press briefing held on Thursday, May 14, Crowley said that the county will continue to act in the best interest of the community. He expressed his desire for businesses to reopen but said those decisions will be made with the guidance of health experts and will take time.
“This is not just us flipping a switch in order for things to back to normal,” he said.
Crowley said in the weeks to come, health officials will work with business owners to determine a plan.
He also expressed his concern over the budget. So far, Milwaukee County has spent $40 million in COVID-19 related costs and an estimated $100 million will be lost in revenue by the end of the year.
Crowley is working with the government to determine potential funding. He added that like the small business approach, things will be happening in phases.
According to the plan, restaurants and bars can continue to operate under the same guidelines as before. In other words, in-person dining is not permitted, but carry out and deliveries can continue.
Salons and spas along with public beaches can open, but they must comply with the Physical Distancing and Protective Measure requirements. Child Care Settings and Retail Establishments can also reopen, but occupancy is limited to 25% and schools will remain closed.
Physical Distancing and Protective Measure Requirements remain the same as before: six feet between people, washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, the recommended use of a face mask and so on.
According to CBS 58, these guidelines will remain in place until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, May 21.
To view the full list of guidelines, Google search “COVID-19 Public Health Plan for Suburban Milwaukee County