'A one-size-fits-all approach is unfair': Business leaders oppose 'Safer at Home' extension

Posted at 9:29 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 23:22:00-04

Gov. Tony Evers' extension of the "Safer at Home" order until May 26 has businesses across Wisconsin fearing their future.

A majority of stores in downtown Waukesha are either closed or providing limited services. Residents and business owners are at odds about whether Gov. Evers' prolonged stay-at-home order is the right choice.

Many shuttered Waukesha storefronts share signs of hope with their customers, but most nonessential businesses won't be 'returning soon' until after Memorial Day.

"I think that we should take every precaution that we can," said Karin Gerdisch.

Some support Gov. Evers' effort, which he hopes will save lives and reduce the strain on hospitals.

"I think lives are going to be a little more important to save than some money and some jobs," Tanner Pratt said.

Robert Gonzalez has owned a Mexican restaurant on E. Main St. for 25 years.

"I just don't see us making it another 30 days, and frankly, not all the banks are being helpful," he said.

Gonzalez said he's debating whether to even abide by the Safer at Home order now.

"I don't think any of us are going to stand for it," he said.

"We need to provide that safety for people of Wisconsin," Gov. Evers said Thursday. "If we don't do that, first of all, we're not going to have workers to go to work, and second of all, we're not going to have people in the state of Wisconsin that feel comfortable about spending their money."

Kurt Bauer is the president of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, representing more than 3,800 businesses across the state.

"A one-size-fits-all approach is unfair, and it just doesn't work in Wisconsin," Bauer said.

Bauer is urging the governor to start reopening nonessential businesses based on sector and region.

"Obviously, Milwaukee is hit harder than say Bayfield County or Sawyer County, and therefore, the risk profile of starting up a business in the northern part of the state versus in Milwaukee are very, very different," he said.

Republican leaders who control the state legislature said they're already looking at options to overturn the governor's order.

"We need to look at it constitutionally, legally and legislatively at this point," said Rep. Adam Neylon of Pewaukee.

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