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Emergency order allows expanded opportunities for some nonessential businesses

Posted at 5:37 PM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 18:37:18-04

MILWAUKEE — Wednesday marked a big day for many nonessential businesses in Wisconsin.

Emergency Order #34 allowed for certain types of businesses to reopen with several restrictions encouraging social distancing. The emergency order was signed Monday.

The Emergency Order will allow nonessential businesses to do curbside drop-off of goods and animals. All of the businesses will operate free of contact with customers.

This order means that every business across our state can do things like deliveries, mailings, curbside pick-up, and drop off," said Governor Tony Evers. "It's an important step in making sure that while folks are staying safer at home, they can also continue to support small businesses across our state."

Dog groomers, upholstery businesses, automatic car washes, small engine repair shops, and outdoor recreational rentals can now reopen under new restrictions. Those restrictions include making transactions online or by phone only.

"There's things that the vets are too overwhelmed to do, but we can do," said Sarah Saffold, assistant manager of Central Bark on Milwaukee's East Side.

Her store was allowed to reopen its grooming operation Wednesday.

"I think it was Louie the Doodle. Got a full shave-down and his mo-hawk," Saffold said, recounting her first grooming since the restriction was lifted.

Before that, she says they've been inundated with calls from potential customers looking for grooming services.

"It's been difficult to get the phone calls of everyone. 'Can I come in? I need some help,' and we're not able to," Saffold said.

Mary Kilpatrick of Community Bark said she is waiting to open her business until Friday as she prepares cleaning, schedules, and other business work.

"Once they step outside [the vestibule], our staff person will come out and get the dog," Kilpatrick said as she explained how customer interaction would work with the new rule.

Other businesses told TMJ4 News they're happy about the partial openings over the phone.

"I can cry right now just thinking about it. The day we chose to close was one of the hardest days we had as a business owner," Kilpatrick said.

Order #34 builds upon another loosening of business restrictions during the pandemic.

Last week:

  • Golf courses were opened.
  • All businesses are allowed to offer curbside pick-up, allowing customers to purchase goods online or over the phone from a local store;
  • Construction businesses can do aesthetic or optional construction work so long as a single person performs it;
  • Public libraries can provide curbside pick-up of books and other library materials;
  • Arts and crafts stores can offer expanded curbside pick-up of documents necessary to make face masks; and
  • Landscaping businesses can do aesthetic or optional lawn care so long as a single employee does it.

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