MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee has entered a new phase of reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic, phase 4.1. The biggest difference in this new phase is the requirement for safety plans. Schools and businesses now need them if they either want to open or stay open.
Under phase 4, schools were not allowed to be open. Now, under phase 4.1, schools can open to in-person learning if they submit a COVID-19 safety plan and it is approved.
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“It’s certainly a step in the right direction. There are some details to work out, but we’ve like the progress we’ve made,” said Jim Bender, president of School Choice of Wisconsin.
Bender heads the non-profit that works with private schools. He is currently helping 125 just in Milwaukee.
“Virtually all of them inquired about in-person learning going on. There are a number of individual schools and systems that invested a great deal of money in order to do that,” said Bender.
Submitting a COVID-19 safety plan is also the key to staying open for other businesses like bars and restaurants.
Under the older plan, they could be open at 50-percent capacity. Now, bars and restaurants can only stay open at 50-percent if their safety plans are approved by the Milwaukee Health Department. The mayor says that will be key to keeping COVID-19 numbers down.
“We are making these decisions based on a collective reading and if people are working with us and doing what they can to reduce the spread of the disease. That’s what’s going to be more powerful than anything,” said Mayor Tom Barrett.
Bars and restaurants have until September 15th to submit a safety plan or they will be forced to close.
School Choice of Wisconsin says private schools are still waiting for more guidance from the health department so they can submit plans. Milwaukee Public Schools has already said it will start virtually in the fall not in-person.