Wisconsin residents try to balance going out, staying safe in open counties

Posted at 10:31 PM, May 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-16 23:31:27-04

People in several cities and counties throughout southeast Wisconsin are experiencing their first weekend without a Safer at Home order, and many are trying to figure out how to balance going out and staying safe.

Ozaukee County is one of the counties without a local Safer at Home order. As of Saturday, Wisconsin Department of Health Services data shows the county has 120 cases and 11 deaths.

In Cedarburg, plenty of people went to get food at Wayne's Drive-In, and they stayed to eat at the picnic tables under the tent. Owner Steve Michalica says he spaced out the tables in hopes people will maintain social distancing.

"I leave that up to them," said Michalica. "If they're comfortable with it, you know, again, we spaced the tables so that they don't have to do that if they don't want to do that."

Meanwhile, other people headed out to shop and eat in downtown Cedarburg. Some businesses limited the number of people inside and some required customers wear masks.

Connie Masters owns Itty Bitty Piggies and allowed people inside her store for the first time today with masks.

"We're asking people not to touch things," Masters said.

The open economy attracted people from out of state, even though the Centers for Disease Control recommends avoiding all non-essential travel.

"I don't see why this can't be going on nationwide," said Tim Brietles, of Michigan.

Despite these new freedoms, not everyone chose to go out.

Just down the road, Roger and Kathy Behling celebrated their 50th anniversary.

"We did have a party planned for down at the Legion down the block here for 100 people but then this came up," Kathy said.

Their children threw them a party with a few friends and family—as long as they stayed 6-feet apart.

"We told people on the postcard too if they stop over be respectful, stand in the driveway, have a celebratory drink, and be on their way," said Jenny Bublitz, the Behling's daughter.

The Supreme Court decision to lift the statewide Safer at Home order could not change their minds.

"We love our bars, but we won’t go to them," Kathy said.

The Behlings still plan to have a party on Nov. 7, if that's allowed.

Coronavirus in Wisconsin

More data on Wisconsin's vaccination progress here.

Find a vaccination site here.

Check out county-by-county coronavirus case numbers here.

More information: COVID-19 on the Wisconsin DHS website

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