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Gov. Evers: Standalone, strip-mall based retail stores and drive-in theaters can reopen -- with restrictions

Gov. Evers: Standalone, strip-mall based retail stores and drive-in theaters can reopen -- with restrictions

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Updated: 4:52 p.m. on May 11, 2020

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – Thousands of retail stores can immediately reopen under strict guidelines and limits thanks to an updated order from the Evers administration, a lifeline for a state economy in need of one.

The update “turns the dial” to allow standalone and strip mall-type retail stores to open and only have five customers inside the business at a time. Stores must establish lines outside the entrance to manage the number of customers inside the business. Social distancing guidelines inside the store are still required, but while face coverings like masks or scarves are strongly encouraged, they are not required.

The order does not allow retail stores inside of enclosed mall buildings to open since they rely on entrances beyond their own and the indoor part of the mall may attract people to congregate in large numbers and raise the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

In addition to retail stores, the order also allows drive-in movie theaters to operate with some limits.

During a media briefing Monday, Governor Evers said he relied on data to inform this decision, specifically the progress on trendlines regarding the spread of the virus.

“It bounces up and down seemingly every day but it’s headed in the right direction,” Evers said. “That’s what we used to make this determination and I would say going forward as it relates to any other changes for dialing things down would be a continued trend in that direction.”

Evers added that Monday’s order update is focused on smaller, main street-type businesses.

“All along we’re trying to mitigate the transmission of the disease and one of the ways to do that is to start small,” Evers said.

WEDC CEO & Secretary-designee Missy Hughes said the order would allow some 14,000 businesses to reopen and approximately 90,000 Wisconsinites to return to work.

Republican leaders who control the Legislature shared a tepid response to the order.

“Hopefully this is just the beginning,” Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R – Juneau) wrote in a tweet. “More small businesses are still struggling. Over half a million Wisconsinites are out of a job. We can balance public health with economic health. Let’s get Wisconsin open for business again.”

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos echoed that sentiment in a statement saying, “with more testing, we’re seeing a smaller percentage of positive cases. This shutdown has put half a million people out of work. It’s time to get everyone back to work in every part of the state,” Vos said.

The order update is still tied to the overall Safer at Home order extension which is set to expire on May 26. However, that could end sooner as the state Supreme Court still considers the lawsuit brought on by the GOP challenging the legality of the order extension. The court heard oral arguments on May 5 but has yet to issue a decision to either uphold the order extension or strike it down.

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Posted: 12:30 p.m. on May 11, 2020

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Gov. Tony Evers announced Monday, May 11, another turn of the dial on "Safer at Home" to add even more opportunities for Wisconsin businesses to get back to work in a safe and responsible way.

Emergency Order #36, signed today by Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, allows all standalone or strip-mall based retail stores to offer in-person shopping for up to five customers at a time while maintaining required social distancing practices. Additionally, the Emergency Order signed today allows drive-in theaters to operate with some restrictions. All businesses must continue to follow all safety precautions and guidelines as outlined in the Safer at Home order. 

"In addition to added flexibilities and steps we have already taken for businesses, this is another disciplined turn of the dial that will allow Wisconsin's business owners to safely get back to work and Wisconsin consumers to support their favorite local spots," said Gov. Evers. "Both customers and workers need to be confident in their safety, so we need everyone to be diligent in following best safety practices so we can continue to move our state forward while keeping our neighbors, families, and communities safe and healthy." 

Monday's order builds upon the Safer at Home order and the last turn of the dial through Emergency Order #34, which together allowed golf courses to operate, aesthetic and optional lawn and construction services provided by a single employee, curbside pick-up for public libraries, and every business to provide deliveries, mailings, and curbside pick-up and drop-off services.

Emergency Order #36 is available below and goes into effect immediately. 

In addition to the requirements outlined above, all essential and nonessential businesses must review and consider the Wisconsin Department of Economic Development guidelines on safe business practices, available here.

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17 Comments

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ThomasAlanEdwards 20 days ago
I dunno, but Evers' hair never seems to grow. Either he's wearing a toupe or he's getting his hair cut...
Bassgeye 20 days ago
There is no science in this at all. 5 people in a store. really? Where did he pull that number out of, a hat? If I have a 5,000 sq ft store, 5 people, if I have a 500sq ft store 5 people? This man is insane or a dribbling idiot.
Ruth Bassgeye 20 days ago
Five fingers on one hand and he uses the other hand to tick off the fingers as he counts. When he tries to switch to the other hand to count higher, he loses his place. It's soooooo haaarrrddd being Governor! We just don't get it!
Kevin Ruth 19 days ago
Nothing this governor does will matter to right-wing nut jobs like Ruth and BS Guy anyway so why bother posting. We get it - you dont understand this governor because he uses facts and logic and puts people's health above the almight dollar. He listens to medical and health professionals and sometimes makes unpopular decisions to save lives. We know you just don't get it.
Lawrence 20 days ago
Good next step. Give it a couple weeks to watch infection rates and if numbers are good, take the next step.
Ruth Lawrence 20 days ago
Dear Leader thanks you for your continued support.
Cindy 21 days ago
No one has even thought about this and that is very scary. OPEN UP AMERICA???? I'm all for it. YES. Get America back to work. BUT, there is something you never even thought of. That.....is what is scary. But we know why Gov. Officials never thought about it is because they haven't had to worry about it because they all have someone else to handle this.

1) I've read the guidelines to open businesses back up.
2) What is your plan when this fails?
3) What is your plan to prevent failure?

I have been working through all of this since the onset. Yes, very fortunate as an "ESSENTIAL SERVICE PROVIDER". Back in February and early March when businesses were closing, schools were closing and on and on. We got concerned and tried to order supplies through our Office Supplier. We ordered disinfectant sprays, wipes, hand sanitizers and anti-bacterial products. We tried to order this stuff with many other places that were remaining open. We were told "NOPE. They have nothing left with no ETA on when they will have these items”. That was in Feb-March. So, we realized we were on our own. Then the hunt ensued. The supply for this stuff has not come close to the demand. So, during these last 2 months, a few of us have been on the hunt for something......anything for us to use. Even IF we can find anything, the stores will not let you purchase more than 1 item (which I am sure you've all run into that). I even took my ESSENTIAL SERVICE DOCUMENT into a Walmart in Waukesha County and asked the Manager if I could please purchase even 2 items. All of this is for work and not myself. The Manager said to me verbatim: "Read the sign.....If you can read....It says 1 item per person". And walked away. The lack of supplies is still going on. Now Clorox has stated it may be until mid-summer before they can even start to get caught up. Read the guidelines for the state for a safe re-opening. I live in Waukesha County all the miles and chasing around and time spent trying to find this stuff has been huge. Which is fine but if the Federal, State and Local Governments want to open back up America, they better find a solution to the shortage of supplies because another panic is just a week away. The demand is 90% while the supplies are at 10%. How can everyone open back up, adhere to the guidelines and keep employees, customers and the public safe???? THEY CAN'T. THERE ISN'T ENOUGH OF THESE PRODUCTS TO DO THIS SAFELY. NO ONE HOLDING A GOVERNMENT POSITION HAS THOUGHT OF THIS!!! They get this stuff delivered to their homes and offices by the truckload and have someone else to do the cleaning and sanitizing of their offices and homes.
GOOD LUCK EVERYONE. THE CHAOS AND PANIC IS ABOUT TO START...........AGAIN!! Take it from someone that has been up against this for the company I work for since the beginning. 1 item per purchase isn't enough for a company with 3 warehouses and a staff of 75.
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goodorbad Cindy 20 days ago
Hi Cindy-I hear you. Factory deemed essential-we make nothing related to life saving or COVID-19-and we FINALLY got hand sanitizer in last week Had been waiting since Feb. 15. Smells horrid, off brand, but hey better than nothing. A custodian is making a bleach/water sanitizer for mice, keyboards, common touched areas. The problem-what I've been told-is key ingredients to make disinfectant spray etc are unavailable and have to be made or purchased from another country-guess who it is?! We have EPA rules in USA so a lot of chemical items, OTC and prescription drugs are made in countries with no or very lax EPA rules. So we can get cancer making the stuff to keep us from getting a deadly disease. Awful catch 22
factsmatter Ruth 20 days ago
Ah yes, another "genius" conservative Trumper who knows everything because Fox and Trump told them so, but sadly is allergic to real actual facts vs posting inaccuracies, outright lies and misleading conclusions. Ironic that you accuse me of not thinking for myself and analyzing data when Bassgeye posted tripe and you post nothing but insults.
Kevin factsmatter 19 days ago
dont bother with facts - BS Guy doesnt understand them or just claims they are lies ... u are wasting your time
Kevin Ruth 19 days ago
well i can analyze that Evers approval rating is 64% and Trumps is 41%
Ruth 21 days ago
WOW! All 5 drive-in theaters in Wisconsin can now open. That'll save our economy!
goodorbad Ruth 20 days ago
I was wondering how many we had. Ahh the good old days.
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