Yesterday, Governor Evers issued Emergency Order #28. Under the order, “Stay at Home” requirements are extended from April 24 until May 26. Many rules from the existing “Stay at Home” order stay the same under the new order.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a serious issue and deserves a serious response. Tragically, this virus has claimed more than 200 lives in Wisconsin.
However, Wisconsin citizens also deserve better than a “one-size-fits-all” response that treats every part of the state the same. Many counties in Wisconsin have few active cases, some counties have no active cases.
The first Stay at Home order was intended to flatten the curve. In barely a week, there was a fivefold increase in new cases. However, the most recent data shows that the curve has flattened over the past 2+ weeks, and may even be declining. One model even suggests that the healthcare capacity peak may be behind us.
Since yesterday, my office has received hundreds of calls and e-mails opposed to the extension of this order. Small business owners are worried about losing their life savings. Families are worried about how they are going to pay their bills.
We cannot continue to pretend that the Stay at Home order isn’t having lasting impacts on the health and safety of Wisconsin families as the economy tanks and unemployment skyrockets. This is about more than just missed birthdays and church fellowship. The social impacts will result in more isolation, more alcohol abuse, more depression and even more suicides.
This administration has overstepped its authority. The Governor and Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm have emergency powers during a public health emergency, but they do not last in perpetuity. As a result, the Legislature is preparing a lawsuit to overturn this latest power grab.
In addition, the Legislature has been developing a plan to reopen Wisconsin by working with experts from the business and healthcare communities. This will allow businesses to begin to open using CDC guidelines such as social distancing, frequent hand-washing, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces. This plan was designed to coincide with the end of the Stay at Home order on April 24. Therefore, the plan will be finalized next week.
Have a great weekend,