Independent Business Association of Wisconsin urges Evers to reopen state’s economy

Gov. Tony Evers
Gov. Tony Evers

Last updated on May 12th, 2020 at 01:52 pm

The Independent Business Association of Wisconsin today urged Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers to re-open the state’s economy, which has been largely shut down by his “Safer at Home” order since late March in an attempt to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

“After nearly two months of lock-down under Governor Evers’ ‘Safer at Home’ policy and the closing of thousands of businesses statewide leaving hundreds of thousands without jobs, the time has come for the order to be lifted,” the IBAW said in a message authorized and approved by its board of directors. “The governor’s prohibition on economic activity has cost Wisconsin business owners and its residents tens of millions of dollars in lost income. A continued lockdown will unnecessarily cause permanent harm to thousands of businesses and it will result in hundreds of millions of dollars in lost tax revenue for the state and municipalities, thus stressing school budgets and vital social services.

“Out of an abundance of caution and prudence, the IBAW membership supported efforts to protect Wisconsin citizens at a time when there was tremendous uncertainty about the potential impact of this virus on our population,” the organization said. “Thanks to the diligent work of our medical community and members of state and federal health departments, we have learned much in the many weeks since Governor Evers’ order was issued. We believe the facts very clearly support the reopening of our economy. Business owners and citizens alike are keenly aware of the measures necessary to mitigate risk for the most vulnerable among us. We urge both the governor and the state legislature to trust the citizens of Wisconsin to carefully and responsibly return to our daily activities with safeguards in place. We ask that the order be lifted immediately so that the people of Wisconsin can get our economy moving again.”

The IBAW is just the latest major business group to request Evers reopen the state’s economy.

Last week the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce announced that its board had approved a resolution calling for a phased-in “smart restart” of the state’s economy, beginning as early as this week, two weeks before Evers’ “Safer at Home” order is scheduled to expire on May 26.

Three weeks ago, Evers unveiled his “Badger Bounce Back” plan as a guide for how and when he wants to reopen the state’s economy. The website for the plan indicates that the state is in good shape on half of six criteria Evers laid out for reopening the state.

In late April, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce proposed a plan to reopen the Wisconsin economy by accounting for conditions in specific counties and a company’s industry.

Meanwhile, Evers’ “Safer at Home” order is facing a legal challenge from Republican leaders in the Legislature, which could bring it to an end before May 26. Evers recently told a Green Bay TV station he does not plan to extend “Safer at Home.”

The state Department of Health Services today reported 199 new positive COVID-19 cases the lowest single-day increase in cases in the state since April 27. DHS today reported that 6.5% of people tested for COVID-19 tested positive over the last 24 hours, a rate that has been on a steady decline since 12.7% of COVID-19 tests were positive in the state on May 1.

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Andrew Weiland
Andrew Weiland is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, Weiland is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, and son, Zachary. He is an avid sports fan and enjoys coaching his son’s youth baseball and basketball teams.

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