Groups representing thousands of employers and millions of workers call on lawmakers to safely reopen Wisconsin’s economy
MADISON – Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) – the combined state chamber, state manufacturers’ association and safety council – along with dozens of trade associations and local chambers sent a letter to legislators and Gov. Tony Evers calling on them to support the Back to Business plan.
The letter outlines the economic devastation that has occurred under Wisconsin’s Safer at Home order. According to the latest data, nearly half a million people have lost their jobs and a record-breaking one in five workers have filed for unemployment.
If the Safer at Home order continues, the economy’s downward spiral could continue indefinitely as more than a third of businesses said they would never reopen in a recent Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation survey.
These catastrophic economic trends are why nearly 80 business associations and local chambers of commerce as asking the legislature and Gov. Evers to adopt WMC’s Back to Business plan, which calls for a safe and strategic reopening of the state’s economy.
In part, the letter reads:
We recognize there is a measure of risk associated with reopening businesses, but we believe that risk can be managed and mitigated. The Back to Business plan does exactly that. The plan assigns risks for every business in Wisconsin according to four factors: (1) the infection rate for each business’s county, (2) the population density for each business’s county, (3) the risk of transmission associated with each type of business, and (4) the capacity of local hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients.
Based upon its individual risk score (minimal, moderate, or substantial), each business would be required to implement mitigation steps to ensure that employees and customers are protected from virus spread. The higher the risk score, the more protective measures businesses will be required to undertake. The mitigation requirements are also customizable to reflect unique circumstances associated with specific industries. For example, customized mitigation requirements would be used for businesses in the hospitality industry, like restaurants, bars and lodging.
The risk scores and mitigation requirements are based upon CDC and OSHA recommendations, and also include input from public health professionals. Because the plan relies on real-time data for infection rates and hospital capacity, it allows for responsive mitigation tactics. If infection rates increase in a localized area, risk scores for businesses will correspondingly increase, and businesses in that area will be required to take more aggressive mitigation steps to prevent the spread.
The letter was sent to legislators and Gov. Evers on the same day the Assembly Committee on State Affairs was scheduled to hold a public hearing on WMC’s Back to Business plan.
“We respectfully request your support for enactment of this important plan into law, and allow businesses and workers to begin earning a living again as soon as possible,” the letter concludes.
For more information about the Back to Business plan, please visit www.wmc.org/backtobusiness.
Here is a link to a map showing the chambers of commerce that are supporting the plan.