(The Center Square) – Wisconsin’s governor has a bounce back plan that he says will allow restaurants to open, then bars, then every business in the state. But no one is guessing when that will happen or even just what it will take. 

Gov. Tony Evers on Monday released his Badger Bounce back plan. It is a three phase “turning of the dial” to reopen Wisconsin’s economy. 

“We have to do everything that we can to reopen our state, as soon as we safely and responsibly can,” Evers told reporters. “Recognizing that we will not get back to normal until we have a vaccine.”

Evers, as he has since he first issued his Safer at Home order, said he doesn’t know when they may be. 

“The virus has never given us a timeline,” Evers said. 

The governor’s Badger Bounce back does have a generic timeline. The state can reopen after 14 days of fewer cases and fewer deaths. But there also must be more testing, more contact tracing, and more tracking. 

“The ultimate goal is 85,000 tests per week or approximately 12,000 tests per day,” the Badger Bounce Back order reads. The order also sets out the goals to:

  • Increase contact tracing by up to 1,000 people and implement technology solutions to ensure everyone who is infected or exposed will safely isolate or quarantine.
  • Track the spread of COVID-19 and report on the Wisconsin Gating Criteria and other related metrics.
  • Procure PPE and other necessary supplies to support health care and public safety agencies.
  • Assess the need for and readiness to support surge capacity for our healthcare system.

Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm said Monday that those phases do not exist in a vacuum. 

“By themselves, not a single one of these actions is enough,” Palm said. “Badger Bounce Back is an interconnected plan and progress on just one aspect will not mean success.”

But there is no guidance as to how or when the state will accomplish the goals.

“When? When would Gov. Evers’ propose his plan start?” Rep. Ron Tusler, R-Harrison, Tweeted on Monday. “When do we move onto the next step? It is not a plan if it doesn’t answer ‘when.'”

The Badger Bounce Back plan takes those goals and “turns the dial” on the economy in phases. 

Phase One of the Badger Bounce Back will allow restaurants to partially reopen, and would allow for crowds of up to 10 people. Phase Two would allow for groups of up to 50, and allow bars to reopen. Some non-essential businesses could also begin to reopen. Phase Three would allow the state to fully reopen.

A number of business groups including Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and the state’s Tavern League are pushing for the state to reopen May 1. 

“The safety of our customers and employees is the most important factor moving forward. Without protecting their safety, we have no viable business,” Tavern League President Chris Marsicano said. “Today, many businesses are open and safely serving the public. We can learn from those businesses and create a responsible, safe model for a soft reopening of Wisconsin’s taverns, restaurants and supper clubs on May 1.”

As of 2 p.m. Monday, Wisconsin’s coronavirus count stood at 4,499 positive cases, 230 deaths, and 46,603 negative tests. 

Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square. Reposted with permission.