(The Center Square) – Dog groomers, lawnmower repair shops, and car washes in Wisconsin will soon reopen, despite a continued rise in coronavirus cases and a steady line on the state’s positive-test-percentage.
Gov. Tony Evers on Monday modified his Safer at Home order to allow more businesses in the state to reopen starting Wednesday.
“The good news is that especially compared to some of our neighboring states, Wisconsin has a significant number of businesses that have reopened,” Evers said. “And many more that never closed.”
The governor said he made the decision to lift some restrictions on deliveries, curbside drop-offs and pick-ups, and deliveries because of “the science.”
But that science is at odds with the guidelines that Evers laid out last week when he introduced his Badger Bounce Back plan. The science in that plan required a two-week drop in either positive coronavirus cases, or a two-week drop in the positive-test-rate in the state. Neither one of those things has happened.
“It was just a few days ago that Gov. Evers put out benchmarks saying we had to reach those before opening up,” Rep. Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, tweeted Monday. “Now they’re ‘turning the dial’ without having reached those benchmarks. Or have we? The back and forth with this administration is dizzying and leading to unnecessary confusion.”
Gov Evers on Monday didn’t provide a solid answer as to why these businesses are being allowed to reopen now, while others are being ordered to stay closed.
His lawyer later said dog groomers, lawnmower repair shops, car washes and the rest are “low risk” for social interaction, while places like barbershops and restaurants are higher risk.
One of the other benchmarks in the governor’s Badger Bounce Back plan requires ample personal protective gear for hospitals and healthcare workers. Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services says the state isn’t close to that.
There is also a benchmark for more testing. DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm said Wisconsin is close on that.
“The second piece of that is utilizing the capacity that we have, and expanding the number of people who are being tested,” Palm said. “So that we don’t just have the capacity, but that we are using it.”
Palm said the goal continues to be 12,000 tests per day. She said Wisconsin can test as many as 11,000 people per day right now.
Wisconsin’s positive-test rate continues to be right around 10 percent, meaning that 90 percent of people who are tested are confirmed not to be sick.
That is shown in the latest official coronavirus count.
Palm on Monday said Wisconsin has 61,311 negative tests, 6,081 positive cases, and 281 deaths.
Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square.