Members of the Assembly Republican Caucus stood with business owners in Appleton, Wausau and Chippewa Falls Thursday to explain why they say the state needs to reopen.
At the event at Loopy’s in Chippewa Falls, republican representatives argued there are areas of the state, including the Chippewa Valley, that aren’t as impacted by the coronavirus as others.
“Right now we have the opportunity to start the process of safely reopening Wisconsin’s economy through a regional approach. We can use data-driven, regional metrics to move towards economic recovery,” says Rep. Rob Summerfield.
The owner of Loopy’s says the Safer at Home order is greatly hurting his business.
“My sales were down 70% last month, and will grow to 80-85% if we lose our summer business. Many have lost 100%. This is not sustainable, it is not about profits, but about survival,” he says.
Kleich also says the federally funded paycheck protection program has not helped his business the way it was intended to, as his expenses go beyond paychecks, and his business is partially closed anyway.
Republican State Senator Kathy Bernier also advocated for a regional opening at Thursday’s event.
“It is not moving us forward and they will not consider, the Governor will not consider opening up regionally. Well why not? That would be a good way to check and see how it’s working. It would be a pilot as to how we can safely open up,” she says.
But Democratic Representative Jodi Emerson says she wants to increase testing before opening the state, and is concerned about the availability of protective equipment for workers.
“What does that do to a worker who maybe has preexisting conditions, or maybe has someone in their house that has preexisting conditions, and they don’t feel safe going and working. what recourse do they have?” she says.
Governor Evers also said Thursday he is concerned about COVID-19 cases in rural areas being under counted because of a lack of testing and says re-opening too quickly could lead to a spike in cases.