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New State Guidelines Designed to Help Businesses Reopen Safely

V1 Staff

Wisconsin retailers, restaurateurs, motel operators, manufacturers, and other businesses owners now have new guidelines on how to reopen and operate safely when “Safer at Home” restrictions are eased.

On Friday, Gov. Tony Evers announced a series of publications with both general advice for all businesses as well as detailed guidelines for specific sectors of the economy as they reinvigorate in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Made available online through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., the documents were developed by the WEDC and the state departments of Health Services, Tourism, and Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, as well as industry experts.

“Wisconsin businesses have done a great job in adapting to our state’s ‘Safer at Home’ order,” Evers said in a press release. “As we begin to ‘turn the dial,’ they need to know how to reopen safely so that employees and customers can feel confident when they return.”

In addition to a set of general business guidelines, brochures are available for a variety of economic sectors, including agriculture, construction, entertainment, gyms and fitness centers, hair and nail salons, hospitality/lodging, manufacturing, outdoor recreation, professional services, public facilities, restaurants, retail, and transportation. Publications focusing on outdoor gatherings and the warehouse/wholesale trade industries are also planned for the near future.

The guidelines include information on social distancing, personal protective gear, sanitation, business travel, and protecting vulnerable employees, as well as industry-specific advice. (For example, nail salons are advised to either provide face shields for employees or to install plastic partitions with holes for customers’ hands and feet.)

The state is still under Evers’ extended “Safer at Home” order, which began in March and is set to end May 26. Republican lawmakers have challenged the order in court, and a ruling by the state Supreme Court is expected in the near future.

On April 20, Evers announced the Badger Bounce Back Plan, which would allow businesses to gradually reopen as certain criteria are met.

Here’s the full announcement about the new safety guidelines:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 8, 2020

Gov. Evers Announces Best Practices and Safety Guidelines for Wisconsin Businesses

 MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers announced today that businesses looking to keep workers, customers, and families safe while “turning the dial” toward reopening can now draw on a series of publications to keep them informed of best practices and safety tips.

The brochures include general guidelines for all businesses to follow as well as industry-specific advice, such as for restaurants, retailers, manufacturers, professional offices, farmers, manufacturers, builders, hotel and motel operators, barbers, personal care services and other fields.

“Wisconsin businesses have done a great job in adapting to our state’s Safer at Home order,” Gov. Evers said. “As we begin to ‘turn the dial,’ they need to know how to reopen safely so that employees and customers can feel confident when they return.”

The guides were developed by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) in consultation with the Departments of Health Services, Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and Tourism, as well as and industry experts and associations.

“What these guides really aim to do is provide actionable advice for businesses, especially small businesses, as they begin the road back to reopening,” said WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes. “The guides answer basic questions, such as how to handle transactions at cash registers, what to do about merchandise that’s been handled by customers, and how to set up an office using social distancing strategies.”

Some of the general advice for businesses includes:

Making sure that employees who are sick don’t come to work.

Curtailing business travel whenever possible.

Promoting telecommuting or other work-from-home arrangements.

Making sure employees have access to sanitizers and personal protective equipment when appropriate.

Gov. Evers said the reopening of state businesses will continue to be guided by the health care metrics contained in the Badger Bounce Back plan, which include tracking new cases of COVID-19, assessing available medical resources to cope with COVID cases, and ensuring adequate testing and mitigation resources.

Copies of the guide will be available on the WEDC website at: https://wedc.org/reopen-guidelines.