This morning I issued a procalamation regarding the reopening of Mequon.
I consulted with a variety of Mequon business people and medical professionals and other community leaders before issuing this. Some members and leaders of the Chamber of Commerce have already expressed their approval of this plan.
Mequon is very concerned about both its business community and the spread of the virus. Mequon businesses and residents have been very responsible, and I am certain they will continue to be responsible. This plan only imposes temporary restrictions on businesses that tend to accumulate larger numbers of people in close proximity and businesses that necessitate close proximity between provider and customer.
All businesses can reopen now, but with some limitations for a short period. Those limitations go away on a weekly basis. In the interim, there is an opportunity to determine if reopening has increased the spread of the virus.
I fully expect that the State will issue rules (but this time going through the proper rule-making process involving the legislature) shortly. This Proclamation provides a bridge to those rules.
I recognize that some people will be unhappy about this. One group will be unhappy that there are any restrictions, and one group will be unhappy that there are not significantly more. I have been fielding calls and emails from both of those ends ever since the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued its decision.
I truly believe, however, that the vast majority fall between these two extremes. I have also been hearing from them on an almost non-stop basis.
I agree that adults should be able to make their own decisions. I do not support laws that protect people from themselves (we have too many of them). However, the concern over the virus is not a concern for people getting themselves sick. It is a concern over people getting others sick. There are many seniors and people with health concerns (in Mequon that is a large percentage of the population) who cannot stay at home because of work, grocery shopping, doctor appointments and all of the other things we all need to do.
I also recognize that most people in Mequon have been very responsible. However, laws are made for those who are less responsible.
This is a short interim step designed to find if there is a spike. If all works well, our seniors and the people with health concerns (in Mequon that is a large percentage of the population) will then see that it is safe to frequent our businesses. If all goes well, we will very shortly be fully reopened.
If, on the other hand, the virus spreads uncontrollably and our hospitals become overwhelmed, we have a problem. We do not want that to happen. We live right on the edge of the community with the most infections. We do not want similar concerns.
This is precisely the kind of regulation that both parties in the legislature have suggested. It would not surprise me if the state’s ultimate regulations a week or so from now look something like this.
Unlike what happened at the state, this is not a one person fiat. This kind of Proclamation is specifically allowed under the Wisconsin Statutes, and the Common Council will have an opportunity to modify or reject it. This would have been proposed and done at a Common Council meeting, but we do not have one scheduled for almost a month. I intedn to call a special session, but those take some time. Based on the timing of the Supreme Court decision, it did not make sense to have businesses closed, then reopened, and then partially closed again.
One final point. The Proclamation has not reopened the playgrounds, playing fields and pool. I fully expect the playgrounds and playing fields, and likely the pool, will open shortly. We are not yet even to Memorial Day. We first want to see that there is no short-term spike, to ready them for use, and to at least have a chance to make plans with the groups that run the organized activites.
You can read a copy of the Proclamation by clicking here.