Appleton, Menasha, Outagamie Co., and Winnebago Co. enact restrictions

Published: May. 14, 2020 at 6:41 PM CDT
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Many representatives in the Fox Valley gathered in Appleton Thursday afternoon to explain why they believe implementing their own safer at home measures is necessary.

Representatives from Appleton, Menasha, and Outagamie, Winnebago, and Calumet counties all implemented their own safer at home orders for a number of reasons.

"To provide the governor and legislature time to act, to give us the direction we need here in the Fox Cities and throughout the state to open safely,” said Appleton Mayor Jake Woodford.

Beyond wanting more direction from the state, local health officials say people still need to take safety measures because of COVID-19.

"The fact that we served over 400-symptomatic individuals in our communities [Wednesday] in that testing facility shows us there is still disease present in our communities and that we do still need to take steps to keep ourselves safe,” said Outagamie Public Health Manager Mary Dorn. “So we need to take this in that phased approach and open up our communities wisely."

"The data is clear, the safer at home orders have reduced the spread coronavirus but not eliminated it. Quite simply these orders have saved lives," said Appleton Health Officer Kurt Eggebrecht. "We all want the same thing: we want to open our economy. These orders that we've written have allowed us time to do so in a smart, thoughtful, and balanced way so that we don't lose the gains that we've made."

Outagamie County is planning a phased approach based on the “framework” of the Badger Bounce Back plan, opening things up as certain health metrics are met.

"Simply put, we don't want to be in the situation any more than anyone else wants to and we feel that if we have this flexible framework we'll be able to work through this plan and hopefully as quickly as possible,” said Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson.

Some, like Appleton’s Casting On Owner Sara Rabideau, want to stick with public health recommendations regardless. Even though only allowing five customers at a time isn't ideal for business.

"It's the right thing to do,” said Rabideau. “We want to maintain a level and safety and integrity for anybody. There's no such thing as too safe."

But Jessica Netzel, who owns the Kingdom Kuts Salon in Appleton, opened up her business despite the state order and filed a federal lawsuit claiming a Safer at Home order violates her rights.

"We have people come from New Lisbon, which is like two hours and 20 minutes from here, I've had some people come from West Bend south of Milwaukee,” said Netzel. “I mean people are coming from all over. I feel like we're all grownups, we can all make our own choices."

County and city representatives believe ideally there will be a statewide plan.

"By taking a patchwork approach, it also makes the adherence to local orders more difficult for our communities to understand, more frustrating for business owners and citizens in our communities,” said Woodford.

But, if that doesn’t come to fruition, they are preparing to take a partnered, regional approach.

“So, at the very least having a regional approach that helps create greater clarity for people in our communities will be critical for us," said Woodford.

"That's the way we're going to be able to take on, to control this virus, to flatten the curve, and above all to save lives," said Nelson.

To find read each county and municipality’s individual orders:

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