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Assembly GOP wants regional plan to reopen Wisconsin

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke. May 7, 2020. (WBAY Photo)
Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke. May 7, 2020. (WBAY Photo)(WBAY)
Published: May. 7, 2020 at 11:51 AM CDT
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Wisconsin Assembly Republicans are calling for a plan to reopen the state in places that have not seen a big impact from COVID-19.

Members of the caucus held news conferences Thursday with local business owners to advocate for a "regional approach" to reopening the state during the coronavirus pandemic. That means opening up businesses in areas without a large number of COVID-19 cases.

Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has extended his Safer at Home order until May 26. The executive order restricts non-essential business in Wisconsin and other activities. The Wisconsin Legislature has asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to overturn the order on grounds it is unconstitutional. That decision is pending.

Action 2 News was at the GOP news conference at Lamers Dairy in Appleton. Republican Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke is calling for a bipartisan effort to get people back to work.

"We truly believe that there is a middle ground here where we can protect the health and safety of our citizens while still moving forward and cracking open the door to allow businesses to start collecting revenue in areas where there is less of an impact of the virus," said Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna).

Republicans say the Safer at Home order has cost Wisconsin $178.9 million in GDP each day. More than 500,000 people have filed for unemployment.

Outagamie County, where the news conference was held, reported 10 new coronavirus cases Thursday, bringing the county's total to 83 confirmed cases compared to 54 one week ago.

News conferences were also held in Chippewa and Marathon counties, where the coronavirus has had a much slower spread. Chippewa County has 27 cases -- up 5 in the past week -- and Marathon County has 21 cases -- an increase of 3.

Evers says Wisconsin has to meet "gating criteria" under the

to reopen the state. So far, Wisconsin has met one of those criteria: A downward trajectory of flu-like illnesses reported in the past 14 days.

for the full list of gating criteria.

Action 2 News' Cami Rapson has an interview with Gov. Evers Thursday. She intends to ask the governor if he is open to other plans for reopening the state.

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