Gov. Tony Evers announced Monday, April 20, 2020 the Badger Bounce Back plan to share guidance on the criteria that must be met before the state’s economy can safely reopen.
“As we’ve learned over the past month, in the most difficult of circumstances, Wisconsinites will rise to the occasion, helping each other and working together to do what’s best for our families, our neighbors, and our communities,” Gov. Evers said. “That’s what the Badger Bounce Back is all about: our resilience as a people and as a state. I am excited and hopeful about this plan.”
According to a news release, the Badger Bounce Back plan was established to decrease the number of cases and COVID-19-related deaths to a level that the state’s healthcare system can handle. In an effort to do so, Evers announced a plan to greatly increase the state’s testing capacity for COVID-19.
Evers said in a news conference Monday that the Badger Bounce Back plan was established to help the state reach the White House’s recommended criteria for reopening the state. The full Badger Bounce Back plan is available at https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/WIGOV/2020/04/20/file_attachments/1431305/Badger%20Bounce%20Back%20PlanFINAL.pdf.
State health officials are setting a goal of 85,000 tests per week, averaging roughly 12,000 tests per day. In addition to expanded testing, health officials will be expanding contact tracing in an effort to track the spread of the coronavirus. According to the release, every Wisconsinite who tests positive will be interviewed within 24 hours of receiving their test results. People they have been in contact with will be interviewed within 48 hours of test results coming back.
Evers said once the state sees a 14-day downward trajectory of influenza-like illnesses and COVID-19 symptoms being reported, Wisconsin will be able to gradually reopen.
Evers directed Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to issue Emergency Order #31 to establish the state’s plan for reopening.
Under the first phase, gatherings of up to 10 people would be allowed, K-12 schools could resume in-person operations, child care settings could resume full operation and restaurants could reopen with social distancing requirements.
Under the second phase, mass gatherings of up to 50 people would be allowed, colleges and universities could resume in-person classes and bars and other nonessential businesses could reopen.
Under the third phase, all business activity and gatherings would resume with minimal preventative measures.
Despite this announcement, Gov. Evers still stands by his original announcement on Thursday, April 16, 2020, of extending the “Safer at Home” order until 8:00 a.m., May 24, 2020 — or until a superseding order is issued. Evers stated that there had been a reduction in new cases, which shows that “Safer at Home” is working. However, we were not yet near where we need to be in order to lift the order all together. The Badger Bounce Back plan gives us a working outline of where we have to be and how to finally get back to normal. The announcement of the Badger Bounce Back comes after protests of locals demanding that stores open and the “Safer at Home” order be immediately lifted.