Kewaunee County Board passes resolution asking Evers to lift safer-at-home orders
LUXEMBURG – The Kewaunee County Board will ask Gov. Tony Evers to discontinue Wisconsin's current safer-at-home orders and re-open "nonessential businesses" in the county by May 12.
The communication to the governor came in a resolution the board passed by a 17-3 vote at its Tuesday meeting. It was held in the Expo Hall at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds instead of its usual location in the board room of the Administrative Center in Kewaunee. Supervisors and county staff were able to attend but it was closed to in-person attendance by the public and streamed live on YouTube. Statements could be submitted in writing for public comment.
Sup. Kim Kroll submitted the resolution to the board. It acknowledges Evers' and the state Department of Health Services' intent to protect residents and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 through the department's Emergency Order 12, which implemented safer-at-home through April 21, and Emergency Order 28, which extends it through May 26.
Then, the resolution says the public understands what it needs to do to stay safe after a month of safer-at-home, and people and businesses are having major financial struggles, with many businesses likely unable to survive if they remain closed through May 26.
"… the Board believes it is possible, and necessary, to implement a strategic, well-planned, common sense approach to allow our citizens the ability to return to work in the safest manner possible," the resolution states.
During discussion, Kroll said while she completely agrees that public safety is the county's top priority, she hopes the resolution will cause the state to discuss the issue with local health departments and business organizations to consider the impact on a local scale.
"So many people, so many businesses in the county have got no income at all," Kroll said. "I'm not saying, May 12 and let's turn the green light on, but we need discussion. We have people with nothing coming in and we need to protect them. If the coronavirus doesn't hit them, the economy will … If there's no discussion, what's the next step on May 26?"
Sup. Joanne Lazansky expressed concern over forecasts that lifting restrictions before COVID-19 cases showed a downward trend would cause more problems. Kewaunee County has seen its number of positive COVID-18 test results increase by two or three a week for the past several weeks, totaling 13 as of the board meeting.
"I'm just saying if you open this up too soon, you open us up to a second round of the pandemic," Lazansky said. "We need to let the health care experts take care of this and listen to the health care experts."
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Forty-eight letters were submitted for public comment on the matter, which County Clerk Jamie Annoye said might be a record number for public comment. In total, 28 were in favor of the resolution, most from local business owners, while 20 were against it, one concerned that some workers at the JBS Packerland meat processing plant in Green Bay, currently shut down because of an internal outbreak of more than 250 COVID-19 cases, live in Kewaunee County.
The vote in favor of the resolution passed, with Lazansky and Sups. Doak Baker and Gerlad Paape voting no.
Olson new chair, Paape remains vice-chair
In other action during its first meeting since the April 7 election saw eight new faces join, the board elected Sup. Dan. Olson as its new chairperson and re-elected Paape as vice-chairperson.
Olson and Sup. John Mastalir were nominated for the chair, and Olson won the vote, 13-6 with one abstention. He is starting his second term as a county supervisor.
Paape was the only nominee for vice-chair and re-elected by unanimous voice vote.
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected]
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Kewaunee County Board passes resolution asking Evers to lift safer-at-home orders