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“Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce” (WMC)), “the state’s biggest business association, published details of its” Back to Business “plan Friday, a set of tailor-made and adaptable protocols and processes that the organization said the government could use to reopen industry on Monday, May 4. ” We need to protect lives, but we also need to protect livelihoods, “said Kurt Bauer, CEO and Chairman of the WMC, in a press release. “A global health crisis has created an economic crisis, and it is time to fight back on both fronts. WMC’s Return to Business plan would provide a road-map for the state to reopen its economy while continuing to take measures to protect the health of Wisconsinites.’ With its plan, the WMC suggests that any business in the state, regardless of its location, will reopen if it complies with mitigation guidance. For example, a Milwaukee based company could open according to its type of work. The system implements an information-driven model that relies on real-time health information from the government to give companies a risk factor score whether they are open at low, moderate or significant scores.


How It Works

The scores evaluate the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) of a business, which classifies a company by type of business operation, against the rate of infection in its county, health care resources, size of population, how many people congregate at that place of business and how likely people are to  in that environment. Factors of health-care capacity in the number of ICU beds and ventilators available in a given geography. Population size is based on data provided by the United States Census.


Businesses with a significant risk score are places that put people in close proximity, such as movie theaters and health clubs, according to the ‘WMC. A place with a low-risk score has limited interaction with the public and among employees. The higher the risk in the area of that company, the more measures it will take to avoid spreading the virus, according to the ‘WMC. Precautions can include reduced-capacity operations and increased use of personal protective equipment. Optimally, a company can post a visual representation of its level of risk somewhere within its premises. The score also covers how long the measurement will be accurate.

Reception by State Government

The WMC briefed the Gov. Tony Evers administration on the details of the plan on Thursday, said Scott Manley, executive vice president of government relations at the WMC. Manley has described the talk as successful. “They asked a lot of really good questions and I think we had some really good answers for them,” he said, adding the conversation lasted about an hour. “They provided us with some feedback and asked us to think about a number of different factors related to how we score infection rates and how we calculate health care capacity.” The goal is to get the proposal implemented by the Wisconsin Health Services Department. For a business based on Covid-19 data, the platform will automatically increase or decrease the safety requirements.


Evers extended the Safer at Home order of the state until May 26 unless it was terminated early by a superseding order.It was expected to be lifted initially April 24. Evers has also published a reopening strategy, called the Badger Bounce Back strategy. The Ever’s administration’s plan requires certain areas of the economy to reopen in phases until the state passes the evaluation metrics of Covid-19. A question about WMC’s proposal has yet to be returned by Evers’ office.

“It’s our hope that once they have a little bit more time to think about it and get their own input on it, they’ll have some positive suggestions for us and we’ll want to work with them and make it a reality,” Manley said. “We have an economic imperative to get the economy back on track and bring families back to work so that people can do it again.


State Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield), who collaborated with the WMC on the plan, said the group communicated with the Wisconsin Hospital Association, Medical College of Wisconsin and independent doctors to develop the plan. I think it is time for Wisconsin to get back to work, “Kapenga said. You can read the plan on WMC’s site.