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All of our lives have been changed, in both big and small ways, by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 25, we’ve been living under a “Safer At Home” order from Governor Evers.

Hopefully, we are beginning to see the first glimmer of light from the end of the tunnel with the announcement of the “Badger Bounce Back Plan.” This plan is designed to allow Wisconsin businesses to slowly begin to reopen in a phased fashion, as long as COVID-19 cases are on a steady decline.

In this blog, we provide details on exactly what the state is looking for relative to COVID-19 cases, and which businesses will be allowed to resume restricted operations first.


There are six metrics the state of Wisconsin is using to measure whether some businesses can begin to reopen. They are:

  • Symptoms: Over the course of 14 days, are COVID and flu-like illnesses falling?

  • Cases: Over the course of 14 days, are positive cases as a percentage of total tests falling?

  • Health Care System Workload: Can our hospitals treat all patients without crisis care?

  • Testing: Can any Wisconsin resident who needs a test, receive a test?

  • Contact Tracing: Can every Wisconsin resident who tests positive be interviewed within 24 hours, and all the people they came in contact with be interviewed within 48 hours?

  • Protective Equipment: Do all healthcare providers have adequate protective equipment and supplies to conduct COVID-19 testing and patient care?

Once those metrics are satisfied, Wisconsin will enter Phase 1 of its recovery, which will allow some non-essential businesses to reopen, often at reduced or restricted capacities.


According to federal guidelines, the following guidelines would be put in place for a Phase 1 recovery.

  • Vulnerable populations (sick, elderly) would still remain in quarantine.

  • Groups of 10 or more, where social distancing is not possible, should be avoided.

  • Telework should be encouraged where possible while returning to work in phases is also promoted

  • Common areas, where people congregate (such as break rooms or lunch areas) should remain closed

  • Large venues (churches, movie theaters) can reopen under strict social distancing guidelines

  • Elective surgeries can resume

  • Gyms may open under strict social distancing and personal hygiene guidelines

  • Bars would remain closed

That said, there have already been some modifications to the Badger Bounce Back plan. For example, Gov. Evers decided to lift some restrictions on businesses that can provide deliveries, curbside drop-offs, and pick-ups. These include dog groomers, small engine repair shops, and upholstery businesses. Those changes begin on Wednesday, April 24. The order also allows the rental of boats, golf carts, kayaks, and ATVs. He also announced the reopening of 34 state parks beginning on May 1, provided people continue to use social distancing practices.

Clearly, this is still a fluid situation. Stay tuned to for continuing updates as they unfold.

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