Local officials today released a draft of a plan that outlines a series of best practices to help local businesses restart after the COVID-19 shutdown, while also promoting public health and safety.
The Kenosha County Kickstart plan includes recommendations for how businesses and organizations can phase in operations in a way that will minimize the risk of further COVID-19 infections and deaths.
With the Safer-at-Home Order now suspended statewide and locally, the recommendations are not mandatory. However, local officials strongly encourage businesses and organizations to follow them.
“Our aim is to allow businesses the opportunity to operate successfully, while also continuing to work to flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases in our county,” said Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser. “I have faith that our businesses and residents will respect these objectives, and that the strength of our community will allow us to meet this challenge as successfully as possible.”
In the coming days, the draft plan will be reviewed by various business sector groups comprised of members of the Kenosha County Kickstart oversight committee, coordinated by the Kenosha Area Business Alliance.
All local businesses are also invited to weigh in on the plan by email, at [email protected]. The public may view the draft plan at https://bit.ly/KCKickstartDraft.
It is the committee’s objective to have a finalized plan in place by May 26.
Suggestions cited within the plan include:
- Recommended maximum numbers of people in restaurants, bars, retail establishments and other businesses and organizations
- Recommended maximum numbers of people at gatherings, including religious services
- A continued prohibition of outside visitors, other than for essential services, at nursing homes and long-term care facilities, with an eventual phase-in for visitors with screening for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
All phases of the plan recommend the continued practice of healthy habits, including:
- Physical distancing of six feet or more between individuals who belong to different households
- Good hygiene practices, including frequent handwashing, avoiding touching your face, sneezing or coughing into a tissue or the inside of your elbow and disinfection of frequently used items and surfaces
- Staying home when you feel sick
- The wearing of cloth face coverings for all public activities for anyone who can wear them, recognizing that those with certain medical or physical conditions may not be able to do so
The draft plan also strongly encourages all businesses to enact procedures including screening of staff for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure prior to each shift, reporting of symptoms by workers, and the use of proper isolation techniques for workers testing positive for COVID-19.
In addition, businesses are strongly encouraged to develop sick leave policies and make their employees aware of them.
“We want businesses and the entire community to know that public health is here to work with them, to promote and answer questions about best practices,” said Kenosha County Health Officer Dr. Jen Freiheit. “Modeling clearly suggests that COVID-19 cases have not yet peaked in Kenosha County, so it will be incumbent upon all of us to pay attention to these guidelines and continue to be conscious of the threat of the virus.”
Mayor John Antaramian said the plan can be a valuable tool for businesses as they aim to reopen with best practices for customers and employees.
“A strategic phase-in will be most beneficial for the community as a whole in controlling the spread of COVID-19,” Antaramian said. “It is my hope that people will review this plan and use it to meet their needs and those of the public’s health.”
Kenosha Area Business Alliance President Todd Battle noted the collaborative approach of the plan.
“The Kenosha County Kickstart plan is yet another example of Kenosha County coming together to address important issues,” Battle said. “These guidelines, best practices and recommendations are the result of public- and private-sector partners working together to protect public health and our local economy.”