West Bend, WI – Rather than extend unlawful “Safer at Home” orders, Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann signed a proclamation implementing the “Blueprint to Reopen.” He was supported by Sheriff Marty Schulteis and Public Health Officer Kirsten Johnson. The proclamation recognizes the community’s responsibility to follow physical distancing guidelines as well as the public’s ability to use common sense to follow the document’s FAQ to keep their neighbors safe.
Weeks ago, the Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department issued the “Blueprint to Reopen” Washington County’s economy. The department also issued FAQs and began working with businesses, chambers of commerce, law enforcement, and others to assist in creating social distancing plans specific to various industries.
“Washington County will not issue blanket orders restricting individual rights,” said County Executive Josh Schoemann. “Now is the time for citizens to work as loving neighbors to continue keep the curve flat and protect the at risk population. I trust our residents and businesses to follow the guidelines put forth by the CDC, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and health department.”
“Activities and businesses which encourage large gatherings, such as bars, restaurants, festivals and parades, remain the highest risk for vast and quick moving outbreaks, which become uncontrollable,” stated Kirsten Johnson, the public health officer. “The best way to keep the elderly and those with health conditions safe is for all businesses to follow the guidelines and voluntarily comply with public health guidance. The health department will continue robust contact tracing and effective public health campaigns. When outbreaks occur, we will publish them and issue legally binding direction to the organization(s) involved to quickly resolve the risk to the community. Voluntary compliance with the Blueprint mitigates the risk of large outbreaks.”
The health department will continue to report outbreak locations, including business or organization names, and case data on its dashboard. The Blueprint, FAQ and dashboard are all available at washozwi.gov.
From the enforcement perspective, Sheriff Marty Schulteis reported, “From the start, our enforcement efforts have been education on the guidelines Kirsten and the health department put out. We ask for continued compliance with these guidelines so that we can keep all of our citizens safe, healthy, and more importantly, open for business.”