Photo by Michelle Stocker, The Capital Times

One of the Legislature’s top Republicans applauded Gov. Tony Evers’ move to roll back some restrictions on nonessential businesses.

Still, Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, questioned why the guv had selected dog groomers, small engine repair shops and upholstery businesses, for example, for his latest order, but not other types of companies.

The guv’s chief legal counsel said the businesses were selected because there is a small chance that COVID-19 could be spread under the services that will be allowed starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

“There is very little person-to-person interaction just in normal circumstances, and then with the additional safety requirements laid out in this order and previous orders, we’re minimizing the risk even more,” said Chief Legal Counsel Ryan Nilsestuen.

Under an order signed Monday by Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm, curbside drop-off of goods or animals would be allowed for nonessential businesses such as dog groomers, small engine repair shops and upholstery businesses.

The order also allows the resumption of automatic car washes and outdoor rentals of boats, golf carts, kayaks, ATVs, and other recreational vehicles.

Steineke noted the guv’s three-phase plan to reopen the state includes benchmarks such as a 14-day drop in new positives and increased testing capacity, neither of which has been hit yet. He said the guv’s office is sending conflicting signals by not allowing more businesses to open.

“The question is why these businesses and why now?” he said.

Under the order, services must be paid for online or by phone. Drop-offs and pickups must be scheduled ahead of time to comply with social distancing requirements. Only one staffer at the business can be in a room or confined space at a time; that space includes a car or a truck. Customers aren’t allowed inside the business.

Evers said while the trend line for positive cases is up, it’s not “shooting through the roof” when compared to the number of tests administered.

“We take these steps so that we can learn from them so that the next opportunity that presents itself, we’re doing it knowing how this worked,” Evers said. “That’s why it’s important to reinforce that …work around reopening the business world has to be methodical and slow so that we can observe how it works.”

See the order here.

See the release here.

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