Assembly Speaker Outlines Possible GOP Changes to Stay-At-Home Order

A Republican-backed stay-at-home order in Wisconsin would include a shift to regional restrictions and a move away from a state list of so-called “essential businesses,” the leader of the state Assembly said Wednesday.

Speaking at an online Wisconsin Health News event Wednesday morning, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said he hopes Republicans will never have to debut their own proposal. He would prefer to have a “seat at the table” while the executive branch drafts changes to its current order.

During the event, the Speaker reiterated his party’s support for a more regional approach to restrictions on businesses and people.

“Let’s start to turn the dial, as opposed to treating every part of the state like it is Milwaukee,” he said. “Because if we wait for Milwaukee and Brown County to be the indicator, it’s going to be a long time potentially before Wisconsin can open up.”

Vos also said he supports including more specific phases for restaurants reopening, including possible guidelines for when they could offer outdoor seating and benchmarks for reaching different percentages of indoor capacity.

He also urged a move away from a list of so-called “essential businesses” that are allowed to be open, while others are not.

“I don’t understand how you can go and get a key made at Walmart or buy flowers for Mother’s Day, but somehow if you would go to the flower shop or the key shop, that would be a major threat to public health,” Vos said.

He said he trusts people and businesses to take the appropriate health precautions.

Vos also said the state should have the plan to allow for churches to begin offering in-person worship services again.

The Speaker said he has been consulting with the Wisconsin Hospital Association and nursing home groups when considering possible changes to Wisconsin’s current policies.