The City and County of Kenosha, in partnership with the Kenosha Area Business Alliance, today released the final draft of a plan to help guide businesses through the process of restarting operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kenosha County Kickstart offers a long list of advisory best practices for businesses and organizations, along with a suggested phase-in process based on the county’s meeting of public health criteria established by the State of Wisconsin.
“These are recommendations rooted in public health science and data, along with valuable input that we received from our business community,” said Kenosha County Health Officer Dr. Jen Freiheit. “While it is tempting for many people to try to put this crisis behind us, COVID-19 is far from disappearing from our community. We have to stay strong and steadfast against the virus’ spread, and this plan gives businesses a framework by which to do so.”
A draft of the plan was released to the public earlier this month and then turned over to workgroups representing various business sectors. Working with Kenosha County Division of Health and KABA staff, these groups refined the plan into the final document that cleared the Kenosha County Kickstart oversight committee.
“The Kickstart plan provides a roadmap as Kenosha County businesses reopen and ramp back up,” said KABA President Todd Battle. “We are very appreciative of the Health Department’s efforts to prepare this document and engage employers and businesses in the process.”
The plan is available for the public and businesses to review at https://bit.ly/KCKickstart.
While the workgroups did not make significant alterations to the draft plan, there were a few notable changes:
- Specified percentages were removed from recommended capacity limits for businesses during the phase-in process, allowing businesses flexibility to decide what makes sense for their individual operations.
- Some minor edits were made to public guidance and safe workplace practices, based on industry feedback.
Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser said he was pleased to see the plan develop in a collaborative process.
“We wanted to get a lot of fingerprints on this plan, to make sure we had something that would be workable for businesses, and ultimately beneficial for public health,” Kreuser said. “I thank everyone who was involved with the planning process, and I now look to our community to heed these recommendations in the name of controlling COVID-19 in Kenosha County.”
Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian is also calling on the community to follow the plan.
“I hope people will follow the guidelines for their protection and the protection of others,” Antaramian said. “It is not a lot to ask, that people follow some common-sense precautions.”
Kenosha County Kickstart highlights
Suggestions cited within the plan include:
- Recommended, temporary capacity limits for restaurants, bars, retail establishments and other businesses and organizations
- Recommended, temporary capacity limits for gatherings, including religious services, with allowances for larger groups at outdoor wedding 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
- Businesses are strongly encouraged 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.
- Businesses are urged to develop sick leave policies and to make their employees aware of them.
All phases of the plan recommend the continued practice of healthy habits, including:
- 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 n 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 plan recommends a three-phase process starting with the current phase, which began May 14. The starts of phases 2 and 3 will be announced by the Kenosha County Division of Health when gating criteria are met.
- Up-to-date information about Kenosha County’s standing in meeting the gating criteria is available on a Kenosha County Kickstart Dashboard page on the Kenosha County COVID-19 Response Hub website. The hub site is located at www.kenoshacounty.org/covid-19. A direct link to the Kickstart dashboard is here: https://bit.ly/KCKickstartDashboard.
Together, we can and will slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.