Dear Rep. Kitchens and Sen. Jacque

The Republican Party has now become the Party of Sickness and Death in Wisconsin and much of the nation. With the action of the Wisconsin Supreme Court throwing out Governor Evers’ and the Wisconsin Health Department’s “Safer-at-Home” extension, our state is more at risk than ever for the continued spread of the coronavirus and a rising death rate. The suit by the Republicans of the Wisconsin Legislature and Daniel Kelly’s deciding vote after he lost his election by a significant margin are further signs of the abusive exercise of undemocratic power in our state. Almost 70% of the people in Wisconsin want to see these regulations, which have been eased, stay in place. From what universe are you representing us?

         I was chilled to see the riotous pictures of patrons at bars in West Allis, Platteville and Port Washington celebrating the end of “restrictions” last night. The virus has not gone away. It is silent and can be deadly. All the people cramming into these taverns go home to families, shop in grocery stores and other places where the asymptomatic virus they might pick up can be transmitted. It is just a matter of time before the virus takes hold in a more ominous manner, threatening us all.

         It was especially disgusting to hear Chief Justice Patience Roggensack say that it was the workers in the Green Bay packing plants, NOT “the regular folks in Brown County” who were responsible for the explosion of Covid-19 cases there. The workers aren’t regular folks? And besides, everyone at the plant who through NO fault of their own has come down with the virus (and have now been ordered to work no matter what) is spreading it around the community in increasing concentric circles. Our case numbers in Door County started rising almost daily since Brown County has been so severely affected.

         We have been sheltering safely at home since early March. My husband has only gone to the Piggly Wiggly and Hometown Pharmacy in Sister Bay where he wears a mask and practices social distancing. Those two facilities have excellent safety practices in place. These policies have saved our lives and the statistics in Wisconsin have been going down because of Governor Evers policies.

         Scandia Village and the Hearthside retirement/nursing homes have had NO cases of coronavirus because of the early precautionary measures taken to limit public access to safeguard their vulnerable populations. This is NOT true across the United States as we view the death and destruction happening in similar facilities.

         We are following NONE of President Trump’s own CDC Guidelines for responsible opening of states – a 14-day period with declining statistics AND ADEQUATE TESTING, TRACING and QUARANTINING to follow-up. We are nowhere near the latter. If these policies were fully in place, people would be able to return to businesses without worrying they would get the disease and spread it to those they love. That is why the action by the Legislature and Supreme Court is so alarming and disheartening.

         EVERYONE wants the world to return to normal! But in order to do that, we have to respect the science and the people who have made epidemiology their life study. We now know what happens when warnings are not heeded. Other countries did this much better and now carefully opening to business and gatherings in public. Ultimately, we need a vaccine to be really safe, but there are thoughtful measures we can take to minimize risk and still have some semblance of a reopened economy. The actions taken yesterday will only enhance the reversal of all the progress and sacrifices we have made.

Gretchen Farwell

Ellison Bay