(The Center Square) – As coronavirus cases continue to increase in Wisconsin, there is real fear that Gov. Tony Evers will finally move on his plan to name businesses that have seen coronavirus positives.
The governor has toyed with the idea of naming names as part of an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. But he has not followed through, mainly because a judge has stopped him.
The National Federation of Independent Businesses in Wisconsin is hoping he never gets to follow through. The NFIB has filed an amicus brief in the court challenge to the governor’s idea of outing businesses.
“Actions by the governor to publish the names of small businesses with COVID-19 cases from months ago does nothing to help curb the spread of the virus,” NFIB Wisconsin director Bill G. Smith said. “Instead, this bad policy is simply a finger pointing fear tactic to ‘out’ hard working small business owners who have done everything they could to stop the spread of the virus.”
The governor’s proposal is on hold. A judge in Waukesha County froze the idea last month. Wisconsin’s largest business group, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, is leading that case.
Smith said the proposal to name names needs to stay frozen.
“If the governor is allowed to carry out his actions, small businesses across the state will shut down and thousands of Wisconsinites will lose their jobs,” the NFIB’s statement continued. NFIB “urges the court to issue an immediate temporary injunction to preserve the status quo.”
“What the Administration’s plan to release months-old positive test results and the business names of employees testing positive will do, instead of slowing the spread of COVID-19, is detrimentally, permanently, and irreparably, impact the financial stability and existence of businesses in Wisconsin,” NFIB Small Business Legal Center Executive Director Karen Harned said.
Smith said small businesses in Wisconsin cannot survive another round of troubles from the coronavirus, or the government.
Smith points to an NFIB survey in Wisconsin that shows 20% of small businesses report that they will be laying off employees in the next six months. Twenty-two percent of small business owners report that their sales are still below 50 percent of what they were before the pandemic. And almost half of small business owners in Wisconsin feel they need another round of financial support from the government to keep their doors open.
Smith says small businesses in Wisconsin need help from the government, not to be outed by the governor.