Protestors march against ‘safer at home’ extension

MADISON (WKOW) -- There were no chants, just the sound of steps circling the state Capitol Sunday afternoon and protestors rallied in opposition to Governor Tony Evers' decision toextend the state's 'safer at home' order to May 26.

A little more than 50 protestors showed up for the demonstration. Jeff Horn, from DeForest, helped organize the rally. Horn said he felt the state should allow more businesses to police social distancing on their properties.

"There may be things we can mandate from the state level but there can also be things businesses can do themselves," Horn said. "A restaurant is gonna want to make people comfortable so they'll expand their seating to keep people apart."

Horn added he thinks it's unfair for large retailers like Walmart and Home Depot to remain open while smaller shops had to shut down. Other protestors echoed the sense of smaller businesses getting unfair treatment; they said the government should not decide whose work is or is not essential.

Dimitra Anderson, Milwaukee, takes part in Sunday's demonstration against the 'safer at home' extension.

"It's winners and losers and you don't have fairness and you certainly don't have a happy electorate when you start picking winners and losers," said Vince Schmuki, who said he drove over from Saukville to attend the protest.

Shortly after the Evers administration announced its decision to extend 'safer at home,' a group of 13 different healthcare groups, including the Wisconsin Medical Society and Wisconsin Nurses Association,issued a joint statement in support of the extension.

"We are sympathetic to the significant adverse impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our state and national economies,

as well as our daily lives," the statement read. "Such decisions to reopen should be based on sound data, evidence and collaboration, to achieve the best outcomes for everyone."

A Marquette University poll conducted between March 24 and March 29 found, across the state, between 82 and 90 percent of respondents felt the "safer at home" measures were appropriate.

The poll's director, Charles Franklin, said Sunday evening on Twitter he expects more of the public to sour on the restrictions as more people find themselves in economic peril and the debate over whether and how to reopen becomes more politicized.

Kirsten Lombard, from McFarland, also helped organize Sunday's march. She said any continued stay-at-home restrictions should only apply to those in high-risk categories, such as the elderly or those who are immunocompromised.

"There are some people who may get sick but if we're protecting the people who are most at risk for getting sick, if we're protecting them by doing what we've always done, which is asking them to stay home, the rest of us can be out doing what we need to do," Lombard said.

Lombard added neither she nor the other organizers expected a particularly large turnout for Sunday's rally. She said they're expecting a much bigger crowd at a demonstration planned for Friday at the Capitol. Lombard said her group is not organizing that event but plans to participate.

More at WKOW 27 News

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