New guidelines designed to help businesses operate safely during the coronavirus pandemic were announced Friday, May 8, by Gov. Tony Evers.

There is general advice for companies as well as industry-specific suggestions for restaurants, barbers and manufacturers along with other fields.

The recommendations were developed by state business, health and tourism officials in conjunction with industry experts and associations.

They come as some other states are starting to reopen and Wisconsin business groups have lobbied for commerce to resume. Republican leaders brought a lawsuit challenging the process by which the Evers administration's "Safer at Home" order was extended.

"Wisconsin businesses have done a great job in adapting to our state’s Safer at Home order," Evers said in a press release. "As we begin to 'turn the dial,' they need to know how to reopen safely so that employees and customers can feel confident when they return."

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) developed the guidelines in consultation with the state Department of Health Services, state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and state Department of Tourism.

"The most important (thing) is thinking about advising your employees that if they’re not feeling well, they need to not come to work, and we need to be really upfront about that," WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes told WPR.

The state has experienced high unemployment since the stay-at-home order began in late March and was extended until May 26.

"The urgency comes from the need to balance our public health concerns with concerns about the damage our economy is sustaining. So we want to be ready," Hughes said. "I would describe it as a runner at the starting line: 'On your mark, get set.' We’re in that moment of 'On your mark, get set.' As soon as the powers that be say 'go,' all businesses will be ready."

The guidelines answer basic questions such as how to handle transactions at cash registers, what to do about merchandise that’s been handled by customers, and how to set up an office using social distancing strategies.

Wisconsin Public Radio can be heard in the Twin Ports at 91.3 FM or online at wpr.org/news.