All standalone and strip-mall-based retail stores in Wisconsin can offer in-person shopping for up to five customers at a time under an emergency order signed Monday, May 11, by Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm.
The move is another turn of the dial to the state’s Safer at Home order, adding more opportunities for Wisconsin businesses to reopen safely, according to a news release issued by the state. It went into effect Monday.
The easing of restrictions was met with a flurry of emotions from one Superior business owner.
“I’m crying tears of joy right now ladies,” Angie Kiminski, owner of Angie’s Closet consignment store, posted on Facebook shortly after Gov. Tony Evers announced the new order. “We will be opening tomorrow limited hours and limiting customers in the store. More details to come! I’m jumping for JOY!!!!!!”
Craig Sutherland of Sutherland CBD in Superior went live on Facebook Monday to let customers know about the change. He called the new order “a step in the right direction” and asked for a few hours to reconfigure the store for customers.
“We’re in reset mode,” Sutherland said. “Thank God we’re open, and stay safe everyone.”
Blue Arrow Boutique owners Aimee Glonek and Anndrea Ploeger pushed out a video on Facebook, as well. The two said they plan to reopen the Tower Avenue store soon and will keep customers updated online.
"Don't expect things to be the way they used to be," Glonek said. "Things have changed. It's been a long two months for everybody and it's just going to be different."
"We're going to be a new Blue Arrow, but we'll still be Blue Arrow." Ploeger said.
The order builds on an April 27 emergency order allowing golf courses to operate; lawn and construction services to be provided by a single employee; curbside pickup for libraries; and delivery, mailing and curbside pickup and drop-off services for every business. The new order also allows drive-in theaters to operate.
Businesses must continue to follow all safety precautions and guidelines outlined in the Safer at Home order and maintain appropriate social distance.
"In addition to added flexibilities and steps we have already taken for businesses, this is another disciplined turn of the dial that will allow Wisconsin's business owners to safely get back to work, and Wisconsin consumers to support their favorite local spots," said Gov. Tony Evers in the news release. "Both customers and workers need to be confident in their safety, so we need everyone to be diligent in following best safety practices so we can continue to move our state forward while keeping our neighbors, families and communities safe and healthy."
Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley, D-Mason, said in a statement that she supports the effort.
“This has been a difficult time for many families across Wisconsin. As a state, we are all in this together, and by continuing to practice safety measures and social distancing we can limit the spread of COVID-19," she said.
This story was updated at 2:59 p.m. on May 11 to include reactions from business owners. It was originally posted at 2:11 p.m. on May 11.