Wisconsin governor says it could be a number of weeks before COVID-19 restrictions ease

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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers spoke to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS from the executive residence in Madison on Tuesday morning about COVID-19 restrictions in the state.

“It’s not going to be like flipping a switch,” said Evers about restarting the state’s economy.

Evers said Monday he spoke with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, and has had conversations with the governors of Michigan and Illinois as to when COVID-19 closing restrictions could be eased in the region.

“At least in Wisconsin we can see some slowing down of the daily occurrences, so that is good news," Evers said.

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The governor said once there's a solid public health system in place, including more coronavirus testing, tracking of those who are sick and enough personal protective gear, then the conversation will shift to more businesses opening and easing of social distancing restrictions.

“I would fully expect another couple of weeks, a month, before we are in a position to actually say we’re ahead of the curve here, and after that we can start thinking about how we can relax things,” Evers said. 

Fate of Schools

Wisconsin schools remain closed until at least April 24, according to the state.

Evers said a final decision to open them has yet to be made but at this point, it seems “unlikely.”

COVID-19 Relief Legislation

An 87-page COVID-19 relief bill is up for debate in Madison, including waiving the one-week waiting period to file for unemployment.

But what Evers said must also be addressed by lawmakers is help for the state's dairy farmers who are having to dump milk due to declining markets.

The governor wants lawmakers to find a way for farmers to help fill the shelves of food pantries with that milk.

"Somehow incentivize that supply chain,” the governor said. “I think we absolutely think we need to have some state money behind that.”

The state coronavirus relief bill is scheduled to be hammered out this week at Wisconsin's capitol.