(The Center Square) – Wisconsin's top Republican lawmakers say the state's "Safer at Home" order is what it is. But it won't be what it is forever.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, on Wednesday told reporters that they want to get Wisconsin back to normal as quickly as possible.
"We have to pivot," Fitzgerald said. "We just don't know what that date will be. But both at the state level and the national level we need to pivot back to life as we knew it before."
Both Fitzgerald and Vos said they hope to be able to reopen the state and get people back to work in the next month or so. That is also when Gov. Tony Evers' 60-day public health emergency expires.
"I would say once we get passed that 60 days, we have to see a very clear-cut reason, if there is one, to extend beyond those 60 days," Vos said.
He and Fitzgerald knocked down the idea that lawmakers could pass a resolution to undercut Evers' emergency order or the governor's Safer at Home order.
The focus, instead, is getting businesses and workers ready for what comes after the governor's order expires on April 24.
"The one thing that I've heard from a lot of employers is that they are doing everything possible to retain their employees," Fitzgerald said. "Not only because they don't know what the duration of the crisis will be. But they remember, obviously, just a couple of weeks ago it was very difficult to fill some of those positions."
The leaders say there are reports of 100,000 people in Wisconsin applying for unemployment this month.
"Hopefully this is a very short-term recession that we are potentially going into," Vos said. "[Hopefully] people who are unemployed and get their jobs quickly and we can return to some sense of normal."
Vos and Fitzgerald said there are some conversations about what Wisconsin lawmakers could do. But Vos said he doesn't want to duplicate what the federal government is doing, so they are taking a wait-and-see approach.
"I want to understand the ramifications of what they are proposing way before we decide to do anything on our side so we can be smart and wise," Vos added. "We can't print money, and we don't have the ability to borrow for day-to-day operations like the federal government does. So we have to make every dollar stretch further."