Republicans ask for compliance on COVID-19, local leaders say it’s not working, ‘People are dying needlessly’

MADISON, Wis. — There’s been no new legislation or rules on coronavirus to come out of the state capitol in months.

While Republicans who lead the legislature say they want people following health guidelines, Wisconsin numbers now indicate to Dane County Executive Joe Parisi that asking is not enough.

“We know what works and that’s the tragedy within the tragedy that’s occurring right now,” Parisi said. “People are dying needlessly because state leaders have not put in place mandatory guidelines that are proven — that are proven — to reduce illness and suffering and death.”

He wants to see the state take on the approach of Dane County for 30 days: mandatory masks in most places, capacity restrictions and public gathering limits.

“Asking people to voluntarily adhere to guidelines has not worked,” Parisi said. “All you have to do is look at the condition our state is in today.”

Even as we break records daily and add 100,000 cases to the total in two and a half weeks, voluntary compliance and personal responsibility is still the Republican-led legislature’s approach.

In an email to people in his district Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, encourages people to follow the guidelines of wearing a mask, socially distancing and staying home as much as possible.

“I am asking for your help,” he wrote. “I join state health and business leaders and many others in asking that you to do everything you can to curb the spread.”

His office didn’t respond when News 3 Now asked him to explain why he thinks this is the best way. Neither did the majority leader-elect in the state senate.

Even new orders from the governor only encourage people to follow the advice that’s been out for months.

Parisi said a lack of orders in surrounding counties makes it harder on his, but beyond that he said action could save lives.

“If there was ever a time this community and this state needed to come together it’s now,” he said.