Rock County task force could provide insight, guidances for reopening businesses

JANESVILLE, Wis. – Rock County officials are hopeful the creation of a task force will help guide the process of reopening the local economy.

Late Wednesday evening, county health officials announced that they’d be implementing a plan similar to the state’s Safer at Home ordinance.

“A lot of municipalities were reaching out asking us what was going to happen,” said Rock County Board Chair Kara Purviance. “We knew that it was important to be as quick and decisive as quickly as possible.”

The county ordinance extends business closures until May 26. Purviance says in the days since, county leaders have gotten messages of support, but also ones of frustration and anger.

“You’re hearing from constituents that are happy they’re staying at home, but you’re also hearing from constituents who have small businesses, who say they’re suffering or their employees are suffering,” she said.

During a county board meeting Thursday evening, board members voted to create a task force that would pair businesses, schools and places of worship with county health officials to determine the best plan of action for reopening.

“Our goal at this point is not to extend an order,” said County Administrator Josh Smith. “It’s really to work towards a reopening and offer some guidance on a voluntary basis.”

Smith says the task force, which continue to be shaped and meet several times over the next two weeks, will give businesses ideas on how to return safely.

“We do realize that orders aren’t going to go on forever,” he said.  “Our goal really of putting that order in place was to create a smoother transition for county residents.”