Public support for quarantine safeguards is helped by volunteers delivering goods to those staying safer at home. (Shutterstock image)
Public support for quarantine safeguards is helped by volunteers delivering goods to those staying safer at home. (Shutterstock image)

Shuttered business owner, laid-off account executive voice support for continued shutdowns in the name of public health.

Susan Berna, an account executive from Milwaukee is laid off. She can’t make a living. 

But she still supports the safer-at-home order that the conservative majority on the state Supreme Court seems all too eager to overturn, even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am afraid for myself and for others,” Berna said.

Travis Schachtner, a small business owner and former Democratic Assembly candidate in St. Croix County, is likewise shut down. But he also supports the stay-home order.

“We can survive this whole thing, but … we’re caught in a catch .22,” Schachtner said. “If we rush to reopen and there’s another shutdown, it’ll impact our business ever worse than before.”

Berna and Schachtner were two speakers at a Tuesday press conference hosted by liberal group A Better Wisconsin Together. The conference highlighted overwhelming public support for stay-home measures. 

Two weeks ago, 74 percent of respondents told Public Policy Polling they were either satisfied with current social distancing requirements or they wanted harsher restrictions.

In late March, 86 percent of respondents to the Marquette Law School Poll said Gov. Tony Evers made the right call by closing schools and businesses, and 76 percent approved of Evers’ handling of the pandemic.

For Joe Zepecki, a spokesman for health care advocacy group Protect Our Care, those numbers were incredibly significant.

“We are a coin flip, 50-50 state,” Zepecki said. “It almost doesn’t matter the issue.… We almost never see numbers in support of anything north of 60 percent. That’s our reality.”

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has pushed for a regional reopening. Refuting this, Berna invoked the infamous image of Vos claiming it was “incredibly safe to go out” while he stood in full-body protective gear during the April 7 election.

“Unless Robin Vos has a deal on some hazmat suits that we can all have, I think he better put his money where his mouth is,” Berna said. “I’d like to see him out there.”

Berna said she blames the shutdown on the Trump Administration’s botched response to the pandemic, and said the president is still contributing to mass confusion by calling for protesters to “liberate” their states while simultaneously promoting social distancing guidelines.

Trump’s interest in promoting public health, however, has waned over time. On Thursday, the New York Times reported the White House has now rejected detailed guidelines from CDC health experts to help schools, restaurants, churches, and other establishments safely reopen. 

Instead, Trump is apparently abandoning any idea of carefully reopening the county and wants the economy to begin recovery, even if that means untold numbers of deaths

News also broke this week that Trump planned to disband the coronavirus task force, despite growing death and case projections. The president has since walked those plans back, claiming he “had no idea how popular the task force is.” (Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and one of the two leading medical experts on the task force, has gained a cult-like following.)

“I want nothing more than to be earning a living again, but this is not how you go about doing it in the right way,” Berna said.