Governor Announces Plan for Reopening Wisconsin: Badger Bounce Back

April 21, 2020 | COVID | Current Events


With Emergency Order #31, issued on April 20, 2020, Governor Evers and DHS Secretary Andrea Palm have announced “Badger Bounce Back” plan, which outlines important criteria for Wisconsin to be able to reopen its economy in phases.

As stated in a press release from the Governor’s office: “The Badger Bounce Back plan is informed in part by the President’s Guidelines for Opening Up America Again that was issued by the White House on April 16, 2020. Currently, Wisconsin does not meet the criteria the White House established to start reopening our state. The Badger Bounce Back plan takes important steps to get the state of Wisconsin there.”

The full plan can be found here and a summary fact sheet put out by the State of Wisconsin can be found here. The key points of the plan are outlined below.

Goals and Criteria

The goals and criteria Wisconsin must achieve in order to move through phases of reopening, as outlined in the Badger Bounce Back plan, are as follows:


  • Goal of 85,000 tests per week, averaging about 12,000 tests per day
  • Every Wisconsinite who tests positive being interviewed within 24 hours of receiving their test results and their contacts being interviewed within 48 hours of test results



  • Procure Personal Protective Equipment to support healthcare and public safety agencies
  • Bolster healthcare system capacity where patients can be treated without crisis care
  • More robust testing programs for at-risk healthcare workers



  • Downward trajectory of influenza-like illnesses and COVID-19 symptoms reported within a 14-day period
  • Downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period
  • Decreasing number of infected healthcare workers

Phased Approach

The Order requires Wisconsin to adopt a phased approach to reopening and explains that each phase will be announced with a new order which will lay out the activities that will resume. Progress in each of the above goals will inform the decision of whether to move into or through a Phase, fully or partially. The phases will be:

  • Phase One will:

    • Allow gatherings of up to 10 people
    • Allow restaurants to reopen with social distancing requirements
    • Remove certain restrictions on retail and other Essential Businesses and Operations
    • Allow schools (K-12) and childcare settings to resume full operation
  • Phase Two will:

    • Allow gatherings of up to 50 people
    • Allow restaurants to resume full operation
    • Allow bars to reopen with social distancing requirements
    • Allow non-essential businesses to resume operations with social distancing requirements
    • Allow colleges to resume operation
  • Phase Three will:

    • Resume all business activity
    • Resume all gatherings
    • Minimal protective and preventative measures will be in place for the general public
    • More protective measures will be in place for vulnerable populations


The Order allows for interim orders for smaller steps of progression within each Phase (e.g., reducing restrictions on certain businesses or sectors). It also allows for orders to be issued by DHS that apply only to a particular location, county, or region, tailoring restrictions based on the needs of the location, as may be the case where there are localized outbreaks.

When will we see changes? No specific timeline is laid out for the Phases; however, the Order recognizes that, while the Safer at Home order, as extended, expires May 26, the Phases, or portions of the Phases, of the Badger Bounce Back plan may be implemented prior to or subsequent to the expiration of the Safer at Home order.

If you have questions about the rights and obligations of your business, contact Kramer, Elkins & Watt, LLC.

Stay tuned to KEW Tips for updates as they occur. In the meantime, stay safe!