WAUSAU, WI (WSAU) - The Marathon County Board of Supervisors is considering a draft ordinance that would give sweeping powers to the Department of Health to deal with future COVID-19 outbreaks.
The county had been informal talks with the Greater Wausau Chamber of Commerce, seeking the support of business leaders. The Chamber said they consider the proposed language overly broad and restrictive and would not support the measure. They are urging phone calls to county board members to express opposition.
A draft of the ordinance would:
· Give the county's health director the power to fine businesses and individuals that don't comply with COVID-19 related orders. The civil forfeiture would be between $100 and $25,000. Penalties would also apply to people who "interfere with an investigation" by refusing to cooperate with health officials. Those who have close personal contact with someone who tests positive would be classified as "probable" or "likely" to be infected, and would be required to comply.
· Order the use of face masks in public if there are additional outbreaks.
· Order quarantines or other restrictions for people who may have been exposed to COVID-19.
· Write specific orders for entire towns or villages if there are additional clusters there.
· Require businesses to close, limit their hours, or limit the number of employees. The county could suspend the licenses of businesses that don't comply, or seek a court injunction.
· Put new limits on the size of public or private gatherings based on new cases, testing capacity or hospital capacity.
The Chamber of Commerce has called for a public hearing on the proposed ordinance. They say conversations with county leaders are ongoing.
The Marathon County Board of Supervisors executive committee will discuss the matter on Thursday.