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Chippewa Valley Republicans call for regional reopening of Wisconsin

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Rob Summerfield
Treig Pronschinske

Chippewa County (WQOW) - Area Republicans, with some Chippewa County business leaders, called for a regional reopening of Wisconsin's economy during a press conference on Thursday.

Rep. Rob Summerfield (R-Bloomer) was joined by Rep. Treig Pronschinske (R-Mondovi), Rep. Jesse James (R-Altoona), Sen. Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls) and business leaders Loopy Kleich, owner of Loopy's; Sara Nelson, owner of Shear Style in Bloomer and Bruce Mlsna, CEO of River Country Coop.

Summerfield said the curve has been flattened in Wisconsin which was the original goal of Safer-at-Home. He said reopening Wisconsin will be gradual, but it is time to get started because farmers, manufacturers and business owners have told them they are struggling.

Summerfield said it doesn't make sense to treat southeast Wisconsin and northwest Wisconsin the same - pointing to the large number of cases in the Milwaukee area compared to the Chippewa Valley.

Mlsna said 40 of his 600 employees have been furloughed thus far as sales continue to drop. He said convenience store income for River Country is down 25-40% and the company is losing roughly $40,000 each day.

Sara Nelson, owner of Shear Style, feels her salon can reopen safely. She said beauticians already work more than six feet apart.

"We need to get back to work," Nelson said.

She pointed to some older people who cannot wash their own hair and said going to the salon is not just about haircuts; it is people's therapy.

Loopy Kleich, who owns the bar and restaurant where the press conference was held, said his sales are down 70% in the last month. Between Loopy's Grill and Saloon and his newest venture Loopy's High Shores Supper Club, he is worried about losing even more money over the summer months.

"This is not about profits, but survival," Kleich said. "Now is the time to open."

The Republicans said they are working on three different plans to reopen the state should the Wisconsin Supreme Court rule against the order the governor and DHS have in place.

Clint Berge

Clint Berge is the Social Media & Digital Content Manager for Eau Claire’s Own WQOW News 18.
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