Huzzah for the city leaders in Hartford and the Washington County Sheriff.
HARTFORD — In what Mayor Tim Michalak said could be the biggest decision ever made by the Common Council, aldermen on Tuesday night unanimously agreed to have city staff create a plan to reopen city buildings and services no later than Monday and try to gradually bring them back to normal levels.
“We want the local businesses to also know the police department will not be overtly enforcing the state ‘stay at home’ order,” Michalak said. “Our department will be enforcing criminal and traffic laws.”
City officials said local businesses could reopen after that date “at their own risk and after careful consideration and consultation with their insurance agent and with customers.” The decision comes despite Gov. Tony Evers’ recent announcement to extend the Safer at Home order and other state-imposed rules to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
“It’s time we do something. We can’t let this go on another month without opening up.”
Michalak said the city is not telling businesses to open up, but city officials are not going to kick in their door if they decide to do it and Washington County Sheriff Martin Schulteis has backed the city up in this decision.
“When it comes to the different communities he said he is going to follow ‘home rule,’ which means if they have their own Police Department he will allow that department to enforce the rules and or take action,” Michalak said. ‘We are saying we’re not going to be the boot that’s on their neck.’
The mayor said he has received numerous phone calls and emails from business owners who said they are faced with possibly closing their doors for good if the state-imposed orders are allowed to continue.
“We’re going to open the library and we’re going to open the public buildings,” Michalak said. “If we don’t do something soon to help our local
businesses we could see another depression. We need to bring freedom back to Hartford.”