‘Lives being destroyed:’ Crowds gather in Brookfield, Burlington to protest ‘Safer at Home’

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BURLINGTON -- Rallies were held in Brookfield and Burlington, Saturday -- calling on state officials to lift the "Safer at Home" order and reopen the state's economy.

The statewide order is set to expire on May 26, but crowds have gathered across the state to say that the one-size-fits-all solution isn't working anymore.

"Safer at Home" protest at Echo Veterans Memorial Park in Burlington

Beneath the trees of Echo Veterans Memorial Park, Patti Hartley stood among a crowd of people anxious to return to work. She owns an electrolysis shop in Burlington.

Patti Hartley

"I still have rent to pay. I still have bills to pay," Hartley said.

Since late March, her doors have been closed. And like many gathered with her at Saturday's rally, she feels the restrictions in place are hurting small businesses.

"I do one client at a time. I can wear a mask. There's absolutely no reason why I can't open up my business, along with the salons," she said.

Protests of "Safer at Home" in Brookfield

A little further north in Brookfield, hundreds -- again -- lined Bluemound Road outside of Brookfield Square, calling on Gov. Tony Evers and Department of Health Services Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm to lift the order. They say the case numbers do not support statewide restrictions.

Karen Duane

"We do care about everybody who's been sick or died from this sickness. Of course, that's awful," Pewaukee resident Karen Duane said. "But there are more lives being destroyed from this lockdown."

Protesters said they'd like the state to deploy a phased approach, letting businesses like restaurants use a partial opening before ramping up down the road.

Crowd protests "Safer at Home" in Brookfield

Alex Hardin

"Do they need to spread out tables? I don't know. Do they need to limit capacity? Perhaps," said Alex Hardin of Okauchee. "What I do know is that what we're doing right now is not necessary."

There wasn't a lot of social distancing to be seen at either rally on Saturday. Some in attendance tell FOX6 News that those that are afraid should just stay home.

In his weekly radio address, Gov. Evers said he, too, wants Wisconsinites to return to work but that keeping the order in place is the best way to move forward at this time.

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