Wisconsin Business Owners Concerned State Might Name Them In COVID Public Data
Some of the state's largest business organizations are petitioning Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers to maintain a level of privacy when releasing COVID-19 details to the general public; at issue is the concern that the state might "name names" of those businesses that have been involved in positive test cases (i.e. the businesses were either patronized by an individual who has tested positive or acted as an employer).
According to news sources, the "Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the Wisconsin Restaurant Association and Wisconsin Grocers Association....sen[t] letters to Evers’ office saying releasing such information would have severe impacts on businesses already struggling through the pandemic". In addition, "Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the state’s largest business organization, also raised concern that such a list would potentially spread false information that could damage Wisconsin employers".
The action was spurred by a sudden increase in requests to the Wisconsin State Health Department - which have requested information about COVID-19 related cases and any business names that are associated with the cases. At the present time, Wisconsin State officials have no plans to include business names in the release of data that they make public about the COVID-19 Pandemic. However, Wisconsin Department of Health Services spokeswoman Elizabeth Goodsitt said "...we are always striving to give Wisconsinites and their communities the information they need to protect themselves from COVID-19.”
Information about businesses that are associated with positive COVID-19 cases is not legally required. In other words, a business that knows that they have had a customer or an employee test positive is not legally required to notify the State of Wisconsin.