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Weekend Roundup: Wausau Leaders Condemn Comments From Anti-Black Lives Matter Group

Supporting Wisconsin's Health Care Workers, Business Mask Mandates And More

Wausau protest
Protesters gathered in Wausau on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, to demonstrate against the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha. Rob Mentzer/WPR

After a week of controversy relating to diversity in Marathon County, community members are pushing back against an anti-Black Lives Matter event set to take place Saturday in Wausau.

The group speaking at Saturday’s event calls itself “Every Black Life Matters” and believes there is “only one race” and that “every life matters,” the Wausau Daily Herald reported.

Wausau School Board members Ka Lo and Jane Rusch released a statement Friday morning, condemning the event.

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“The behavior that was allowed to occur at the Marathon County Board’s Educational meeting on May 20, 2021 was abhorrent and we condemn all forms of bullying,” they said in the statement. “We are absolutely appalled that guests of our community would come here and blatantly attack a leader of our City and our community.”

We Called Them Heroes. How Will We Support Wisconsin’s Health Care Workers As They Grapple With The Trauma Of COVID?

Health care workers are feeling drained and traumatized after spending more than a year losing more patients than usual and working long, stressful hours to help curb the coronavirus pandemic.

Before the pandemic, people working in the medical field were already feeling burned out, and after last year, some are feeling it even more. The job is nothing short of demanding.

“Imagine the worst-case scenario at your job, every day, for a year. Why would you stay in that?” Kelsey Vandersteen, a trauma ICU nurse at UW Health, told reporter Madeline Heim.

As Heim reports for the Green Bay Press Gazette, “last year, health care workers saw an unprecedented level of sickness and death — sometimes needing to treat patients in hallways or parking garages, and holding up tablets so their loved ones could say remote goodbyes. Meanwhile, many Americans were turning a blind eye to the threat of the virus, even calling it a hoax.”

Heim delves in to the support exhausted health care workers need and are receiving as the world transition out of the pandemic.

Wisconsin was awarded $2 million in grants to help fund mental health support for health care workers and employees of long-term care facilities. Some hospitals are setting up phone lines with psychiatry departments employees can call.

Hospitals are also setting up mindfulness sessions and creating special rooms for staff to decompress and relax.

Employers can also promote a healthy work-life balance by encouraging time off, talking about trauma and recognizing the hard work of employees, one expert said.

Wisconsin Employers Mulling Future Of Mask Mandates After CDC Drops Certain Mask Requirements

Employers are having to decide whether to lift their mask-wearing rules after federal and local mask requirements are being dropped.

Some businesses are asking employees to provide copies of vaccination cards. Some are going off an honor system.

Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s announcement to drop most mask requirements for fully vaccinated people, more and more national companies have announced they are eliminating their mask-wearing requirements. And as the vaccination rate goes up daily, more companies are being faced with the decision.

A recent survey from Milwaukee’s downtown business improvement district found nearly 55 percent of employers’ plan to return to work by September and more than 70 percent plan to return to work by the end of 2021.

A sign on a clear glass door says
Signs instruct customers to wear face masks and maintain social distancing Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in Madison, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

Independent Pro Baseball Team Coming To Oconomowoc

The American Association of Professional Baseball — an official partner league of Major League Baseball — announced Oconomowoc will be home to the league’s 12th team.

Lake Country, the stadium and training facility, is scheduled to open in 2022, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

“The American Association has always held a high standard when it comes to innovation, having first in class facilities, the top players, and the best operators in the best markets for minor league baseball. This new ballpark and these operators will certainly be no exception to those standards that have been established. We very much look forward to this innovative stadium and team playing ball in 2022,” Joshua Schaub, commissioner of the American Association of Professional Baseball, said.

A contest to name the team was launched, and fans have until May 28 to submit their ideas. The winner will be announced June 10.

Restaurants Are Welcoming Back Diners, But Say Mask Rules Have Them Relying On Trust

As many mask mandates and indoor capacity limits are scaled back or expired around the country, many restaurants and bars are attempting to navigate how to welcome back hungry crowds in the post-vaccine era.

By and large, the hospitality industry has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic as many customers stayed home while governments enacted public safety measures that sought to restrict crowd sizes. As state and local governments lift or amend their mask mandates, businesses like restaurants and bars have been left to make and enforce their own rules. Restaurants are among many businesses that are attempting to fully reopen while continuing to protect workers and lure back customers.

Larry Lynch, senior vice president of science and industry at the National Restaurant Association, told NPR businesses like restaurants and bars have been left to craft and enforce their own rules. The National Restaurant Association, the largest food-service trade association representing nearly 500,000 establishments, told its members to operate on trust regarding the CDC guidance, Lynch said.