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Wisconsin carwash appeals Safer at Home order

MOUNT PLEASANT, Wis. — According to www.journaltimes.com, Tsunami Car Wash at 6315 Washington Ave. is appealing part of Wisconsin’s Safer At Home order, which has forced some carwashes to close down while others remain open.

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Owner Tracey Erickson has said he may file a federal lawsuit against the state if the business has to remain closed, the article continued.

“It’s not fair to us. We’re encouraging our customers to go to our competitors,” Tsunami Manager Nick Campe said.

Although many local carwashers as well as Mount Pleasant Police Chief Matt Soens alleged that there is a “gray area” in the order to close all “nonessential businesses,” the Racine County District Attorney’s Office says there is not a gray area, the article noted.

On March 30th, Mount Pleasant police officers informed Tsunami Car Wash that it had to shut down because it was considered a nonessential business, but the officers had no written documentation to explain why, the article added.

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The following day, officers came back with a written warning that the carwash was violating a state order, the article continued.

When Erickson heard from the District Attorney’s office that his employees could be fined or jailed for violating the order, he closed the business, the article stated.

However, the enforcement confused Erickson, who owns six Tsunami locations (mostly located in Indiana), since he noticed that carwashes attached to gas stations and auto shops were still operating, the article added.

The Safer At Home order had been in effect for a week before Tsunami received the violation notice, but both Erickson and Campe thought carwashes were included under the exemption that allows vehicle maintenance shops to remain in operation, the article stated.

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Furthermore, the staff had taken extra precautions by closing offices, shutting down vacuums and wiping down equipment every 30 minutes, the article explained.

“We thought we should be good, we’re taking the right precautions,” Campe said. “We believe we are essential to vehicle maintenance … a carwash is a place for people to sanitize their vehicles. There needs to not be a gray area.”

However, Racine County District Attorney Patricia Hanson told The Journal Times, “I don’t believe there is a gray area when it comes to carwashes in Racine County. Carwashes like Rocket Wash (4733 Spring St.), Victory Lane (5310 Washington Ave.), Royal Car Care (3829 Douglas Ave.) and Tsunami Car Wash are only able to provide a carwash to their customers. There are no automotive repairs, no oil change, no gasoline, no groceries, no medicine and nothing that moves them into an essential category. Dirt on a car does not change the way that the car functions. Carwashes at a gas station are still open, as a part of the larger business that is deemed essential. Kwik Trips, Speedway and any other gas stations or gas stations with a convenience store all meet the criteria.

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“As a comparison, Walmart and Target both sell essential items,” Hanson continued. “In addition to that, these stores also sell many, many more items that are nonessential like toys, electronics, clothing and shoes. Target and Walmart are not forced to close parts of the stores, but rather, their essential functions allow the entire store to remain open. The same is true for gas station and auto repair shops that have carwashes.”

The day after closing down, Erickson filed an appeal to the state order, and he was contacted by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. on April 10th, which told him that since carwashes are not explicitly included in the list of exceptions to the order that he had to stay closed, the article noted.

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Erickson said it “was a really lazy answer,” and has since reached out to Gov. Tony Evers’ office for further clarification but has not yet heard back, the article added.

Erickson knows that federal and perhaps even state aid is available, but he would rather not take it, the article stated.

“There’s aid now, but I don’t know if there will be federal aid later … I don’t like taking aid. That’s welfare to me,” he said. “It seems silly for the taxpayer to take that expense.”

Read the original article here.

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