Prominent Wisconsin health care, business organizations unveil effort to slow pandemic spread

Madison, WI – As the pace of COVID-19 infections continues to increase rapidly in Wisconsin, a robust group of the state’s leading advocacy organizations have launched a new coalition aimed at combatting the growing COVID-19 crisis.

Stop the COVID Spread!” is a coalition of more than 20 of Wisconsin’s leading health care, business, and advocacy organizations, including the Wisconsin Technology Council and the related Wisconsin Healthcare Business Forum.

The coalition has formed to underscore the seriousness of the pandemic and the critical need for preventative measures, including social distancing, hand washing, and the use of protective masks. The organization addressed the looming public health crisis that is threatening to overwhelm health care systems around the state.

“As Wisconsin faces a surge of COVID-19 infections, we are also seeing a surge in hospitalizations and other related effects that are straining hospital capacity and other resources,” said Eric Borgerding, Wisconsin Hospital Association president and chief executive officer. “Applying preventative measures is absolutely crucial to curbing the spread of this virus and its impacts on our state. We are urging the public to please take the virus seriously and double down on all of these measures to help control the pandemic.”

The new coalition builds on previous statewide efforts to educate Wisconsinites about the public health crisis, including a series of public service announcements launched by various partner organizations encouraging the use of crucial safety measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“The WRA has been committed to providing restaurants with the latest information and resources on keeping employees and customers safe and encourage all restaurants to follow public health guidelines and best practices,” said Kristine Hillmer, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, one of the co-chairs of the new coalition. “The majority of restaurants in Wisconsin have been vigilant in taking these safety precautions very seriously and we urge them to continue these efforts.”

“Grocers across the state have always focused on cleanliness and sanitation as an everyday business practice. When the pandemic hit, grocers upped their game to the highest levels,” added Brandon Scholz, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Grocers Association, another coalition co-chair. “We hope that others will join our commitment and take on responsibility to do what they can to help stop the spread!”

Coalition efforts will include a new public service announcement on broadcast channels statewide, as well as a digital advertising campaign. These campaigns will urge Wisconsin residents to take preventative measures seriously in order to keep the state’s health care system stable and accessible, protect the health and safety of workers, and prevent further shutdown of Wisconsin businesses and economic functions.

“Communities all around Wisconsin are facing a COVID-19 crisis,” said Mark O’Connell, executive director of the Wisconsin Counties Association. “By working together, we hope that we can help demonstrate the seriousness of the current public health crisis and show that employing personal preventative measures is something that all Wisconsin residents can do to help slow the spread.”

Each of the coalition member organizations will also be engaging their own staff and members on employing preventative measures to help combat the growing public health crisis.

“Wisconsin’s employers have taken countless steps to ensure workers, customers and the public are protected, but we must all continue to observe these guidelines and best practices outside the workplace,” added Kurt Bauer, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce president and CEO. “To ensure a robust economic comeback, our business leaders must also be community leaders as we all work together to slow the spread and safely reopen our economy.”

Tech Council President Tom Still added that Wisconsin’s businesses, health groups and other organizations are taking strong steps to protect their employees and customers, but personal responsibility outside those settings will go a long way toward protecting everyone.

“Wisconsin is seen as a COVID hotspot right now, which is not good for our business or cultural reputation today or moving ahead. Some basic actions by individuals can help bring the virus under control in our state,” Still said.

10/26/2020 update: The latest 30-second ad features Packers players Adrian Amos, Kenny Clark and Marquez Valdes-Scantling encouraging Wisconsin residents to do their part in the team effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

The Milwaukee Brewers and Milwaukee Bucks are also joining the coalition as it expands its efforts.

The teams join more than 35 business and public health groups banding together in an appeal to Wisconsinites to do all they can in their personal lives to fight COVID-19.

“Teamwork is critical to success in baseball, and we are joining the ‘Stop the COVID Spread!’ team to encourage Wisconsin residents to take precautions,” said Rick Schlesinger, president of business operations for the Brewers.

“As Wisconsin continues to see the COVID-19 crisis grow, we must do our part to reduce infections and hospitalizations,” said Alex Lasry, senior vice president of the Bucks.

Eric Borgerding, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Hospital Association said having the pro teams’ voices on the coalition “could not have come at a more important time” as COVID-19 continues to spread at an “alarming rate” and set new records daily.


For more information about the Stop the Spread coalition and the importance of safe behaviors for both public and state economic health, visit or contact one of the coalition co-chairs:

Wisconsin Hospital Association – Myranda Tanck,
Wisconsin Grocers Association – Brandon Scholz,
Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce – Nick Novak,
Wisconsin Restaurant Association – Tracy Kosbau,
Wisconsin Counties Association – Mark D. O’Connell,

The growing coalition is currently made up of the following organizations:

  • Wisconsin Hospital Association, CO-CHAIR
  • Wisconsin Counties Association, CO-CHAIR
  • Wisconsin Grocers Association, CO-CHAIR
  • Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC), CO-CHAIR
  • Wisconsin Restaurant Association, CO-CHAIR
  • LeadingAge Wisconsin
  • League of Municipalities
  • Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC)
  • Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin
  • Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative
  • UW System
  • Wisconsin Association of Health Plans
  • Wisconsin Bankers Association
  • Wisconsin Builders Association
  • Wisconsin Dental Association
  • Wisconsin Health Care Association / Wisconsin Center for Assisted Living
  • Wisconsin Healthcare Business Forum
  • Wisconsin Medical Society
  • Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association
  • Wisconsin Realtors Association
  • Wisconsin Safety Council
  • Wisconsin State Telecommunication Association
  • Wisconsin Technology Council