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Play golf, pick up library books curbside: Evers' order rolls back restrictions on some businesses

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Gov. Tony Evers extended the state's Safer at Home order, but he also loosened restrictions on a few select industries.

Public libraries will now be able to offer curbside pickup. Patrons will not be able to go inside library buildings or vestibules, but they will be able to pick up books and other library materials.

Eileen Force Cahill, the community relations and engagement director for the Milwaukee Public Library, said the original decision to close the libraries was heartbreaking but they're celebrating the changes Evers made this week.

"When the governor's order came through yesterday, our staff was excited," she said. "We are ready to go back to work. We are looking forward to re-engaging with our patrons in every way."

Library staff members are currently putting together a plan of how and when the changes will happen. But they admit the logistics of it, including selecting books and packaging them, won't be easy. They serve more than a million people and have more than 2 million items in their collection.

"Our staff is working today to figure out which libraries and which locations throughout the city we can do this safely. We do have a drive-up at the Central Library location downtown. That's certainly an option for us," Force Cahill said.

Arts and crafts stores are also allowed to offer expanded curbside pickup materials need to make face masks and other personal protective equipment.

"It's extremely important that we are able to be open," said Brad Kleman, the owner of Sew Much More in Waukesha. "There's actually more people sewing than ever before."

Another change that has golfers all over Wisconsin rejoicing: Courses will be allowed to reopen for the ultimate social distancing sport. Courses are also required to make restrictions, including only scheduling tee times online or by phone. Clubhouses have to stay closed.

"Courses aren't allowed to open until April 24th, and we expect them to be busy taking tee times for that date and beyond," said Rob Jansen, executive director of the Wisconsin State Golf Association.

On Friday afternoon, Washington County Administrator and County Executive-elect Josh Schoemann sent a letter to all public and private county courses permitting them to open as early as Saturday.

He said courses may immediately begin booking tee times online and over the phone. All rounds must be pre-paid, the course is not renting golf carts, and the driving range remains closed.

"Our recreation activities have been limited for too long. It is time to smartly begin to open our economy. Allowing recreation activities which allow for social distancing is the first of many steps," Schoemann said in a statement.

CBS 58 contacted Evers' office, and a spokesperson that the changes in the order, including those to golf courses, don't go into effect until 8 a.m. on April 24.

Jansen said the Wisconsin State Golf Association is encouraging courses not to open before April 24. 

"It's going to open up additional outdoor recreational opportunity for people and start to put some people back to work which we think are both great things," Jansen said.

Non-essential businesses will now be able do more things as Minimum Basic Operations including deliveries, mailings and curbside pickup. Non-essential businesses must notify workers whether they are necessary for Minimum Basic Operations.

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