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Wisconsin’s “We’re All In” initiative brings communities together against the spread of COVID-19

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ASHLAND, WI-- Since mid-March, businesses in Wisconsin have been forced to get creative to stay open.

Wisconsin's new "We're All In" campaign is promoting best practices to keep staff and customers safe.

Members of the Wisconsin Economic Development Cooperation, which is leading the initiative, visited Ashland Thursday to learn about the steps businesses in the community are already taking.

On Ashland's Main Street, The Burger Barn made a big change to their business model in order to stay afloat.

"We changed everything. Our whole business concept went from a dine-in concept which we were doing 95%. Maybe 5% of our total sales before were take out, so we had to go from 5% to 100% takeout," said Jackson Kayser, Owner of The Burger Barn.

Kayser and his staff rebranded and survived.

It's that kind of adaptation that Sam Rikkers, with the Wisconsin Economic Development Cooperation, says he's been impressed to see in the city.

"The businesses, like always, are some of the most innovative and entrepreneurial folks out there," said Rikkers. "Just today in Ashland, I've already learned about businesses, that well before this came out, were learning how to pivot."

Now they are taking it a step further with the statewide "We're All In" initiative that is rallying businesses together to do whatever they can to keep their doors open and their customers safe.

"The biggest, best and fastest way that we can all get back to work is by doing the simple things," said Rikkers.

Now that The Burger Barn is back open for in-person dining, the staff has been requiring masks, sanitizing and making changes to their dining room to keep everyone safe and employed.

"I made a promise to our guests, we are gonna continue to serve good food in whatever way we can," said Kayser. "And I made that promise to our staff that I am not gonna lay you off. We are gonna do whatever we can to keep you guys going. And thankfully we have been able to do that."

Any business or community in Wisconsin can take part in the "We're all In" initative by posting a picture in a mask or practicing safe practices using the hashtag #WeAreAllIn.

You can also learn more on their webite.

Natalie Grant

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