Though Gov. Tony Evers is discouraging nonessential travel, Sturgeon Bay Administrator Josh VanLieshout reminds residents that lodging remains an essential service.
“Lodging facilities – be they hotels, motels or other short-term rentals – are often home for temporary workers and displaced persons,” he said.
The city has received informal complaints about cars with out-of-state license plates showing up in the parking lots of grocery stores and lodging facilities.
“It is a false assumption that a license plate from out of state is a leisure traveler in violation of the Safer at Home order,” VanLieshout said. “In Door County alone, there are four detachments of the Coast Guard, and the women and men who make up the service come from all over the country.” He also said that many manufacturers that are deemed essential rely on contractors or technical experts who travel to Sturgeon Bay from outside Door County or outside the state.
The need for lodging facilities through the health crisis was evident when a family was displaced by fire recently. Sturgeon Bay Fire Chief Tim Dietman said that “when a fire displaces a family, they need a safe place to stay, and most often that is a hotel or motel.”
Mayor David Ward said efforts have begun to prepare for guests once travel advisories have been relaxed.
“Our success this summer, with both the tourism economy and limiting the spread of COVID-19, will be dependent upon how well we all adapt to social-distancing norms,” Ward said.