City leaders react how businesses will be impacted following Coulee COVID-19 Compass’ removal

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Managing a health crisis requires guidance.

“I think that our businesses are looking for leadership,” Downtown Mainstreet executive director Robin Moses said.

For about two months, many local businesses relied on the Coulee COVID-19 Compass as another source for that guidance.

However, on August 5 the La Crosse County Health Department abruptly scrapped the compass.

“Right now, everyone is kind of figuring out how to move forward,” Moses said.

Moses says the compass helped businesses make key decisions.

“Whether it was how many people they could have in their business, or you know how they needed to interact with the public,” Moses said.

Businesses are still more than capable to continue making their own decisions. But without the compass, some new challenges lie ahead.

“It’s not easy to treat everything equally,” Moses said. “We have to remember that we’re living through a situation that we have not before.”

Joe Kruse, interim CEO for the La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce, says businesses are going to need to keep pushing through.

“We need to learn to do our best to live with it, and keep everybody as safe as possible,” Kruse said.

Kruse says the compass did not come without issues.

“Just understanding the impact of the context of the information on the organizations, and the timeliness of the information I think was another issue,” Kruse said. “It’s hard for businesses to know what do to…And I think that’s what led to the changes that we’re seeing.”

But he is confident the health department will come up with a more efficient process.

“The players involved in this understand the importance of getting good, useful data,” Kruse said.

Right now, businesses will continue looking for help to operate safely, whether that’s from the local, state or federal level.

“I think right now, especially for a small business, they are faced with incredible challenges,” Moses said. “And they need someone to help guide them.”

The health department plans to work with healthcare partners for a new process, which will be announced in a news conference Friday.