Gov. Evers extends Wisconsin ‘safer at home’ order until May 26
Gov. Tony Evers on Thursday extended Wisconsin’s ‘safer at home’ order that was originally slated to expire next week for another month, keeping non-essential businesses closed until May 26 to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Schools will be closed the remainder of the academic year under the order.
News of the extension comes amid growing criticism from conservatives who are pushing Evers, and governors in other states, to loosen restrictions to more quickly reopen states. Opponents of the order planned a rally at the state Capitol on April 24, the end date of the original order.
Evers issued the original order on March 25 but has said in recent days he has made clear that an extension was likely. Health officials have said that Wisconsin is making progress on slowing the spread of the virus, but that lifting all restrictions now would reverse the trend and overwhelm hospitals.
Schools will remain closed, but Evers is making some changes. Golf courses, which had been ordered closed, will now be allowed to open under the latest order.
The changes in the order include:
Businesses and activities ramping up service and operations:
- Public libraries: Public libraries may now provide curb-side pick-up of books and other library materials.
- Golf Courses: Golf courses may open again, with restrictions including scheduling and paying for tee times online or by phone only. Clubhouses and pro shops must remain closed.
- Non-essential Businesses: Non-essential businesses will now be able to do more things as Minimum Basic Operations, including deliveries, mailings, and curb-side pick-up. Non-essential businesses must notify workers of whether they are necessary for the Minimum Basic Operations.
- Arts and Crafts Stores: Arts and craft stores may offer expanded curb-side pick-up of materials necessary to make face masks or other personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Aesthetic or Optional Exterior Work: Aesthetic or optional exterior law care or construction is now allowed under the extended order, so long as it can be done by one person.
Safe Business Practices:
- Safe Business Practices for Essential Businesses and Operations: Essential Businesses and Operations must increase cleaning and disinfection practices, ensure that only necessary workers are present, and adopt policies to prevent workers exposed to COVID-19 or symptomatic workers from coming to work.
- Safe Business Practices for Retailers that Essential Businesses and Operations: Retail stores that remain open to the public as Essential Businesses and Operations must limit the number of people in the store at one time, must provide proper spacing for people waiting to enter, and large stores must offer at least two hours per week of dedicated shopping time for vulnerable populations.
- Supply Chain: Essential Businesses and Operations that are essential because they supply, manufacture, or distribute goods and services to other Essential Businesses and Operations can only continue operations that are necessary to those businesses they supply. All other operations must continue as Minimum Basic Operations.
Other changes include:
- Schools: Public and private K-12 schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
- Local parks and open space: Local health officials may close public parks and open spaces if it becomes too difficult to ensure social distancing or the areas are being mistreated.
- Travel: People are strongly encourage to stay close to home, not travel to second homes or cabins, and not to travel out-of-state if it is not necessary.
- Tribal Nations: Tribal Nations are sovereign over their territory and can impose their own restrictions. Non-tribal members should be respectful of and avoid non-essential travel to Tribal territory. Local government must coordinate, collaborate, and share information with Tribal Nations.
- Duration: The changes in this order go into effect on April 24, 2020. The order will remain in effect until 8 a.m. on May 26, 2020.
You can find answers to some questions regarding the order here.