Madison, Wis. (March 24, 2020) – Gov. Tony Evers has directed state health officials to issue a stay-at-home order for Wisconsin prohibiting non-essential travel, with some exceptions, amid the continued spread of COVID-19 in the state.
The order, issued Tuesday morning by the state Department of Health Services at the direction of the governor, will go into effect at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25, and remain in effect until April 24, unless another order is made in the interim.
Under the order, people don’t need permission to leave their homes, but are only allowed to do so for specific things, like going to the grocery store or going to the doctor.
Essential businesses and operations, like hospitals, grocery stores and pharmacies, are allowed to continue operations and don’t need any special certification to do so.
The governor had previously said such an order wouldn’t be necessary in Wisconsin, but now says it’s essential to preserving the health and safety of Wisconsin residents.
“Issuing a ‘Safer at Home’ order isn’t something I thought we’d have to do and it’s not something I take lightly, but here’s the bottom line: folks need to start taking this seriously,” the governor said.
The order allows residents to:
- Perform tasks essential to maintain health and safety, such as obtaining medicine or seeing a doctor;
- Get necessary services or supplies for themselves or their family or household members, such as getting food and supplies, pet food and supplies necessary for staying at home;
- Care for a family member in another household; and
- Care for older adults, minors, dependents, people with disabilities or other vulnerable persons.
Essential businesses and operations allowed to stay open during the lockdown include:
- Health care operations, including home health workers;
- Critical infrastructure;
- Businesses that provide food, shelter, social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise vulnerable individuals;
- Fresh and non-perishable food retailers, including convenience stores, grocery stores, farmers’ markets and food banks;
- Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food and goods directly to residences;
- Pharmacies, health care supply stores and health care facilities;
- Child care facilities, with some limitations;
- Gas stations and auto repair facilities;
- Laundry businesses, dry cleaners and services necessary for maintaining the safety, sanitation and essential operation of a residence, including garbage collection;
- Hardware stores, plumbers and electricians;
- Educational institutions, for the purposes of facilitating distance learning;
- Roles required for any business to maintain minimum basic operations, which includes security and payroll; and
- Law and safety, and essential government functions will continue under the recommended action.
The governor’s order comes as more cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Wisconsin. As of Monday, there were 416 confirmed cases in the state.