Door County, Wis. (April 16, 2020) – The Door County Public Heath Department has announced the immediate temporary closure of all campgrounds in Door County as a “reasonable and necessary act to prevent, suppress, and control the COVID-19 virus.”
Susan Powers, Door County Health Officer/Public Health Manager, announced the campground closure order, and referenced the applicability of Wis. Statute Sec. 252.03, which states: “It is the duty of the local health officers to promptly take all measures necessary to prevent, suppress, and control communicable diseases.”
Although the Governor’s Evers “Safer at Home” Order (Executive Order #12) lists campgrounds as essential, Powers said, there are additional factors that are unique to Door County:
1. A large percentage of the Door County population is aged, and data demonstrates that the aged population is particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.
2. There are a large number of campgrounds in Door County, which draw thousands of people from inside and outside of the area.
3. Camping in Door County encourages non-essential travel.
4. Camping allows for unmonitored congregating of groups greater than ten (10) people, which is prohibited under Governor Evers’ “Safer at Home” Order (Executive Order #12).
5. Camping and related activities reduce the ability to properly social distance, especially in communal campground situations (e.g. campsites and bathrooms).
6. The influx of campers to Door County will further tax already limited resources (e.g., health care system, groceries and other necessities) within Door County.
Powers noted that seasonal campground site occupants who arrived on or before April 15, 2020 may be allowed to remain in place. However, any seasonal site occupant that leaves the campground to return to his or her place of residence is not permitted to return to re-occupy the seasonal site.
All seasonal site occupants that arrived on or before April 15, 2020 are encouraged to return to their place of residence.
The new Health Order is effective April 15, 2020 and will remain in effect through May 15th or so long as Executive Order #12 is in effect, whichever is longer.
Powers stated that the Door County Public Health Department is aware that the Frequently Asked Questions, which accompany Executive Order #12, lists campgrounds as an “Essential Business.” However, Governor Evers has since ordered the DNR to close 40 state parks, forests and recreational areas and the DNR has closed campgrounds in state parks and recreation areas through April 30th. These actions by the State are consistent with and support the need for this Health Order.
If you have questions or immediate needs related to COVID-19, call 2-1-1 or text COVID-19 to 211-211. For up-to-date information, monitor the Door County Government website; Door County Public Health Facebook page; and the DHS website for updates, and follow @DHSWI on Facebook and Twitter, or DHS WI on Instagram. Additional information can be found on the CDC website.