Evers issues 'Safer at Home' order


March 25, 2020



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MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Tony Evers directed the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to issue a Safer at Home order prohibiting all nonessential travel Tuesday as the state works to combat the spread of the COVID-19, or coronavirus, pandemic.

The order takes effect at 8 a.m. today, and runs through the morning of April 24, unless an order suspending it is issued prior to that date.

“I know the COVID-19 outbreak has been difficult and has disrupted the lives of people across our state. 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: people need to start taking this seriously,” Evers said when announcing the order. “Each and every one of us has to do our part to help slow the spread of COVID-19 so we can flatten the curve to ensure our doctors, nurses and health care workers have the opportunity to do their important work. Let's all do our part and work together.”

Wisconsin is one of several states to issue orders requiring people to stay home and avoid all non-essential travel — including Michigan, where Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's order took effect Tuesday.

Although people don't need special permission to leave their homes under Evers' order, according to the announcement, they must be in compliance regarding a permissible reason to leave.

Under the respective orders in both states, people can only leave their homes if they are:

—Working in one of the essential businesses that are allowed to continue operating during the orders and doing something that can't be completed remotely.

—Seeking medical care or services of some kind.

—Participating in an outdoor recreational activity such as hiking or fishing while still able to maintain the six feet of distance from others not in your immediate family needed for social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus.

—Getting groceries, take out orders, medicine or other medical supplies, or any other products necessary to maintain safety, sanitation and the basic operation of a home.

—Caring for a family member, children, the elderly or disabled, or pets of family members in other homes.

—Visiting someone in a health care or residential care facility to the extent that is otherwise permitted.

—Attending a court proceeding.

—Traveling between their homes inside or outside the state.

—Participating in any of the other specific exemptions designated in the orders.

People who do leave their homes are still directed to practice social distancing and avoiding close contact with others while out.

Violation of Evers' order is punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a fine of up to $250 or both, according to the language of the order. Michigan residents may face a misdemeanor charge for violating their state's order.

Any Wisconsin businesses that are unsure of whether they are exempt from that state's order can contact the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation at wedc.org/essentialbusiness. In Michigan, anyone with questions about the state's actions to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus can call a hotline, 1-888-535-6136 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. EDT daily.

Officials in both states continue to encourage residents to take other steps to help reduce the chance of spreading the virus, such as properly washing hands, avoiding touching the face, decontaminating surfaces and staying home if sick.


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