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“Safer at Home” order, explained

in Breaking News/COVID-19

By Shereen Siewert

Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday clarified restrictions on a Safer at Home order that prohibits all non-essential travel starting on Wednesday.

Evers issued a news release Tuesday explaining the exceptions to the order, which is embedded at the end of this story. The order takes effect at 8 a.m. March 25 and remains in effect until 8 a.m. on Friday, April 24, or until a superseding order is released. Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm issued the order today.

Under the order, Wisconsin residents can perform tasks essential to maintain health and safety such as obtaining medication or seeing a doctor; get food and supplies for humans and pets necessary for staying home; care for a family member in another household; and care for older adults, minors, dependents, people with disabilities or other vulnerable persons, the release states.

Residents will not need special permission to leave their homes but must comply with the order, Evers said. If a business is an essential business or operation as defined in the order, the business does not need documentation or certification to continue work. Businesses allowed to operate under the order include, but are not limited to:

Businesses allowed to operate under the Safer at Home order include, but are not limited to:

  • Health care operations, including home health workers;
  • Critical infrastructure;
  • Businesses that provide food, shelter, and 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;
  • Banks;
  • 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.

Restaurants may remain open for food take-out or delivery service only. Carryout sales of alcohol beverages and food are allowed, if permitted by state law and municipal ordinance, though delivery of alcohol is not permitted.

Mail and delivery services will continue, as will garbage pickup and taxi services.

Real estate and insurance workers can continue to operate but should do so without face-to-face contact as much as possible and use virtual meeting technology.

Evers also clarified that builders and contractors, along with trade workers such as plumbers, electricians, carpenters and laborers are exempt. See the full list for details.

Religious facilities, entities, groups, and gatherings, and weddings and funerals, are exempt, though any gathering shall include fewer than 10 people in a room or confined space at a time and individuals shall adhere to social distancing requirements as much as possible.

Restaurants may remain open for food take-out or delivery service only.The order contains detailed information regarding the exemptions provided to certain businesses. If a business is unsure about whether or not they are exempted from this order, please contact the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation here.

“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: folks need to start taking this seriously,” said Gov. Evers. “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 healthcare workers have the opportunity to do their important work. Let’s all do our part and work together.”

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