By Shereen Siewert

Marathon County officials are urging voluntary participation in the state’s Safer at Home order, while cautioning that willful violations could face jail time and a fine.

In a joint news release issued Wednesday, Marathon County District Attorney Theresa Wetzsteon and law enforcement officials say they are working to foster “voluntary compliance with public health actions” to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The order, issued March 24, requires people in Wisconsin to stay at home with exceptions for essential activities and other extraordinary situations.

“The orders were made for the safety and best interests of the public,” the release states.

State law provides that any person who “willfully violates or obstructs” the order “shall be imprisoned for not more than 30 days or fined not more than $500, or both,” according to the release. The public health officer may also decide to quarantine the offender and officers can detain violators of health orders with the approval of a chief or designee.

“We hope that everyone in our community will voluntarily follow the public health orders and enforcement will not be required,” the release states.

If police are presented with a violation by a business or person, an evaluation will be guided by recommendations by public health officials and the risk to the public.

Marshfield Police took to Facebook to reassure residents that officers will not make random traffic stops or require a permit to drive — an effort to squelch rumors to the contrary.

See the full release, below.

Marathon County DA and LE Press Release re Enforcement of Safer at Home