YESTERDAY AFTERNOON, the Wisconsin State Supreme Court struck down Gov. Tony Evers’ extension of the safer-at-home order, leaving the decision to continue or end restrictions up to Wisconsin cities and counties. A number have already decided to continue the order.
The City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County
The city of Milwaukee released a stay at home order that went into effect on March 25. The order has no specified end date, saying that the order “will continue to be in effect until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing by the Health Commissioner.”
In a statement on Wednesday, after the supreme court decision, Mayor Tom Barrett said, “That order remains in effect, including all provisions on public gatherings, restaurants, and bar operations,” which means that restaurants are still limited to take-out, curbside and delivery service.
Eighteen municipalities outside the city of Milwaukee have signed a local order, providing guidelines for business re-opening that will stay in effect until May 21. The order says that retail stores can open but limits the number of individuals inside to 25% of the occupancy limit, and keeps social distancing measures in place. It also limits restaurants and bars to take-out and delivery only.
Personal grooming stores – “Hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, day spas, electrolysis providers, waxing salons, eyebrow-care establishments, tattoo parlors, body art establishments, and tanning facilities” – can also open but with the distancing requirements in place, including work stations six feet apart, one client per service person, no congregating in waiting areas, cloth masks for all staff, screening for COVID-19 symptoms, sanitizing workstations, and appointment-only clients, no walk-ins.
The 18 municipalities released a statement about the order, reading in part, “Our goal with this order is the same as yours – to reopen as safely and quickly as possible. With this order, the suburban municipalities in Milwaukee County have an order in place to protect the lives and livelihoods of our communities. … We will continue to assess local needs and keep everyone informed.”
The City of Racine
Racine public health administrator Dottie-Kay Bowersox extended the safer-at-home restrictions in the City of Racine until May 26, the orders original extension date, saying, “A full and immediate lifting of the safer-at-home order would put all of us in danger of contracting the virus.”
Racine changed one aspect of the original state order, removing religious entities from the “weddings, funerals and religious entities” section of the order, which prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people. Religious entities are now required to follow the section of the order mandating safe business practices instead, which does not limit the number of people but still mandates protective distancing measures.
Bowersox also said that Racine is planning to release its own guidelines before the extension ends on May 26.
Racine County has not extended the order, and the city’s restrictions do not apply to the rest of the county. Racine County executive Jonathan Delagrave released a statement Wednesday, saying, “As we gather information about the state Supreme Court ruling, we are committed to helping lead efforts with our local and regional partners to ensure Racine County reopens in a thoughtful, efficient and safe manner. We are encouraged that businesses can begin to reopen but we must work collaboratively to protect public health and establish consumer confidence. We urge businesses and residents to continue practicing social distancing and taking precautions to protect themselves and others.”
Kenosha County extended the safer-at-home regulations until the original May 26 extension end date. Kenosha County health officer Jen Freiheit said, “The consequences of relaxing safer-at-home before the data and science suggests, would be devastating to our community.”
The restrictions will continue as originally set out in the order across all of Kenosha County until May 26, at 8 a.m.
Dane County extended the majority of the original safer-at-home order until May 26. One notable change: Religious services can resume with gatherings of over 10 people, with distancing and hygiene requirements still in place.
In a press conference Wednesday night, after the Supreme Court ruling, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said, “Our main concern and our main responsibility is to the people of Dane County and we want to let the people of Dane County know that when you wake up tomorrow it’s going to be the same as when you woke up today.”
Brown County public Health Office Anna Destree extended the original safer-at-home order until May 20, six days before the original extension end date.
“This virus knows no boundaries, including county lines, and the most effective way to prevent, control and suppress COVID-19 is for state officials and the state legislature to work together and implement a statewide approach,” Destree said, in the statement. “That has not occurred, and therefore reasonable and necessary local actions must be taken pursuant to the authority vested in me per Wis. Stat. Secs. 252.03 and 252.25. It would be irresponsible to do otherwise given the high number of positive cases found in Brown County.”
The order for Brown County follows all of the original provisions of safer at home, and anyone violating it could receive a $500 fine.
The City of Appleton
The City of Appleton extended the original safer-at-home restrictions until May 20, six days before the original extension end date. The extension includes all provisions from the original order.