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Gov. Evers extends safer at home order to May 26

NOW: Gov. Evers extends safer at home order to May 26

Updated: 7:41 p.m. on April 16, 2020

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – Governor Tony Evers ordered the extension of the current Safer at Home order to continue until May 26, while the state’s republicans voice growing criticism of the administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

While the Safer at Home order is extended, it also includes steps for some non-essential businesses and places to begin opening and operating at lowered or minimum operations, including public libraries and golf courses. The extension of the order also closes all public and private K-12 schools for the remainder of the year.

Evers said in a media briefing that he recognizes the sacrifices made by Wisconsinites thus far, but that the next phase of the state’s response will aim to strengthen vital supplies, boost testing and increase contact tracing in order to prepare for the “reopening” of the state. But the governor acknowledged that the virus continues to dictate the timeline of the state’s response.

“If we’re successful in getting these pieces in place that are absolutely essential for us to reopen as a state, if we continue doing what we’re doing we may be in a position to do this earlier,” Evers said. “It may be later. We’ll work hard to make sure that we do it right.”

But there’s a growing political crisis mounting on top of the health crisis.

Republicans in the Legislature reacted overwhelmingly critical to news of Evers extending the Safer at Home order.

“While everyone shares the goal of protecting public health, the governor’s order goes too far,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R – Rochester) and Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R – Kaukana) said in a joint statement. “The Safer at Home order’s main intent was to flatten the curve, which we have successfully done to this point, not devastate our families.”

During the media briefing Thursday, Dr. Ryan Westergaard, the Chief Medical Officer of the Bureau of Communicable Diseases, said that while the Safer at Home order has been successful in helping flatten the curve, it’s still too early to determine if the state has reached its peak or not.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald echoed the sentiments of his Assembly colleagues and added that he and others will look into taking action.

“The Senate has not been part of this conversation and we are planning to look for legal or legislative relief to truly work with the governor to make these very serious decisions that will have long-term effects on our businesses, our children, and our way of life,” Fitzgerald said in a statement.

On top of that, GOP Senators David Craig (R – Town of Vernon) and Steve Nass (R – Whitewater) called on the Senate to hold an extraordinary session and take up Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm’s appointment and vote to reject it, essentially firing the state’s top public health official in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. They criticized her handling of the state’s response to the pandemic and raise questions about the legality of her powers to extend the Safer at Home order. Instead, the republican senators want Governor Evers to work with the Legislature moving forward on crafting policy and plans regarding the pandemic and its effects on the state.

The governor’s chief legal counsel said Palm is within her powers to extend the Safer at Home order. He also noted that the governor’s public health emergency declaration, which ends on May 12, is separate from the Safer at Home order. The governor’s public health declaration has a limit of 60 days, but the DHS secretary powers are ongoing.

During the media briefing Thursday, Palm noted that the extension of the order is vital to slowing the spread of the virus.

"If we open up to soon, we risk overwhelming out hospitals and requiring more drastic physical distancing measures,” Palm said.

More details regarding the extension of the Safer at Home order can be found below:

The extension of the Safer at Home order includes a few changes. Some changes allow more businesses and activities to open back up, while other changes help make businesses safer for employees and customers. The changes in this order include:

Businesses and activities ramping up service and operations:

  • Public libraries: Public libraries may now provide curb-side pick-up of books and other library materials.
  • Golf Courses: Golf courses may open again, with restrictions including scheduling and paying for tee times online or by phone only. Clubhouses and pro shops must remain closed.
  • Non-essential Businesses: Non-essential businesses will now be able to do more things as Minimum Basic Operations, including deliveries, mailings, and curb-side pick-up. Non-essential businesses must notify workers of whether they are necessary for the Minimum Basic Operations.
  • Arts and Crafts Stores: Arts and craft stores may offer expanded curb-side pick-up of materials necessary to make face masks or other personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Aesthetic or Optional Exterior Work: Aesthetic or optional exterior lawn care or construction is now allowed under the extended order, so long as it can be done by one person.

Safe Business Practices:

  • Safe Business Practices for Essential Businesses and Operations: Essential Businesses and Operations must increase cleaning and disinfection practices, ensure that only necessary workers are present, and adopt policies to prevent workers exposed to COVID-19 or symptomatic workers from coming to work.
  • Safe Business Practices for Retailers that Essential Businesses and Operations: Retail stores that remain open to the public as Essential Businesses and Operations must limit the number of people in the store at one time, must provide proper spacing for people waiting to enter, and large stores must offer at least two hours per week of dedicated shopping time for vulnerable populations.
  • Supply Chain: Essential Businesses and Operations that are essential because they supply, manufacture, or distribute goods and services to other Essential Businesses and Operations can only continue operations that are necessary to those businesses they supply. All other operations must continue as Minimum Basic Operations.

Other changes include:

  • Schools: Public and private K-12 schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
  • Local parks and open space: Local health officials may close public parks and open spaces if it becomes too difficult to ensure social distancing or the areas are being mistreated.
  • Travel: People are strongly encourage to stay close to home, not travel to second homes or cabins, and not to travel out-of-state if it is not necessary.
  • Tribal Nations: Tribal Nations are sovereign over their territory and can impose their own restrictions. Non-tribal members should be respectful of and avoid non-essential travel to Tribal territory. Local government must coordinate, collaborate, and share information with Tribal Nations.
  • Duration: The changes in this order go into effect on April 24, 2020. The order will remain in effect until 8 a.m. on May 26, 2020.

If you have questions, a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document is available here for your review.

The public should continue to follow simple steps to avoid exposure to the virus and prevent illness including:

  • Avoiding social gatherings with people of all ages (including playdates and sleepovers, parties, large family dinners, visitors in your home, non-essential workers in your house);
  • Frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water;
  • Covering coughs and sneezes;
  • Avoiding touching one's face; and
  • Staying home. 

------

Posted: 1:04 p.m. on April 16, 2020

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Gov. Tony Evers on Thursday, April 16, directed Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to extend the Safer at Home order from April 24, 2020 to 8 a.m. Tuesday, May 26, 2020, or until a superseding order is issued.

The order implements some new measures to ensure safety and support the progress we've made in containing COVID-19, but also allows certain activities to start up again. 

“A few weeks ago, we had a pretty grim outlook for what COVID-19 could mean for our state, but because of the efforts of all of you, Safer at Home is working. That said, we aren't out of the woods just yet,” said Gov. Evers. “As I've said all along, we are going to rely on the science and public health experts to guide us through this challenge. So, as we extend Safer at Home, I need all of you to continue doing the good work you've been doing so we can keep our families, our neighbors, and our communities safe, and get through this storm together.”

“Before we lift Safer at Home, the steps of testing and more robust public health measures must be in place,” explained Secretary-designee Palm. “These steps will help us reduce the risk of a second wave of the virus. If we open up too soon, we risk overwhelming our hospitals and requiring more drastic physical distancing measures again.”

The extension of the Safer at Home order includes a few changes. Some changes allow more businesses and activities to open back up, while other changes help make businesses safer for employees and customers. The changes in this order include:

Businesses and activities ramping up service and operations:

  • Public libraries: Public libraries may now provide curb-side pick-up of books and other library materials. 
  • Golf Courses: Golf courses may open again, with restrictions including scheduling and paying for tee times online or by phone only. Clubhouses and pro shops must remain closed.
  • Non-essential Businesses: Non-essential businesses will now be able to do more things as Minimum Basic Operations, including deliveries, mailings, and curb-side pick-up. Non-essential businesses must notify workers of whether they are necessary for the Minimum Basic Operations.
  • Arts and Crafts Stores: Arts and craft stores may offer expanded curb-side pick-up of materials necessary to make face masks or other personal protective equipment (PPE). 
  • Aesthetic or Optional Exterior Work: Aesthetic or optional exterior lawn care or construction is now allowed under the extended order, so long as it can be done by one person.

Safe Business Practices:

  • Safe Business Practices for Essential Businesses and Operations: Essential Businesses and Operations must increase cleaning and disinfection practices, ensure that only necessary workers are present, and adopt policies to prevent workers exposed to COVID-19 or symptomatic workers from coming to work.
  • Safe Business Practices for Retailers that Essential Businesses and Operations: Retail stores that remain open to the public as Essential Businesses and Operations must limit the number of people in the store at one time, must provide proper spacing for people waiting to enter, and large stores must offer at least two hours per week of dedicated shopping time for vulnerable populations.
  • Supply Chain: Essential Businesses and Operations that are essential because they supply, manufacture, or distribute goods and services to other Essential Businesses and Operations can only continue operations that are necessary to those businesses they supply. All other operations must continue as Minimum Basic Operations.

 Other changes include:

  • Schools: Public and private K-12 schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
  • Local parks and open space: Local health officials may close public parks and open spaces if it becomes too difficult to ensure social distancing or the areas are being mistreated.
  • Travel: People are strongly encourage to stay close to home, not travel to second homes or cabins, and not to travel out-of-state if it is not necessary. 
  • Tribal Nations: Tribal Nations are sovereign over their territory and can impose their own restrictions. Non-tribal members should be respectful of and avoid non-essential travel to Tribal territory. Local government must coordinate, collaborate, and share information with Tribal Nations.
  • Duration: The changes in this order go into effect on April 24, 2020. The order will remain in effect until 8 a.m. on May 26, 2020.

If you have questions, a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document is available here for your review.

The public should continue to follow simple steps to avoid exposure to the virus and prevent illness including: 

  • Avoiding social gatherings with people of all ages (including playdates and sleepovers, parties, large family dinners, visitors in your home, non-essential workers in your house);
  • Frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water; 
  • Covering coughs and sneezes;
  • Avoiding touching one's face; and 
  • Staying home. 

Read the order here: 

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GeQur 39 days ago
Governor Evers did the right thing and as he stated he relies on scientific information to guide him, not instinct. We have come this far and need to protect our children and grandparents from this virus. It is unpredictable and has many faces. Having rallies in the streets and causing commotion does not serve anyone well except for those in Washington who treasure money over a human life.
Lawrence 39 days ago
Leaving open the possibility of pulling the date in seems smart to me. There is no good reason to believe this is over.
madwisconsinite 39 days ago
https://www.facebook.com/groups/227286225211321/228685308404746/?comment_id=228915168381760¬if_id=1587063064380799¬if_t=group_comment_follow
Thank you, Gov Evers. You obviously care about the citizens of Wisconsin.
You're being facetious, right? Wisconsin hit it's peak 2 weeks ago. He should be preparing to get back to work in 2 weeks, not killing the economy for another 6 weeks. If you want to hide under your bed you are free to do so. The rest of us will take care as we get back to work.
Chris Bassgeye 39 days ago
Doing what for whom?
In Wisconsin, we're now at nearly a 5% fatality rate, up from less than 3% two weeks ago.
The American economy, based on service and consumption, will be saved by insuring that the consumer remains alive and healthy.
In time, the economy will again serve us - we need not risk our lives serving the economy.
It's all in the long-game.
Rommel Bassgeye 39 days ago
Wow, a post from a medical expert. No wait......from an azzgeye.
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