Despite saying Friday that he didn’t think it would be necessary, Governor Tony Evers today announced via Twitter that he will issue an order to take effect tomorrow that he will require nonessential businesses to close and people to stay home.
We have been working hard to ensure the health and safety of the people of our state as we have responded to COVID-19. We’ve taken important steps, but folks, time is of the essence. So today I’m announcing we’ll be issuing a #SaferAtHome order tomorrow. Here’s what this means ⬇️
— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) March 23, 2020
Calling it a “Safer at Home” order, Evers wrote, “You can still get out and walk the dogs—it’s good exercise and it’s good for everyone’s mental health—but please don’t take any other unnecessary trips, and limit your travel to essential needs like going to the doctor, grabbing groceries, or getting medication. Workers providing essential care or services in our communities will be allowed to continue to travel to and from work. That includes folks like healthcare professionals, grocers, family caregivers, among other people whose work is critical for folks across our state. If it’s essential for you to go outside, please stay 6 feet away from others and shared spaces such as park shelters and visitor centers.”
Evers did not specify how the order will be enforced or what penalties might be for people who don’t heed the order. Evers scheduled a media briefing conference call for 1:30 pm with Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, Wisconsin Bureau of Communicable Diseases Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ryan Westergaard, and Wisconsin National Guard Adjutant General Paul Knapp.
As of Sunday, 381 cases of coronavirus infection and four deaths had been confirmed in Wisconsin. That represented 100 new cases since Saturday, the largest one-day increase in cases since the crisis began earlier this month.