MILWAUKEE -- Two Milwaukee aldermen on Thursday, March 26 issued statements -- pleading with residents to take the coronavirus seriously, and abide by the statewide "Safer at Home" order, and the citywide "Stay at Home" order, issued by Governor Tony Evers and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, respectively. This, with seven COVID-19 related deaths reported in Milwaukee County.
Gov. Tony Evers' order, which took effect at 8 a.m. Wednesday, March 25 continues until April 24, though the timeframe could be altered. It closed nonessential businesses, banning gatherings of any size, and imposing month-long travel restrictions in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
All public and private gatherings of any number of people who are not in the same family or living unit are prohibited. Evers previously limited gatherings to no more than 10 people.
Anyone who leaves home is required to maintain a 6-foot distance from other people as part of the social distancing effort that health officials say is the only effective way to slow the spread of the virus.
Milwaukee's "Stay at Home" order took effect at midnight Wednesday, March 25 -- closing all nonessential businesses. Mayor Barrett noted everyone can still work if their job is essential -- and everyone can get groceries, go to the doctor, even go for a walk if they practice social distancing.
"The more we can concentrate our efforts-- our community efforts into defeating this -- the faster our normal lives can get back to order," Barrett said.
It's up to local law enforcement to make sure people are obeying the new restrictions. The Milwaukee Police Department issued the following statement:
"At this time, MPD is still seeking voluntary compliance from our community as we fight COVID-19 together. We have been called to various individuals and business establishments regarding the "Safer-at-Home" order. The individuals we have come in contact with have voluntarily complied and/or dispersed. We will continue to educate our community and enforce the order as needed."
Alderman Russell Stamper II and Alderman Khalif Rainey on Thursday issued statements asking that residents please abide by these guidelines.
Stamper II added that two of his friends have tested positive for the coronavirus, so this hits home for him.
Statement from Alderman Stamper II:
"The deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading fast among Milwaukee’s African American population, and it has already claimed the lives of several African American men here. But those deaths – and a strict citywide Stay-at-Home order – don’t seem to be getting the attention of enough people in the community.
The coronavirus pandemic is deadly serious, and all Milwaukee residents need to start getting the message IMMEDIATELY!
In fact, Milwaukee Police have indicated that they will begin enforcing the Stay-at-Home order where needed, especially when they see people congregating and conducting “business as usual” in violation of the order. MPD reports that problems with compliance have been especially bad on the north side, and even in 15th District.
To be clear, on Monday (March 23) Milwaukee’s Health Commissioner issued the Stay-at-Home order, imposing a city-wide requirement to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The order took effect early yesterday and will continue to be in effect until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing.
During the Stay-at-Home order, all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited, except for a few limited purposes. Nothing in the order prohibits the gathering of members of a household or living unit.
All travel, including, but not limited to, travel on foot, bicycle, scooter, motorcycle, automobile, or public transit (except Essential Travel and Essential Activities as defined in the order) is prohibited. People riding on public transit (especially MCTS buses) must comply with social distancing requirements to the greatest extent feasible.
People are allowed to leave their homes to engage in activities or perform tasks essential to their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members (including, but not limited to, pets), such as (by way of example only and without limitation) obtaining medical supplies or medication, visiting a health care professional, or obtaining supplies they need to work from home.
Residents may also leave their home to obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members, or to deliver those services or supplies to others, such as canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of their home.
People are allowed to engage in outdoor activity, provided they practice social distancing, and this can include walking, running or hiking. Games of basketball (and soccer) should be avoided because of the physical contact involved, and ALL playgrounds are closed and must be avoided to combat the spread of the deadly virus.
People are allowed to leave home to perform work providing essential products and services (as defined in the order) and to care for a family member, friend, or pet in another household, and to transport family members, friends, or pets as allowed by the order.
Lastly, residents will be allowed to travel to the polls to vote in the spring election on April 7 (or to work at polling locations or to count ballots). To avoid the need to go to a polling location, residents may still request an absentee ballot online at myvote.wi.gov or by calling 414-286-VOTE.
COVID-19 is highly transmissible and is 10 times deadlier than the seasonal influenza! NO ONE is immune and there is no vaccine, and it can be especially deadly for those with underlying medical conditions and issues such as asthma, diabetes, heart and pulmonary disease, cancer patients and anyone 65 or older.
I cannot stress strongly enough how important it is for EVERYONE to immediately STAY HOME and comply with the Stay-at-Home order so we can stop the spread of the coronavirus and protect the health of the community."
Statement from Alderman Rainey:
"The global pandemic brought about by COVID-19 has caused the city and state to issue “Stay-at-Home” orders to help slow the spread of the virus. Alderman Khalif J. Rainey is urging city residents, particularly those of the 7th District, to take this order seriously and remain at home.
“The orders issued by the city and state this week underscore how serious this health emergency is,” said Alderman Rainey. “I implore all residents to stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary to leave. I particularly want to encourage residents near St. Joseph’s and the Sherman Park area to abide by these orders, as those places have seen the greatest concentration of positive cases.”
Beginning Tuesday, March 24th the Ascension SE Wisconsin Hospital - St. Joseph Campus was one of several Ascension sites to start offering drive-thru testing. All drive-thru tests are by appointment only. Individuals who wish to be tested must first be pre-screened by an Ascension Medical Group provider by phone (1-833-981-0711), or virtually using Ascension Online Care (ascension.org/OnlineCare).
The “Stay-at-Home” order aims to ensure that the maximum number of people self-isolate in their places of residence to slow the spread of the virus. Residents should only leave their home to perform or obtain vital services. Among the businesses that remain open are grocery and supply stores, health care facilities and pharmacies, restaurants (take-out only), child care facilities, auto shops and gas stations.
Should someone have to leave their home they should follow the appropriate precautions. Practice proper social distancing and remain six feet apart from other people, remember to regularly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, cover coughs and sneezes, avoid touching your face, and stay home if you feel sick.
The order went into effective at 12:01 a.m. on March 25, 2020 and will continue to be in effect until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing by the Health Commissioner.
Those with questions related to COVID-19 can call 2-1-1 to speak with a health care professional Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. Visit Milwaukee.gov/coronavirus for the latest news and information."
Coronavirus-related deaths in Wisconsin (in chronological order based on when they were reported)
- Man in his 50s in Fond Du Lac County: Death confirmed by Gov. Evers on March 19
- Robert Blackbird, 91, resident of Village Pointe Commons in Grafton/Ozaukee County: Death confirmed by Gov. Evers on March 19
- Lawrence Riley, 66 in Milwaukee County: Death reported by medical examiner on March 20
- Lenard Wells, 69 in Milwaukee County (retired MPD lieutenant): Death reported by medical examiner on March 21
- Roderick Crape, 54 in Milwaukee County: Death reported by medical examiner on March 23
- Woman in her 70s in Dane County: Death reported by health officials on March 25
- Man in his 60s in Milwaukee County (Milwaukee Public Schools employee): Death reported by medical examiner on March 25
- Sheila Staten, 57, in West Allis/Milwaukee County: Death reported by medical examiner on March 26
- Woman, 79, in Milwaukee/Milwaukee County: Death reported by medical examiner on March 26
- Woman, 65, in Milwaukee/Milwaukee County: Death reported by medical examiner March 26