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List: ‘Safer at Home’ guidelines by city/county after SCOWIS ruling

MILWAUKEE — The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Gov. Tony Evers’ coronavirus stay-at-home order Wednesday, May 13, ruling that his administration overstepped its authority when it extended it for another month without consulting legislators.

The 4-3 ruling essentially reopened the state, lifting caps on the size of gatherings, allowing people to travel as they please and allowing shuttered businesses to reopen, including bars and restaurants.

The decision let stand language that had closed schools, however, and local governments can still impose their own health restrictions. In Dane County, home to the capital of Madison, officials quickly imposed a mandate incorporating most of the statewide order. City health officials in Milwaukee said a stay-at-home order they enacted in late March remains in effect.

CLICK HERE to read through the decision of the Wisconsin Supreme Court

Below is a breakdown of the guidelines by county following the SCOWIS ruling:

City of Brookfield: No order in place

  • “The City of Brookfield is under the jurisdiction of the Waukesha County Health Department, and therefore, the city cannot issue health-related orders for business. Nevertheless, the city is encouraging businesses that are reopening or expanding operations to take appropriate measures to earn the confidence of their employees and customers by following Waukesha County Health Department orders, utilizing the guidelines set forth in the Badger Bounce Back Plan, as well as following guidance issued by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the Centers for Disease Control, and various trade associations for social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting. Additionally, the city has created an information page on the city’s website devoted to the reopening of businesses,” Mayor Steven Ponto said in a statement May 14.

City of Burlington: No order in place

  • “As indicated in the May 12 press release, I am working with local experts to re-open the downtown creatively to bolster our local economy,” said Burlington Mayor Jeannie Hefty in a statement May 14. “I anticipate introducing this plan for feedback to the Common Council at its May 19, Committee of the Whole meeting. To that end, we ask everyone to continue to honor the social distancing guidelines, to continue to use face coverings when out in the public, and to follow all of the other CDC guidelines that will keep our families and community as safe as possible. Specific recommendations are also available, created by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and Re-Open Racine Task Force which provide helpful guidelines for safely reopening our community businesses.”
  • “All city of Burlington buildings will open on May 27 in conjunction with the Badger Bounce Back Program and Racine County’s Rebound Report 2020,” Carina Walters, city administrator, said in a statement May 14. “For community and employee safety, the City of Burlington will continue to take effective preventative steps to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus (COVID19). We will require all customers coming into city buildings to sanitize their hands upon entrance, adhere to 6-foot social distancing requirement (floor will be marked), adhere to any directional signage and wear a face covering into any city buildings. For your protection, city employees will also be wearing face masks. We will continue to increase cleaning in all buildings to ensure a sanitized environment.”

Cudahy: No order in place.

In response to differing and updated legal guidance, Cudahy is immediately withdrawing
its local action that continued the provisions of the state’s Safer-at-Home Order through
the COVID-19 Public Health Plan for Suburban Milwaukee County, Cudahy Health
Officer Katie Lepak announced on Friday, May 15.

This move allows businesses in Cudahy to reopen without risk of penalty or
prosecution, although Lepak and other local officials strongly urge people to continue
observing the public health guidelines outlined in “Safer at Home.”

Cudahy and several other municipalities within Milwaukee County and across the
state issued local orders Wednesday night continuing Safer-at-Home, after the
Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned the sate order late that afternoon.

“The Supreme Court’s order caused a great deal of confusion and uncertainty that has
left us and others across the state struggling to determine how to abide by the ruling
while continuing to protect the public’s safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic, CUDAHY
Mayor Tom Pavlic said. “With the varying guidance and more time to review best
practices moving forward, together we’ve determined that we will withdraw our order
and instead rely on guidance and recommendations, rather than requirements.”

“COVID-19 remains a threat in our community and others. It is our hope that the public
will continue to take the necessary precautions to slow its spread as we move forward
with reopening,” Lepak said.

Dodge County: No order in place

  • “The proper process took place in the evaluation of this order with the proper entity, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, making the final decision. I certainly understand the concerns that many have raised over the last week regarding their fear over the continued spread of the virus and those concerns are not invalid.  I encourage the public to social distance and abide by the guidelines set forth by the CDC.  Please use common sense as we proceed in coming days and weeks.  It is important that we continue to do our best in keeping our community as safe as possible,” said Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt in a statement May 14.

Fond du Lac County: No order in place

  • “The Fond du Lac County Public Health Order #1 regarding closure of businesses shall be rescinded effective May 14 at 8 a.m.,” health officials said in a statement. Businesses allowed to operate include barber/barbering/cosmetology, nail salons, massage therapy establishments, tattoo/body art shops, restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, religious and funeral services and bars.

Jefferson County: No order in place

  • “In light of the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling, many businesses that have been closed will choose to open their doors soon, and many others will choose to expand their operations. Businesses need to do so responsibly,” health officials said in a statement May 14. “All Jefferson County businesses should continue to follow CDC guidelines for social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting whenever possible. They should also consider the guidelines provided by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and consult with their respective trade or business organizations to identify industry best practices to safely welcome back employees and customers. Businesses may also want to check with their legal counsel to see how to open safely during a pandemic while also considering legal implications of cases that may be related to their business operations.”

Kenosha County: No order in place

  • Kenosha County health officials  issued a local order continuing the “Safer at Home” regulations within the county until May 26 on Wednesday, May 13. However, the county withdrew that order on Thursday evening, May 14 saying it received “differing and updated legal guidance” about its order and called the SCOWIS ruling confusing.

City of Mequon: Temporary limitations in place

  • “All businesses can reopen now, but with some limitations for a short period,” Mayor John Wirth said in a statement May 14. “Those limitations go away on a weekly basis. In the interim, there is an opportunity to determine if reopening has increased the spread of the virus. I fully expect that the state will issue rules (but this time going through the proper rule-making process involving the Legislature) shortly. This proclamation provides a bridge to those rules.”

City of Milwaukee: Local order in place

  • “Everybody’s goal is to reopen the economy. But, we have seen what has happened in other parts of this country and we have seen what has happened in other parts of the world, where you have had a rush to reopen things. What you ended up with was more death and more suffering. And, that is exactly what we want to avoid,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in a statement Thursday, May 14.

Suburban Milwaukee County: Local order in place

  • The 18 municipalities in suburban Milwaukee County and their 10 public health officials came together to sign a local order that provides guidelines on how local businesses can move forward in the coming days. The order lasts through May 21.

City of New Berlin: No order in place

  • “In light of the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling, we trust our businesses that choose to re-open will do so responsibly. We encourage all businesses to follow CDC and DHS
    (Wisconsin Department of Health Services) guidelines for social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting. I encourage our businesses to visit the Wisconsin Economic Development
    Corporation (WEDC) website for industry-specific guidelines for reopening their business and to please consult with respective trade organizations to identify industry best practices,” Mayor David Ament said in a statement May 14.

City of Racine: Local order in place

  • A “Safer at Home – Racine” order was issued the evening of May 13 by the City of Racine’s public health administrator following the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling. This adopts Wisconsin’s Safer at Home order for the City of Racine and Villages of Wind Point and Elmwood Park until 8 a.m. on Tuesday, May 26, health officials said Thursday. In addition, the City of Racine is in the process of finalizing guidance which is aligned with the Badger Bounce Back plan and will allow for a safe, gradual reopening of the community. The health department continues to work with local businesses and other entities on a one-to-one basis to address their questions and concerns.

Racine County: No order in place

  • In response to the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s ruling overturning the Safer at Home order, the Central Racine County Health Department issued “new, strong recommendations on limiting the number of customers and staff in one location, limiting mass gatherings and cancelling or postponing fairs and festivals.”
  • “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,” said Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave in a statement May 14.
  • “With the Safer at Home order no longer in effect, it’s crucial that individuals and businesses adhere to smart practices and that individuals exercise safe behaviors so that we can prevent COVID-19 illness and deaths while supporting citizens who have been adversely impacted by the pandemic,” said Margaret Gesner, health officer for the Central Racine County Department in a statement May 14. “If we do not maintain best practices, more businesses may be forced to close for prolonged periods due to a high number of sick employees or outbreaks, hospitals may be overrun by ill individuals, more outbreaks may occur in our congregate settings such as nursing homes, and our community may experience preventable deaths, all unacceptable outcomes for our community and our businesses. We must protect the most vulnerable amongst us by committing to these safe practices.”

Sheboygan County: No order in place.

The Sheboygan County Division of Public Health issued ‘Safe Restart Recommendations,” including:

  •  If businesses or organizations choose to open, they should implement the WEDC Guidelines
  • Practice good hygiene and social distancing
  • Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible
  • Strongly consider using cloth face coverings while in public, and particularly when using mass transit
  • People who feel sick must stay at home
  • Phased-in capacity limits within non-essential businesses
  • People over the age of 60, and those who are medically vulnerable, should continue to shelter at home or avoid interacting with others
  • Online education and remote work are encouraged

“Our community has done a good job practicing social distancing, implementing best practices and taking precautions to keep people safe and our number of active COVID-19 cases in check,” said County Administrator Adam Payne. “As a result, Sheboygan County will not be issuing an order to direct how businesses and organizations operate.”

The SCEDC and SBDC encourages business owners to reach out to their lawyers and insurance companies to understand their business’s legal liability during COVID-19. Businesses are encouraged to look at WEDC Reopen Guidelines for best practices; note that these guidelines are advice and not the law.

Walworth County: No order in place

  • “In the wake of the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Safer at Home Order, effective immediately, businesses can open and people can travel and gather in large groups. Walworth County’s Division of Public Health will not be issuing orders that replace Safer at Home at this time,” said Erica Bergstrom, Walworth County public health officer, in a statement on the health department’s website. Walworth County released guidance on the county website for area businesses on how to
    implement protocols to protect their customers.

Washington/Ozaukee County: No order in place

  • County Executive Josh Schoemann in a statement May 14 declared Washington County open for business immediately, and said, “We are seeing businesses voluntarily following social distancing practices already.” Schoemann said Washington County “has not and will not issue any broad orders nor extend safer at home. We believe these to be unlawful after the Supreme Court ruling. Instead, the county will solve outbreaks with precise direction to affected organizations.” The FAQ and Blueprint on the Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department’s website are the guiding documents businesses and citizens should use as they make their own decisions.
  • “If you choose to reopen your business, you are not in violation of “Safer at Home” or orders issued by the health department,” officials said on the health department’s website. “At this time, the health department has not issued any additional orders, but is working with county leaders to identify appropriate next steps. Please refer to our Blueprint FAQ for guidance on how to responsibly reopen. Email if you have any other questions.”

Waukesha County: No order in place

  • “In light of the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling, many businesses that have been closed will choose to open their doors tomorrow, and many others will choose to expand their operations. We trust our businesses will do so responsibly. All Waukesha County businesses should continue to follow CDC guidelines for social distancing and cleaning and disinfecting whenever possible. They should also consider the guidelines provided by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and consult with their respective trade or business organizations to identify industry best practices to safely welcome back employees and customers,” Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow said in a statement May 13.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services Emergency Order #28 (April 16): “Safer at Home” order

Wisconsin Department of Health Services Emergency Order #34 (April 27): “Interim order to turn the dial”

Wisconsin Department of Health Services Emergency Order #36(May 11): “Interm Order to turn the dial”

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