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Wisconsin governor announces limit on public gatherings amid COVID-19 outbreak

Published: Oct. 6, 2020 at 1:44 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has directed the Department of Health Services to limit public gatherings as the state continues to report thousands of cases of COVID-19 each day.

The order limits public gatherings to no more than 25 percent of a room or building’s total occupancy. CLICK HERE for more information.

The governor says this order applies to “any gatherings at locations that are open to the public.” This includes stores and restaurants.

Schools, child care, health care, churches, human services and government buildings are exempt.

The order goes into effect at 8 a.m. on Oct. 8. It will remain in effect until Nov. 6.

“We’re in a crisis right now and need to immediately change our behavior to save lives,” said Gov. Evers. “We are continuing to experience a surge in cases and many of our hospitals are overwhelmed, and I believe limiting indoor public gatherings will help slow the spread of this virus. Folks, we need your help and we need all Wisconsinites to work together during this difficult time. The sooner we get control of this virus, the sooner our economy, communities, and state can bounce back.”

On Tuesday, the state Department of Health Services reported 2,020 new cases of COVID0-19 and 18 new deaths.

The seven-day average of new daily cases is 2,346. That’s an additional 836 cases per day from one month ago.

Forty-five counties “meet the threshold of a very high disease activity level.” That means more than 350 cases per 100,000 people.

The state recommends these steps for preventing the spread of COVID-19:

• Stay home whenever possible;

• Wear a mask;

• Wash your hands frequently;

• If you have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19, get tested;

• Get the flu shot to help reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic;

• Challenge misinformation and talk to friends and families about the importance of these safety precautions.

Wisconsin State Senator Roger Roth (R-Appleton) says he’s looking into whether the governor can make this kind of move, but says regardless, everyone needs to keep taking precautions.

“We’re kind of evaluating this right now, if it’s lawful, but I don’t think it changes the fact that people in Wisconsin, particularly Northeast Wisconsin need to wear masks, follow social distancing guidelines, CDC guidelines," said Sen. Roth.

RELATED: Wisconsin lawmakers sound off on Evers' newest order

Governor Evers also pointed out that action needs to be taken by the state so small businesses can stay open while controlling the spread of the virus.

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