Evers advises everyone to stay home in new executive order, says he’ll announce COVID-19 response legislation
MADISON Wis. (WBAY) - During a statewide address Tuesday evening, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers announced he has signed a new executive order as a response to the ongoing pandemic.
Evers' order, which is Executive Order 94, continues to advise all Wisconsin residents to stay home as much as possible and to continue practicing good hygiene and social distancing.
During his address, Evers said the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates another 5,000 Wisconsin residents could die from COVID-19 by January 1.
Since known cases were first announced earlier this year, 2,395 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 in Wisconsin. That number includes Tuesday’s record amount deaths reported by the Department of Health Services within the past 24 hours, which was 66.
In addition to the order, Evers also announced during his statewide address he will be announcing a package of COVID-19 response legislation. He said the announcement will be made in the coming days, but didn’t specify an exact timeline, or what the legislation would entail, saying only that the legislation would provide resources for those who need it. The legislation announced by Evers would still need to be passed by the Assembly and the Senate.
Action 2 News has broken the order down below. You can read the full order by CLICKING HERE.
- Staying home: Governor Evers is recommending everyone should stay home as much as possible and only make trips when necessary, such as going to work, picking up groceries, or refilling prescriptions.
- Safety precautions: Governor Evers' order says all individuals should take precautions when leaving their home, and should do the following:
- Avoid gatherings of any size between individuals who aren’t members of the same living unit or household.
- Maintain the six foot social distancing practice, wash hands often, cover coughs, frequently clean high touch surfaces and objects, and wear a face covering in compliance with the Emergency Order issued on September 22, 2020.
- Also provide materials and emotional support to other citizens in the state who risk financial and physical hardships while staying home.
- Safety precautions for anyone who is sick or asymptomatic:
- Stay home as much as possible
- Don’t go to work or school
- Wear a face covering if you have to go out in public
- Get tested for COVID-19, and if you test positive, follow the instructions given to you by local health officials.
- Safety precautions for vulnerable individuals:
- Vulnerable individuals, who are described as anyone 60 years of age or older, pregnant women, people with compromised or weakened immune systems, and people with serious underlying health conditions including cancer, obesity, diabetes, or chronic lung, kidney or heart disease, should continue to stay home as much as possible.
- Members of households with vulnerable individuals should be aware that by returning to work or other public gatherings, they could carry the virus back home.
- Precautions should be taken to isolate from vulnerable residents.
- Safety precautions for anyone who is homeless:
- All homeless individuals are urged to find shelter.
- All government and other entities are strongly urged to make shelter available as soon as possible for those experiencing homeless, and to follow the DHS and CDC guidance on COVID-19 risk practices.
- Safety precautions for those in an unsafe living situation:
- Anyone who may be in an unsafe home, such as those of domestic violence, are being urged to leave their home and stay at a safe alternative location.
Recommendations for businesses:
- Businesses are being strongly encouraged to take steps to protect staff, customers and communities by doing the following:
- Limiting staff and customers in offices, facilities and stores. The order says businesses can offer online or virtual services, hold meetings and collaborate online or by phone, and to alternate work teams, or stagger shifts.
- In addition, all businesses are strongly encouraged to take the following measures to limit exposure to COVID-19 to staff, customers and the public:
- Require masks
- Limit the number of people to no more than what is strictly necessary to perform operations
- If staff are physically at the business, they should use online or phone meetings to avoid congregation in offices, rooms or other shared spaces.
- Comply with social distancing, and arrange office space, workspace, or the flow of business in order to provide for social distancing.
- Increase airflow in work areas and do in-person meetings outside or in large open spaces
- Create or adopt policies to prevent staff from entering the premises or worksite if they have respiratory symptoms, or have had contact with a person with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis. The order states employers may not penalize staff for isolating or quarantining because of symptoms or exposure to COVID-19.
- Increase standards of facility cleaning and disinfection of areas.
- Post signs in languages understood by employees and customers to remind them of safe practices
- Offer curbside pickup or drop-off for goods and services, or offer online or phone payments, appointments and reservations.
- Stop soliciting door-to-door.
- Businesses are also being asked to support local health departments' enforcement of isolation and quarantine by offering alternative work arrangements, as well as excusing employees from work in accordance with public health requirements.
- Everyone in Wisconsin is being strongly encouraged to remain close to home, and to avoid traveling to second homes or residences if possible. The order goes on to say this is consistent with federal guidelines, and in order to protect nearby states, everyone is discouraged from doing any unnecessary travel.
Evers' office released the full transcript of his address Tuesday evening. You can watch the address and read the full transcript below.
Good evening, Wisconsin. Governor Tony Evers here. Thank you for tuning in tonight.
I know I don’t have to tell you that this year has been one of major challenges. A global pandemic—coupled with economic uncertainty and another election season—has shaken our patience, our empathy, and our compassion for one another. Our optimism has been battered, our resilience strained, and our character tested.
But now, as we put the election behind us, we are called upon to remember the things that unite us—and that includes the struggles that we share. We must now return our undivided attention to the COVID-19 pandemic. We must start fighting this virus, together, and we must start tonight.
As you know, earlier this year, we took steps to contain COVID-19 by issuing a safer at home order. We estimated then that our efforts would save between 300 and 1,400 lives.
That order was struck down by the Wisconsin Supreme Court—a decision that hamstrung our ability to respond to this virus by using the tools supported by science and public health experts.
Unfortunately, since then, Wisconsin has become a national hotspot. We once led our region in containing this virus, but now surges in our state rival what we saw in New York City this spring.
Our case numbers continue to climb. Since just last Friday, we’ve added more than 25,000 new cases.
It took us seven and a half months to get to 100,000 cases. But it only took 36 days to add another 100,000. The way things are going, it will take us only 20 days to reach another 100,000.
We’ve now surpassed, in deaths, the number of lives we projected we would have saved months ago if we would have been able to keep safer at home and reopen safely. 2,395 Wisconsinites—mothers, fathers, grandparents, friends, and coworkers—have lost their lives, and I offer my deepest sympathies and condolences to those who are mourning the loss of their loved ones.
Unfortunately, they will not be the last.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates 5,000 Wisconsinites could be lost to COVID-19 by January 1st if no further actions are taken to get this virus under control. That means another 2,500 people who might not be with us on New Year’s Day.
Wisconsin, this is serious. This crisis is urgent.
Across our state, families, workers, and communities continue to face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our healthcare workers are going to work every day, working three, sometimes four, shifts in a row, often having to reuse or share masks, and putting themselves and their families at risk to do their jobs. We owe them our thanks, but they also deserve our action.
I am concerned about what our current trajectory means for Wisconsin healthcare workers, families, and our economy if we don’t get this virus under control.
So, I want to be clear tonight: each day this virus goes unchecked is a setback for our economic recovery. Our bars, restaurants, small businesses, families, and farmers will continue to suffer if we don’t take action right now—our economy cannot bounce back until we contain this virus.
So, tonight, I have signed Executive Order #94 advising Wisconsinites to stay home to save lives. We must get back to the basics of fighting this virus just like we did last spring, and it starts at home.
It’s not safe to go out, it’s not safe to have others over—it’s just not safe. And it might not be safe for a while yet.
So, please, cancel the happy hours, dinner parties, sleepovers, and playdates at your home. And if a friend or family member invites you over, offer to hang out virtually instead. And unfortunately, with the holidays just around the corner, we recommend that you plan to celebrate just with your own household.
You can still invite others to join virtually, but we advise you not to go to any gatherings with people who are not in your immediate home.
You can keep supporting local businesses, restaurants, and workers by sticking to curbside pickup, delivery, or using online ordering whenever you can. If you need to get out and go for a walk or a bike ride, that’s alright, too—it’s important now more than ever to get some exercise and take good care of our physical and mental health. Or if you think you might’ve been exposed to COVID-19, please go get tested. And then make sure you’re quarantining at home while you’re waiting for your results and for 14 days after you’ve been exposed.
Even if you do test negative for COVID-19, it’s important to remember that just because you test negative today doesn’t guarantee a negative test tomorrow, so please stay home.
Otherwise, if you have to leave your home, limit it to essential needs or errands. Please only leave your home if it’s absolutely necessary like going to the doctor, picking up prescriptions, grabbing groceries, or getting tested.
And if you have to go out, please wear a mask and stay six feet apart. Wearing a mask is not a political statement—it’s a sign to coworkers or the strangers you pass in the grocery store that you care about them, and they care about you, too.
That’s why I’m also calling on business leaders across our state to continue doing their part to keep workers, customers, and communities safe by expanding working from home options for workers, offering online or virtual services, and limiting the number of people in offices, facilities, and stores.
Small businesses across our state have been important partners throughout this fight, and I’m grateful for all their good work. And if shifting to virtual work isn’t feasible, please go to WEDC.org to find guidelines for policies to help prevent workplace exposure and to keep workers and customers as safe as possible.
As we’ve fought this virus since March, we’ve worked hard to support workers, families, farmers, and businesses across our state. In the coming days, I’ll be announcing a package of COVID-19 legislation that should be passed quickly to make sure we have the resources ready for those who need it.
We’ve also used our federal CARES money to get support to Wisconsinites across our state. We’ve supplied more than 16 million in PPE and sanitizing supplies to local communities.
We’ve also assisted more than 26,000 small businesses, helped more than 12,000 households pay rent, supported more than 15,000 farms, and expanded statewide testing and contact tracing efforts .But we also know we have a long road ahead of us, and there are workers, families, farmers, and small businesses that are going to need our help as we work to fight this virus, together.
Here’s the bottom line—the federal CARES dollars we received earlier this year expire on December 31st. That means unless we get additional support from Congress, our state will have to foot the bill for our response after the New Year.
So, please contact your congressperson and ask them to provide additional support and resources for our state’s response to this virus. We must be able to continue all our efforts to keep people healthy and safe.
I know this year has been extremely difficult, and I know good news is hard to come by these days.
But, as I stand here tonight, I’ll tell you that I’m hopeful—that we can beat this virus and we can rebuild and recover.
Anyone would be a fool to count us out, Wisconsin.
The surges we see—the new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths—these are not foregone conclusions. These are predictable and preventable. That means the fight against this virus is winnable, but only if we fight it together.
So, tonight we must also offer our neighbors the promise of a better tomorrow—a promise that each of us must play a part in delivering by doing everything we can.
Right now, we’ve got plenty to prove and a lot to lose. Let’s get to work, and let’s move forward, together. Thank you.
ORIGINAL POST: Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers will deliver a statewide address Tuesday evening on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Evers is scheduled to speak at 6:05 p.m.
Evers typically holds briefings at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays with Department of Health Services secretary-designee Andrea Palm. His administration has not said why he’s addressing the state during the evening, but it’s likely due to the massive surge in infections in the state.
The state’s percent positive seven-day average is a staggering 35 percent.
Hospitals capacity is critical. Statewide, only 12 percent of staffed hospital beds are open at this time. The Wisconsin Hospital Association’s COVID-19 dashboard lists 2,003 COVID-19 patients in Wisconsin hospitals. The dashboard shows 143 new patients admitted in one day. Over seven days, 355 COVID-19 patients have been admitted to hospitals in the state.
WHA wrote in a Facebook post, “PRACTICE SAFE BEHAVIORS NOW – Wear a mask, wash your hands, maintain social distancing, avoid large gatherings. Do it for health care workers, your neighbors, your family and you.”
The state reports 2,329 deaths attributed to COVID-19. Nearly 300 people have died over the last week.
The governor’s efforts to limit restaurant and tavern capacity have been challenged in court. His statewide mask mandate is also under legal challenge.
The Tavern League of Wisconsin has challenged the governor’s prior emergency orders in court. They released this statement ahead of the governor’s address:
“Governor Evers has just announced that he plans a statewide address tonight to discuss COVID-19. The short address is likely to be aired statewide in conjunction with local news programming across the state. We do not yet know what he is planning to announce, though we anticipate an approach similar to what other neighboring Governors have been doing. Obviously, the State Supreme Court and local courts have struck down earlier orders, so we anticipate him trying to modify them in a way in which he believes will sustain a legal challenge. We are working to get additional details, and will update you when we know more.” - Tavern League of Wisconsin.
CLICK HERE to track COVID-19 numbers in Wisconsin.
“We have a lot of work to do here in Brown County and Wisconsin to get through this surge," says Prevea Health President and CEO Dr. Ashok Rai. All of these great advancements in the vaccine and the antibody only make sense if we can control the surge. We need to do a better job at the public gatherings. We need to do a better job at masking. And more importantly, we need to test, test and test. We need to test more people. We need to control the virus more. We need to expand that capability every day and get people to get tested. And I think that’s one of the hardest things you can do is you can have all the testing apparatus you want, but people still need to show up.”
Action 2 News will carry the address on WBAY TV-2, wbay.com and our Facebook page.
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