MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) -- We've received countless calls and messages regarding the mandatory Safer at Home order issued this week in order to keep everyone safe during the pandemic.
The Safer at Home order applies to the entire state, meaning everyone must stay at home as much as possible, and non-essential businesses and operations must stop, however there are limited exceptions for minimum basic operations and working from home.
In addition, all public and private gatherings of any number of people that aren't part of a single household or living unit are prohibited, except for the limited exceptions contained in the order, which are listed below.
Governor Evers' office has answered many of those questions for you here.
Evers' office says you may leave your homes for the following reasons:
- To perform essential governmental functions, to work at essential businesses and operations, to do the minimum basic operations for non-essential businesses, and essential travel, all of which is defined in the order
- To obtain services at or to work for health care and public health operations, certain human services operations, or essential infrastructure
- To perform tasks that are essential to health and safety such as obtaining medical supplies or medications, seeking emergency services, or visiting a health care professional
- To obtain necessary services or supplies such as food, gasoline, pet supplies and other household consumer products
- Engage in outdoor activity, as long as you maintain social distancing
- Care for a family members, friend, or pet in another household, and to transport family members, friends, or pets as allowed under the order
What are social distancing requirements?
-Maintaining social distancing of six feet between people
-Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as much as possible, or using hand sanitizer
-Covering coughs or sneezes into the sleeve or elbow, not hands
-Regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces
-Not shaking hands
-Following all other public health recommendations issues by DHS and the CDC
Do I need documentation to leave my home?
Evers' office says you do not need special permission to leave your home, but you must comply with the order as far as when it is permissible to leave your home. In addition, if a business is an essential business or operation as outlined, it doesn't need documentation or certification to continue work that is done in compliance with the order.
Can I go outside for walks, outdoor exercise, or to play?
Yes. The order allows outdoor activities which meet social distancing requirements. You're allowed to travel to public and state parks for walks, hikes and bike rides, however no team or contact sports are allowed, and all playgrounds are closed.
How will this be enforced?
Any local law enforcement will enforce the order, including the county sheriff. In addition, anyone who violates or obstructs the order may be punished by imprisonment, fines or both.
Am I still able to move out of my home?
Moving and relocation services are considered essential businesses and operations.
Are personal care businesses allowed to remain open?
No - all hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, day spas, waxing salons, eyebrow-care establishments, tattoo parlors, body art establishments, tanning facilities and electrolysis providers must close.
Are landscaping businesses allowed to operate?
These aren't considered essential businesses or operations, however staff can perform minimum basic operations that are defined in the order.
Are public libraries open?
Libraries are ordered to close for all in-person service, but they can continue to provide online services and programming, and ay also be used for essential government functions and food distribution.
Can I get care or boarding for my pet?
Non-essential veterinary care should be avoided, however the order says you may leave your home to get any necessary veterinary care and supplies for your pet. In addition, grooming services must close. Pet boarding and daycare are considered essential, and may stay open.
Can I still continue on with a wedding or funeral as planned?
These events can still happen, as long as any gathering includes less than 10 people in a room or confined space at a time, and everyone follows the social distancing requirements. If you have to travel to attend a wedding or funeral, you're asked to check before leaving that your method of travel is still available. However, if travel is needed to go to another state, you're asked to read any orders in place in that state before you leave.
What if I still have to go to work?
All essential businesses and operations are asked to remain open, but are encouraged to have employees work from home if it is possible for them to complete their job duties remotely. All workers at essential businesses are told in the order to implement social distancing requirements as much as possible.
Can I travel?
All forms of travel are prohibited unless explicitly excepted. Individuals utilizing mass transit must maintain social
distancing of at least six feet as much as possible. Essential travel that is exempt includes:
1. Any travel related to essential activities, essential governmental functions, essential businesses and operations, or
non-essential businesses’ minimum basic operations.
2. Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or vulnerable persons.
3. Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving
meals, or any other services.
4. Travel to return to a place of residence from outside the jurisdiction.
5. Travel required by law enforcement or court order, including to transport children pursuant to a custody
6. Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside Wisconsin.
Individuals who work outside of Wisconsin are allowed to commute to other states for work purposes, as long as they
comply with this order and orders from other states.
Does this order change the school closure order?
A previous order mandating the closure of public and private K-12 schools at 5pm on Wednesday, March 18th is still in
effect. All schools must remain closed for instructional and extracurricular activities for the duration of the public health
emergency or until a subsequent order lifts this specific restriction. Schools may be used for facilitating distance or virtual
learning, essential government functions, and food distribution.
Does the order specify places that must close?
Yes. All non-essential businesses and operations must close. K-12 schools and public libraries are closed, with some
exceptions including virtual learning and on-line services. Additionally, all amusement parks, carnivals, water parks,
licensed public or private swimming pools, splash pads, aquariums, zoos, museums, arcades, fairs, children’s play centers,
playgrounds, funplexes, theme parks, bowling alleys, movie and other theaters, concert and music halls, country clubs,
social clubs, and gyms and fitness centers. This order to applies the above places and those like them whether they are
indoors or outdoors.
What is considered an essential business?
Please read the order carefully to determine what is considered an essential business or operation. Even if a business or
operation is essential, there are still important restrictions on how the business can operate. For example, all entities that
remain open as essential businesses or operations must implement social distancing as much as possible and use
technology to avoid meeting in person, including virtual meetings, teleconference, and remote work (i.e., work from
home). The order contains specific restrictions on each kind of essential business and operation.
Essential businesses and operations include the following, which are clarified in detail in the Order:
1. Any business or worker identified in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure
Security Agency (CISA) memo, and any subsequent version of this memo
2. Stores that sell groceries and medicine, including bakeries, provided they: (i) close all seating intended for
consuming food; (ii) cease any self-service operations of salad bars, beverage stations, and buffets; (iii) except for
grocery stores, prohibit customers from self-dispensing all unpackaged food; and (iv) abide by social distancing
3. Food and beverage production, transport, and agriculture
4. Restaurants and bars, for take-out and delivery service of food
5. Organizations that provide charitable and social services, including food banks and shelters
6. Religious entities as long as any gathering includes fewer than 10 people in a room or confined space at a time
and individuals adhere to social distancing requirements as much as possible.
7. Weddings and funerals as long as any gathering includes fewer than 10 people in a room or confined space at a
time and individuals adhere to social distancing requirements as much as possible.
8. News media
9. Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
10. Financial institutions and services
11. Hardware and supplies stores
12. Critical trades
13. Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services
14. Laundry services
15. Supplies to work from home
16. Supplies for essential businesses and operations and essential governmental functions
17. Transportation to and from activities permitted in the order
18. Home-based care and services
19. Professional services
20. Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries
21. Critical labor union functions
22. Hotels and motels
23. Higher educational institutions for purposes of facilitating distance learning, performing critical research, or other
In the exceptional circumstance that a business is not explicitly listed as an essential business or operation, but believes it
should be included, businesses should consult the information page on the Wisconsin Economic Development
Corporation (WEDC) website, here: https://wedc.org/essentialbusiness/.
In addition to essential businesses and operations, healthcare and public health operations, human services operations,
essential infrastructure, essential governmental functions will continue to operate.
Will restaurants and bars remain open?
Restaurants may remain open for food take-out or delivery only and no seating may be provided. Carryout sales of alcohol
beverages and food are allowed if permitted by state law and municipal ordinance. Customers may enter these
establishments only for the purpose of ordering, picking up, and paying for food or beverage. Food and drink may not be
consumed on the premises, either indoors and outdoors.
Any self-service operations of salad bars, beverage stations, and buffets must cease. Customers are prohibited from selfdispensing any unpackaged food or beverage.
Social distancing requirements must be implemented as much as possible.
Will hotels and motels remain open?
Hotels and motels are essential businesses and operations and can remain open if they follow the guidelines imposed on
stores that sell groceries and medicine, restaurants, and bars. Guests are prohibited from congregating in lobbies or other
common areas and social distancing requirements must be implemented. Hotel and motel swimming pools, hot tubs, and
exercise facilities must close.
Does this order apply to child care settings?
Child care settings are essential businesses and operations. Secretary-designee Andrea Palm’s Emergency Order #6
remains in effect, with the following amendments:
Child care settings must prioritize care for families as follows:
Tier 1: Employees, contractors, and other support staff working in health care
Tier 2: Employees, contractors, and staff in vital areas outlined in the order
Child care settings include all licensed and certified child care providers who may provide care for any age or ages of
children up to 13 years of age, unless specially licensed for children with disabilities up to 19 years of age.
Please see the Department of Children and Families FAQ on this topic for additional information.