Today Governor Evers directed Department of Health Services Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm to extend the Safer at Home orders through 8 AM Tuesday, May 26, 2020. As a result, students will not be returning to school this school year, and many non-essential businesses will remain closed. The order extends the Safer at Home period, but also modifies it to be more stringent in some ways and to allow limited operation of some of the businesses that were previously prohibited. 

A few weeks ago, we had a pretty grim outlook for what COVID-19 could mean for our state, but because of the efforts of all of you, Safer at Home is working. That said, we aren't out of the woods just yet, said Gov. Evers. As I've said all along, we are going to rely on the science and public health experts to guide us through this challenge. So, as we extend Safer at Home, I need all of you to continue doing the good work you've been doing so we can keep our families, our neighbors, and our communities safe, and get through this storm together.

Before we lift Safer at Home, the steps of testing and more robust public health measures must be in place, explained Secretary-designee Palm. These steps will help us reduce the risk of a second wave of the virus. If we open up too soon, we risk overwhelming our hospitals and requiring more drastic physical distancing measures again.

Some of the changes allowing more operations include:

  • Public libraries: Public libraries may now provide curb-side pick-up of books and other library materials. 
  • Golf Courses: Golf courses may open again, with restrictions including scheduling and paying for tee times online or by phone only. Clubhouses and pro shops must remain closed.
  • Non-essential Businesses: Non-essential businesses will now be able to do more things as Minimum Basic Operations, including deliveries, mailings, and curb-side pick-up. Non-essential businesses must notify workers of whether they are necessary for the Minimum Basic Operations.
  • Arts and Crafts Stores: Arts and craft stores may offer expanded curb-side pick-up of materials necessary to make face masks or other personal protective equipment (PPE). 

  • Aesthetic or Optional Exterior Work: Aesthetic or optional exterior law care or construction is now allowed under the extended order, so long as it can be done by one person.


Some new required stringent business practices include;

  • Safe Business Practices for Essential Businesses and Operations: Essential Businesses and Operations must increase cleaning and disinfection practices, ensure that only necessary workers are present, and adopt policies to prevent workers exposed to COVID-19 or symptomatic workers from coming to work.
  • Safe Business Practices for Retailers that Essential Businesses and Operations: Retail stores that remain open to the public as Essential Businesses and Operations must limit the number of people in the store at one time, must provide proper spacing for people waiting to enter, and large stores must offer at least two hours per week of dedicated shopping time for vulnerable populations.
  • Supply Chain: Essential Businesses and Operations that are essential because they supply, manufacture, or distribute goods and services to other Essential Businesses and Operations can only continue operations that are necessary to those businesses they supply. All other operations must continue as Minimum Basic Operations.

Public and private K-12 schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year. Local health officials will be able to lose parks and other open spaces if they are deemed to be too much of a public risk.  People are still encouraged not to travel any more than is necessary, including trips to cabins or second homes. Out-of-state travel is strongly discouraged.

Tribal Nations retain their sovereignty and may continue to set their own rules for social distancing and other restraints.

These changes all take effect on April 24 and remain in effect until 8 AM on May 26. 

An FAQ is available online for review. People in Wisconsin are encouraged to continue social distancing including:

  • Avoiding social gatherings with people of all ages (including playdates and sleepovers, parties, large family dinners, visitors in your home, non-essential workers in your house);
  • Frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water; 
  • Covering coughs and sneezes;
  • Avoiding touching one's face; and 
  • Staying home. 

In his weekly Democratic Party Radio address the governor spoke about today's announced changes:

Hi, Wisconsin. Governor Tony Evers here.

A little over three weeks ago, I asked for your help when I announced our Safer at Home order, and folks, you delivered. 

At that time, we had a pretty grim outlook for what COVID-19 could mean for our state, but Safer at Home is working and it's because of you that we have helped flatten the curve, which has resulted in fewer cases and hospitalizations.

But as I've said all along, I am going to rely on science and public health experts to help guide us through these challenges, because at the end of the day, my bottom line is keeping people safe and we're not out of the woods just yet.

COVID-19 has been and still is a situation that sometimes changes by the hour. That's why, just as I did three weeks ago, today I am again asking for your help. 

I need all of you to continue doing the good work you've been doing so that we can keep our families, our neighbors, and our communities safe. 

That's why, Wisconsin will be extending our Safer at Home order until May 26th and schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year.

Now, I know a lot of folks are concerned about the effects this will have on workers and businesses across our state, and believe me, no one wants to reopen our economy as much as I do. 

So our new Safer at Home order includes new flexibilities for businesses to serve customers, while keeping everybody safe.

But, Wisconsin, we can't think of this like flipping a light switch. It's like turning a dial and the more disciplined we are now, the faster we can turn it in the future.

We have to remember that we're all in this together, folks, and while we may not all be in the same boat, we are all weathering the same storm. 

Thank you for all the work you've been doing by staying safer at home and let's keep up the good work. Thank you. 


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Steve Hanson

Steve is a web designer and recently retired from running the hosting and development company Cruiskeen Consulting LLC. Cruiskeen Consulting LLC is the parent company of Wis.Community, and publication of this site continues after his retirement.

Steve is a member of LION Publishers and the Local Media Consortium, is active in Health Dunn Right, and is vice-president of the League of Women Voters of the greater Chippewa Valley



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