Governor Evers Extends Safer at Home Order to May 26

April 17, 2020

On April 16, 2020, Governor Evers’ Administration issued an updated version of the Safer at Home Order.  Emergency Order #28 goes into effect on April 24, 2020 and remains in effect until 8:00 AM, Tuesday, May 26, 2020.  The Administration has also updated its FAQ providing additional interpretation of the Order.

The Order seeks to clarify several gray areas created by the old Order but for the most part reiterates or even strengthens the restrictions on Wisconsin businesses and residents.  For example, essential retailers now have rules regarding how many people can be allowed on the store premises and Section 14, Minimum Basic Operations, has been expanded to provide non-essential businesses with guidance regarding deliveries and mailings, curb-side pick-up, arts and craft stores operation and the provision of aesthetic or optional exterior work.

The Order seeks to reign in businesses that are allowed to be open, like essential manufacturers, but that are also engaging in non-essential work or operations alongside the essential ones.  Section 13 limits Essential Business to performing only those business operations that are necessary for the Essential Business and states, “all other non-essential goods or services may only continue as Minimum Basic Operations.”

There are two areas where the Order relaxes earlier restrictions.  Golf courses are now open, subject to special rules set forth in the Order.  In addition, the construction and landscaping industries can now expand their work to include non-essential construction and maintenance, but with a significant limitation: optional or aesthetic exterior work can now be performed as part of Minimum Basic Operations but only one employee is allowed to be onsite to perform the work.

For those hoping to return to normal, “Safer at Home” is the new normal, at least for another five weeks.  Hopefully, the Order will continue to serve its purpose of defeating the COVID-19 pandemic and saving lives.  No doubt significant legal and economic challenges will continue to develop and evolve as Wisconsin businesses and residents struggle during this strange and unsettling time.

The following is a breakdown of the key changes:

Section 2 – Business Operations
  • Essential Businesses must Implement Safe Practices.  Section 2.b.ii expands the practices Essential Businesses are required to implement to include:
    • social distancing for employees, customers, and members of the public;
    • restrict workers to those strictly necessary to perform the essential operation;
    • increase standards of cleaning and adopt protocols to clean and disinfect in the event of a positive COVID-19 case in the workplace; and
    • adopt policies to prevent workers from entering the premises if they display respiratory symptoms or have had contact with a person with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.
  • Rules for Stores.  Section 2.b.iii  establishes rules for Essential Businesses involved with in-person sales, including retail stores to include:
    • consider curbside pick-up options;
    • for stores of less than 50,000 square feet, limit the number of people (including employees) to 25% of the total occupancy limits;
    • for stores of more than 50,000 square feet – a. Limit the number of customers (excluding employees) to 4 people per 1,000 square feet, and b. offer at least two hours per week of dedicated shopping time for vulnerable populations; and
    • establish lines to regulate entry in accordance with above, with markings for patrons to stand at least six feet apart.
Section 4 – Closures
  • All K-12 schools are closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.  Section 4 a.
  • Golf courses are now open subject to detailed rules as to how they must operate.  Section 4 c. i
Section 10 – Essential Infrastructure
  • Modifies the type of work that can be done to construct and maintain Essential Infrastructure to include optional or aesthetic work as permitted Minimum Basic Operation.
Section 13 – Essential Businesses and Operations
  • States a limitation on Essential Businesses performing Non-Essential work or those supplying Essential Business to only those business operations that are necessary for the Essential Business and Operations or Essential Governmental Functions to which they are supplying goods or services. Any non-essential goods or services may only continue as Minimum Basic Operations.
Section 14 – Minimum Basic Operations
  • Section 14.c. Employee designation. Adds requirement that Non-essential businesses determine which of their workers are necessary to conduct Minimum Basic Operations and inform such workers of that designation.
  • Section 14.d. Delivery and mailings. Provides clarification regarding making and receiving non-essential deliveries and limiting such work to one person.
  • Section 14.c.  Curb-side pick-up. Provides clarification regarding the implementation of curbside service by non-essential business.
  • Section 14.d.  Arts and craft stores. Provides rules for curb-side pick-up.
  • Section 14.g. Aesthetic or optional exterior work.  This section is applicable to construction companies and landscapers and provides: “Minimum Basic Operations may include aesthetic or optional exterior residential construction and lawn care, if all the operations are performed by one person in a room or confined space, including a car or truck. No more than one employee or worker may be on the site at a time. Services may not require a signature by the recipient. Aesthetic or optional exterior work requiring more than one person on the site are prohibited.”
Section 15 – Essential Travel
  • Encourages Wisconsinites to stay close to home and not engage in unnecessary travel.  Discourages travel to secondary homes.