Gov. Tony Evers extends Safer at Home order

Order states all public, private K-12 schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, right, speaks to the crowd before a listening session at the University of Wisconsin-Superior Monday, April 15, 2019. (Jed Carlson /

Gov. Tony Evers has directed the state Department of Health Services to extend the state's Safer at Home order several weeks.

The order, which was set to expire Friday, April 24, will now end at 8 a.m. Tuesday, May 26.

The goal of such orders is to slow the spread of COVID-19 and lower the number of cases the state sees at its peak.

The order extending the timeframe states all public and private K-12 schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year.

Like under the original order , people don't need permission to leave their homes, but are only allowed to do so for specific things, like going to the grocery store or to the doctor. People are still allowed to exercise outside, but are required to keep 6 feet between themselves and others, unless they live with the person. Group sports, like basketball, soccer and ultimate frisbee, are banned. Playgrounds will also remain closed.


Essential businesses and operations , such as hospitals, grocery stores, hardware stores and pharmacies, will continue operations and don’t need any special certification to do so.

Wisconsin has been under the restrictions since Wednesday, March 25.

"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," Evers said in a statement Thursday. "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."

The new order includes minor changes allowing certain activities to start up again.

Public libraries can provide curbside pickup of books; golf courses can open with more spread out tee times; non-essential businesses will be allowed to do deliveries, mailings and curbside pick-up; arts and crafts stores can do curbside pick-up for materials used to make masks; and aesthetic lawn care or construction is allowed as long as it’s done by one person.

The new order also mandates essential retail stores limit the number of people present in the store at one time, provide proper social-distance spacing for those waiting to enter; and provide at least two hours of shopping per week for vulnerable populations.

The changes in the new order go into effect Friday, April 24.

"Before we lift Safer at Home, the steps of testing and more robust public health measures must be in place," said DHS Secretary Andrea Palm in a statement Thursday. "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."


Law enforcement agencies have been enforcing the order . Penalties for not complying have included citations, arrests and charges.

Before the announcement Thursday, Evers indicated, on the advice of public health experts, he was likely to extend it beyond the end of April.

The Marquette University Law School poll on April 1 found overwhelming support for Evers' stay-home order, with 86% of Wisconsin voters saying it was appropriate for the governor to close schools and businesses.

The administration’s order comes as the number of cases of COVID-19 continues to rise. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 3,721 positive cases of COVID-19 statewide and 182 deaths, according to DHS.

Minnesota's Stay at Home order was extended earlier this month from Friday, April 10 to Monday, May 4. It went into effect Friday, March 27.

Michigan's Stay at Home order ends Thursday, April 30. It was extended earlier this month. It went into effect Tuesday, March 24 and was to last at least three weeks. Michigan's governor said she wanted to see a "steady decline" before lifting the order.

Illinois' Stay at Home order is set to end Thursday, April 30 . It went into effect Saturday, March 21 and was originally set to end Tuesday, April 7.

As of Thursday, Iowa has not issued a formal Stay at Home or shelter-in-place order. The governor there has said restrictions she's issued during the pandemic have the same impact such orders have.


Wisconsin Public Radio can be heard in the Twin Ports at 91.3 FM or online at .

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