COVID 19 – Wisconsin Shutting Down
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Tony Evers said Monday that he will order the closure of all nonessential businesses starting Tuesday and he urged people to stay at home to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus
It has killed five people in the state and infected more than 400.
Also on Monday, 33-year-old state Rep. David Bowen, of Milwaukee, said he tested positive for the virus and was recovering at home. He was the first member of the Legislature to say they had tested positive.
The order from Evers, which he is calling “safer at home,” follows his orders to close the state’s K-12 schools and various businesses, including bars, restaurants and hair salons. He also limited gatherings to no more than 10 people, but he said Friday that he didn’t think a shelter in place order would be necessary.
Republican legislative leaders, who had earlier praised Evers for not closing more businesses, said the “safer at home” order was causing “mass amounts of confusion,” uncertainty and anxiety. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said there needs to be a better understanding of why decisions are being made because of the impact on the economy, businesses and residents of the state.
Evers said many unanswered questions about the order, including the full list of exemptions and how long it would be in place, would be released on Tuesday.
“We have in the past and will continue to ask people to stay at home, stay at home, stay at home,” Evers said. The additional closings, and exhortations for people not to leave home, came about because state health experts told him “we’re not getting to the point we wanted to be,” Evers said.
He said he made the decision in consultation with public health experts, business leaders and local elected officials. Republican legislative leaders said they were not consulted and that the decision came as a surprise.
The tighter restriction mirrors what other places have done, including neighboring Illinois, to try and force people not to leave their homes or interact with others unless absolutely necessary.
Those who provide essential care and services, such as doctors, nurses and other in the health care industry, grocers and family caregivers, will be granted an exemption, Evers said. But everyone else should limit their travel to essential needs like getting groceries and medication and going to the doctor and stay 6 feet apart from anyone else, he said.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The goal is to slow the spread of the disease so there isn’t a surge in patients that overwhelms hospitals and health care workers.