Last updated on March 17th, 2020 at 11:05 am
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Monday announced a statewide ban on gatherings of 50 or more.
The ban follows a new recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control against gatherings of 50 or more people as part of a national social distancing effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Health officials say such an approach is necessary to help slow the spread of the disease in an attempt to prevent a sudden spike in coronavirus cases that overwhelm the nation’s health care systems, as has occurred in Italy. Social distancing efforts in places like South Korea have been effective in slowing the spread of the disease, they say.
“Folks, it’s on all of us to practice social distancing and take every step possible to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Evers said on Twitter. “This is why I have directed (Wisconsin Department of Health Services) secretary-designee Andrea Palm to order a ban on mass gatherings of 50 or more people.”
“Critical infrastructure” and services such as grocery stores, food pantries, childcare centers, pharmacies and hospitals will be exempt from the order, Evers said.
“This isn’t a decision I made lightly and we understand this will have an impact on Wisconsin workers, families, businesses and communities, but keeping folks safe and healthy has to be our highest priority,” Evers said.
Last week, Evers declared a public health emergency in the state, due to the coronavirus, and ordered the closure of all public and private schools.
On Monday, officials said there were a total of 47 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Wisconsin.