Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is preparing to order state residents to stay in their homes to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The governor announced via Twitter Monday morning he will issue the “Safer at Home” initiative on Tuesday.
“Over the past few days, I’ve talked with public health experts and with business leaders and local elected officials around the state” Evers said in a series of tweets. "Overwhelmingly the response I heard is that we need an all-hands-on-deck approach to stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. In fact, business leaders have suggested that it is imperative to slow the growth of the disease and that the state cease all non-essential business statewide.”
It follows similar action taken by other Midwestern states, including Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan.
Evers said workers providing “essential care or services in our communities” -- a category that includes health care professionals, grocers and family caregivers -- will be allowed to continue to travel to and from work.
He urged residents to not take any other unnecessary trips, limiting travel to only essential needs, such as seeing the doctor, going grocery shopping and picking up medication.
He also urged people to shrink their circles of interaction to the same people, not different small groups.
“Unfortunately that means no sleepovers, no play dates, and no dinner parties with friends and neighbors,” Evers tweeted.
Evers said more details will be released Tuesday regarding the order.
Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce president Tim Sheehy said the measure is "necessary."
“We are supportive of Governor Evers’ directive to raise Wisconsin’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic," Sheey said in a statement. "We believe his response is appropriate. But at the same time, we recognize that this is economically challenging. Essential industries must continue to operate in support of health care, testing development, infrastructure, food and beverage, defense and critical path supply chains.
“We have a resilient and determined population. An innovative and adaptable manufacturing capacity. A world-class health care infrastructure. This decision by Governor Evers will add to our economic hardship, but it is also necessary to reduce the real health risks. We support this step so we can come through this crisis and come out stronger. The sooner we start, the quicker we get through to the other side.”
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said he is also issuing a “stay at home” order for the city. Barrett said his order will go into effect before the state’s, as the number of cases in the city of Milwaukee continues to climb, particularly on the city’s north side. As of Monday morning, there were 156 confirmed cases in the city.
Under the city's order, restaurants will be permitted to continue offering carryout and delivery services, city health commissioner Jeanette Kowalik said.
Milwaukee County executive Chris Abele commended Evers’ order.
“I am certain this decision was not an easy one, but the governor’s order for Wisconsin residents to stay at home is the right thing to do to ensure we are protecting the health and well-being of our residents,” Abele said. “I strongly encourage everyone in Milwaukee County to follow the guidelines and ensure the safety of their neighbors as we work to confront this pandemic. We must do what we can to support the people on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19, and those most vulnerable to its consequences.”
As of Monday morning, there were 202 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Milwaukee County.