As of March 24, there were more than 500 statewide cases of COVID-19, with approximately 8,000 tests performed. Wisconsin has suffered five deaths, the first reported on March 19. Milwaukee County has seen more than 240 positive cases.

‘Safer at Home’ orders 

Gov. Evers issued a “safer at home” order March 24 to go into effect March 25. Wisconsin will become one of nearly 20 states in the U.S. to enact “shelter in place” type orders. These orders are greatly inconsistent from state to state, but they generally mean preventing individuals from being able to congregate by closing all businesses not deemed “essential.” The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued extensive guidance on the essential critical infrastructure workforce, which includes health care providers, grocery stores, farms, utilities, law enforcement, and government operations.

Per health safety protocol, residents should continue practicing safe social distancing of at least six feet. People are allowed to go outside to exercise or walk their dogs.

Exempt: Similar to orders in other states, certain industries like those providing food or health care would generally be exempted. 

  • Health care facilities: Clinics, hospitals, and pharmacies remain open.
  • Food industry: Grocery stores and convenience stores will remain open. Restaurants will be allowed to continue providing take-out and delivery. 
  • Businesses: Some manufacturing companies and other businesses deemed “essential” will be allowed to stay open and operate.
  • Workers: Workers providing essential services will be allowed to travel to work.
  • Parks: Wisconsin State Parks remain open to visitors.

Wisconsin timeline combatting COVID-19

  • March 12: Gov. Evers declares a state of emergency in Wisconsin.
  • March 13: Gov. Evers announces school closures in Wisconsin.
  • March 16: Gov. Evers prohibits gatherings of 50 or more people.
  • March 17: Gov. Evers bans dine-in bars/restaurants.
  • March 24: Gov. Evers signs “safer at home” orders.