Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Wisconsin, US, lift COVID-19-related restrictions on some businesses starting May 11; extend stay-at-home order through May 26.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Wausau, Wisconsin
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Appleton, Wisconsin
  • Eau Claire, Wisconsin
  • Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • La Crosse, Wisconsin

This alert began 11 May 2020 23:22 GMT and is scheduled to expire 26 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Wisconsin (map)
  • Time Frame: Through May 26
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Wisconsin Governor Anthony Evers has issued orders lifting restrictions on some nonessential businesses, while extending his state's stay-at-home order through May 26, as part of the response to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Starting May 11, retail stores with entrances to the outside may reopen for in-person services, provided they allow no more than five customers inside at a time. Stores located inside malls that have no entrance to the outside must remain closed. Drive-in theaters may also resume operations, under certain restrictions. Essential businesses and services, including all those related to healthcare, transport, critical infrastructure, and security, as well as grocery stores, pharmacies, fuel stations, and banks, remain open.

Authorities had previously allowed other nonessential businesses and recreational areas to reopen, including entirely automatic car washes; recreational equipment rentals; golf courses; curbside pick-up and delivery services at public libraries and other businesses; landscaping and lawn care services; and state parks and forests. Other nonessential businesses must remain closed unless they can operate with employees working from home. All businesses that do reopen must comply with certain mandates aimed at preventing the further spread of COVID-19, including observing social distancing guidelines and implementing enhanced sanitation procedures, among other things.

Wisconsin's stay-at-home order remains in place through at least May 26. The order stipulates that residents may leave their homes only to attend to health issues, obtain basic goods, care for person in need, or travel to/from their places of employment. Residents may also engage in outdoor recreational activities, provided they comply with social distancing guidelines. Authorities have also canceled in-person lessons in public schools for the remainder of the school year.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will keep additional security personnel deployed to assist in enforcing the measures. Officials could amend the orders on short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures will likely accelerate in the coming weeks; however, officials may reimpose restrictions or extend them further should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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