Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Wisconsin, US, extend orders requiring nonessential businesses to close, residents to remain home, 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 17 Apr 2020 18:26 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: Movement restrictions, significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Wisconsin Governor Anthony Evers announced the extension of the orders requiring nonessential businesses to close, and residents to stay at home except to perform essential tasks, through at least May 26, as part of the state's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The orders, which were originally set to expire April 24, stipulate that residents are only allowed to leave their homes to attend to health issues, obtain basic goods, to care for person in need, or to perform outdoor recreational activities while maintaining a proper distance from others. Residents may also leave their homes to go to work at an essential business or service, including all those related to healthcare, transport, critical infrastructure, and security, as well as grocery stores, pharmacies, fuel stations, and banks. Other businesses can operate with employees working from home.

Authorities have also cancelled in-person lessons in public schools for the remainder of the school year, and have authorized local authorities to close local parks if they consider it necessary. Officials will allow golf courses to reopen, and will allow aesthetic or optional constructions, as long as they can be done by one person. Nonessential businesses can also operate with deliveries or curbside pickups. Officials have also asked residents to avoid all nonessential travel, and to self-quarantine for 14 days if they are returning from a travel outside of their community.

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

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Wisconsin authorities are similar to actions adopted by other governments in the US and globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. 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 World Health Organization (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.

Resources
WHO coronavirus knowledge base: www.who.int

Wisconsin Department of Health Services: www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/

Governor of Wisconsin - Safer at Home Order: https://content.govdelivery.com/