Safer at Home

On Tuesday, March 24th Governor Tony Evers today directed Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to issue a Safer at Home order that prohibits all nonessential travel, with some exceptions as clarified and defined in the order. The order is effective at 8 am on Weds., March 25, 2020 and will remain in effect until 8 am Fri., April 24, 2020, or until a superseding order is issued. 

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WI DHS reminds everyone that even after implementing the Safer at Home order, it will likely be several weeks before we will see results:

This is because of the lag time between infection, symptom onset, and testing result. The numbers you're seeing today and in the near term are people who were infected before Safer at Home started. The science and the data tells us that staying at home is effective. So, please don't get discouraged; we need to remain vigilant and continue to do everything we can together to stop the spread of COVID-19. Keeping our health care system from becoming overwhelmed so it can care for us during this epidemic is our number one priority. The more we all stay Safer At Home the sooner we can get through the worst of this. Even if you do not feel sick, staying home is crucial. You do not have permission to leave your home unnecessarily just because you are feeling okay. Choosing to ignore the Safer at Home order is contributing to the spread of COVID-19.


Individuals do not need special permission to leave their homes, but they must comply with this order as to when it is permissible to leave home. Similarly, if a business is an Essential Business or Operation as defined in this order, it does not need documentation or certification to continue its work that is done in compliance with this order.

Under this order, Wisconsin residents are able to: 

  • Perform tasks essential to maintain health and safety, such as obtaining medicine or seeing a doctor;
  • Get necessary services or supplies for themselves or their family or household members, such as getting food and supplies, pet food and supplies necessary for staying at home;
  • Care for a family member in another household; and
  • Care for older adults, minors, dependents, people with disabilities or other vulnerable persons.

Businesses allowed to operate under the Safer at Home order include, but are not limited to: 

  • Health care operations, including home health workers;
  • Critical infrastructure;
  • Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise vulnerable individuals;
  • Fresh and non-perishable food retailers, including convenience stores, grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and food banks;
  • Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food and goods directly to residences;
  • Pharmacies, health care supply stores and health care facilities;
  • Child care facilities, with some limitations; 
  • Gas stations and auto repair facilities;
  • Banks;
  • Laundry businesses, dry cleaners and services necessary for maintaining the safety, sanitation and essential operation of a residence, including garbage collection;
  • Hardware stores, plumbers, and electricians;
  • Educational institutions, for the purposes of facilitating distance learning;
  • Roles required for any business to maintain minimum basic operations, which includes security, and payroll; and  
  • Law and safety, and essential government functions will continue under the recommended action.