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Waupaca County campgrounds to close, says county health officer

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WAUPACA COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) – All campgrounds in Waupaca County are to close until at least the end of Governor Tony Evers’ Safer at Home Order, according to Waupaca County Health Officer Jed Wohlt.

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In a Wednesday release, Wohlt said “I have determined that this Health Order to close all campgrounds in the County is necessary to prevent, suppress and control the COVID-19 virus and to protect the health, welfare and safety of people and property in the County.”

Wohlt’s Health Order will remain in effect until Gov. Evers’ Safer At Home order ends, “or as otherwise ordered by this office.”

Related: Fond du Lac County to close campgrounds under new order from public health officer

According to Wohlt, there are multiple reasons why he believes the closure of campgrounds are necessary.

  • Waupaca County “has a large percentage of aged population,” who are at a greater risk of being infected by the virus.
  • The county has about 6,300 campsites, drawing thousands of people from both and outside of the county.
  • Camping encourages non-essential travel.
  • Visitors coming from outside Waupaca County puts a greater strain on local stores, limiting those available for county residents.
  • Camping encourages the congregation of groups greater than ten people which is prohibited under the Safer At Home order. It also reduces the ability to properly social distance.

Under the Safer at Home order, campgrounds are allowed to stay open as they can provide needed housing for essential workers. WFRV Local 5 caught up with Jennifer Stockwell, one of those essential employees that is set to start work in Green Bay soon as a traveling nurse, that is currently staying in De Pere’s Apple Creek Campground.

On Thursday, Gov. Evers ordered the closure of 40 state parks, forests, and recreational areas, including Sherwood’s High Cliff State Park.

Fond du Lac and Oconto counties have exacted similar closures on campgrounds within county lines.

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