MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) – Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has officially enacted his ‘Safer At Home’ order, causing nonessential businesses across the state to close in order to slow the spread of coronavirus (full version of the order embedded below).

The order goes into effect at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25, and is set to remain in effect until 8 a.m. Friday, April 24, or until a superseding order is issued.

So what does it all mean?


Under the order, Gov. Evers says individuals do not need special permission to leave their homes, but must comply to the order as to when they can leave their homes.

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Wisconsinites are ordered to stay at home or at their place of residence, with a few exceptions:

  • Essential Activities
  • Essential Governmental Functions
  • To operate Essential Businesses and Operations
  • To perform non-essential Minimum Basic Operations
  • Essential Travel
  • Special Situations

Individuals experiencing homelessness are exempt from this section of the order, but are strongly urged to obtain shelter.

All nonessential forms of travel are prohibited under the order, except for essential travel as defined. Individuals riding on public transit must comply with social distancing requirements to the greatest extent possible, according to Gov. Evers.


If a business is an Essential Business or Operation as defined in the order, it does not need documentation or certification to continue its work that is done in compliance with the order.

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The order requires nonessential businesses and operations to cease. According to Gov. Evers, nonessential businesses are those not included in the below list of essential businesses.

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If a business is unsure about whether or not they are exempted from this order, they are asked to contact the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation here

Places of public amusement and activity are to close. Those include, but are not limited to, amusement parks, carnivals, water parks, licensed public or private swimming pools, splash pads, aquariums, zoos, museums, arcades, fairs, children’s play centers, playgrounds, funplexes, theme parks, bowling alleys, movie and other theaters, concert and music halls, country clubs, social clubs, and gyms and fitness centers.


Gov. Evers says the following businesses are allowed to continue operating under the order:

  • 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.


“I know the COVID-19 outbreak has been difficult and has disrupted the lives of people across our state. Issuing a Safer at Home order isn’t something I thought we’d have to do and it’s not something I take lightly, but here’s the bottom line: folks need to start taking this seriously,” said Gov. Evers. “Each and every one of us has to do our part to help slow the spread of COVID-19 so we can flatten the curve to ensure our doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers have the opportunity to do their important work. Let’s do our part and work together.”

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Gov. Evers is asking the public to follow simple steps to prevent illness and avoid exposure to this virus including:

  • Avoid social gatherings with people of all ages (including playdates and sleepovers, parties, large family dinners, visitors in your home, non-essential workers in your house);
  • Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap and water;
  • Covering coughs and sneezes;
  • Avoiding touching your face; and
  • Staying home.