Gov. Tony Evers' "safe-at-home" order, similar to shelter-in-place orders that other states have issued, will take effect Wednesday at 8 a.m. and continue four weeks "or until a superseding order is issued."
Evers said he didn’t want to have to issue such an order, but “folks need to start taking this seriously.” The goal of the order is to slow the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak so doctors and nurses are not overwhelmed with patients.
The order keeps essential services open, which include: health care and day care facilities, grocery stores and shops that sell medicine, food and beverage production, transportation, agriculture, restaurants and bars that offer take-out and delivery services, "charitable and social services" organizations, media organizations, gas stations, financial institutions, hardware stores, "critical trades," mail and shipping services, Laundromats, manufacturing and supply chains for critical products, hotels (with restrictions) and more.
People can leave their houses to shop for groceries and medicine, deliver supplies to others, seek emergency services, visit a health care facility or engage in outdoor activity like walking, biking, hiking or running. People must try to keep a distance of six feet from each other when outside, and can't engage in "team or contact sports" like basketball, soccer or football, according to the order. Playgrounds will be closed.
People can also leave their homes to care for family members, friends or pets in other households, or to transport them.
Weddings, funerals and religious gatherings must have fewer than 10 people in a room or confined space at a time, and people must use social distancing rules as much as possible, according to the order.
Local police will be charged with enforcing the order. Violating the order could result in 30 days of imprisonment, up to a $250 fine or both.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.