The South Milwaukee/St. Francis Health Department has joined with those in other suburban communities to issue a new local health order after the Wisconsin State Supreme Court invalidated the state’s “Safer at Home” order in a ruling on Wednesday.
The order, effective immediately and through 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, May 21, sets in motion the first phase of a larger reopening plan under development by local health officers in the last two weeks.
It allows for the reopening of most businesses, limiting the number of people allowed inside most establishments to 25% of their capacity. Salons, barber shops and playgrounds may also reopen, with restrictions. Restaurants and bars would remain closed except for takeout and delivery. Gatherings must be limited to nine or fewer people.
You can see the full order here.
Statement from South Milwaukee/St. Francis Health Officer Jackie Ove
Our efforts to combat COVID-19 are working. We are flattening the curve, but in Milwaukee County we continue to have a high percentage of positive cases,and more work needs to be done. The worst thing we can do is reopen too quickly and give back our progress, and potentially make a second or third wave even worse than the first. We are not ready to fully reopen in Milwaukee County, or South Milwaukee. That is why we have put in place this short-term local order.
Statement from South Milwaukee Mayor Erik Brooks
I fully stand behind the South Milwaukee/St. Francis Health Department’s new order. The actions of the Supreme Court — invalidating the order without a stay, basically throwing open the state after almost two months of being “Safer at Home” — are irresponsible and reckless. They will lead to a patchwork approach to health orders across the state, with many communities likely not enacting one at all.
We were one of a handful of states in the country that was fully open for a time on Wednesday. Health leaders at all levels are nearly unanimous in stating the approach allowed by the court is dangerous and carries a cost of increased illness and death. A day without orders will come, and hopefully someday soon. But we are not there yet. We will reopen, the right way.
Statement from South Milwaukee Police Chief William Jessup
We thank the vast majority of people who voluntarily complied with the state’s “Safer at Home” order. We expect the same level of compliance with the new local health order. We will continue to work in concert with our Health Department to ensure orders are followed. If violations arise, law enforcement will take note and educate and inform those individuals. Enforcement has been and will be a last step.