While court decisions have prevented authorities in Wisconsin from imposing most statewide restrictions, Governor Tony Evers has issued an order for residents to wear protective facemasks through at least Jan. 19. Guidelines recommending residents to stay at home and businesses to limit capacity remain in place to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity.
Under the directives, individuals aged five and older must wear a facemask whenever they are in enclosed public spaces with people from other households present. Individuals are strongly encouraged to wear facemasks in all other settings, including outdoor spaces.
The state also has guidelines in place encouraging residents to remain home as much as possible, except for essential tasks. Individuals should avoid gatherings of any size and maintain a proper distance from members of other households. Businesses are urged to limit the number of customers and workers within their premises, require the use of facemasks, maintain a proper distance between workstations, and allow employees to work from home whenever possible.
Additionally, multiple counties and cities maintain additional restrictions. As of Dec. 4, the city of Milwaukee is on Phase 4.3 of its economic recovery plan, under which restaurants and bars can operate at 25-percent capacity, or 50-percent capacity with a safety plan approved by local authorities; retail stores and gyms can admit one person per 2.7 square meters (30 square feet), and personal care businesses can operate by appointment only, with customers and workers using facemasks. Team sports competitions can occur only with approved safety plans and without fans in attendance, and gatherings must be limited to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors. Other entertainment businesses can open at 25-percent capacity, and lodging businesses at 50-percent capacity.
Authorities in Dane County, including the city of Madison, have banned indoor gatherings, while allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people. Close-contact sports competitions are banned. Most businesses, including retail stores, gyms, and entertainment businesses, can operate at 50-percent capacity, while restaurants may offer indoor services at 25-percent capacity; bars may not offer indoor services. In the city of Racine, bars and restaurants, as well as gyms and fitness centers, may operate at 25-percent capacity, while retail stores and personal care businesses may operate at 50-percent capacity.
All state and county-level restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.
Heed the directives of the local authorities. Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.
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