'Safer at Home' order carries potential fines, jail time if not followed

Posted at 9:38 PM, Mar 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 23:22:40-04

Law enforcement agencies around the state will have the duty of enforcing the governor's "Safer at Home" order, but agency heads are hoping they don't have to. The order signed by the governor goes into effect Wednesday, March 25th, 2020, at 8 a.m. It restricts residents to their homes unless the trip is essential. More on the order can be found here.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett instituted restrictions earlier in the week. He said he hopes residents will self-police and that officers can focus on other issues unless someone is flagrantly disobeying the order.

Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling says his deputies have instituted different procedures to protect themselves and residents from COVID-19. "It should not be unexpected to have one of our deputies, perhaps during an interaction with a community member to have them step out of their vehicle, to have them step out of their home. To have them hold up their identification so we can accurately document that information without actually touching it," said Schmaling.

Schmaling and Barrett hope that their officers won't have to spend time enforcing the order, but there are consequences built into "Safer at Home." South Milwaukee Police Chief William Jessup says, "we also want to be clear that individuals that choose to ignore the governor's order and willfully put the health of others at risk could face sanctions." The order calls for a $250 fine and a potential for 30 days in jail for violators.

The governor's order is set to expire on April 24th, 2020, if it isn't suspended before that.

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