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Milwaukee to continue to enforce own COVID-19 plan, not Evers' statewide order

Downtown skyline with Buildings in Milwaukee USA
Posted at 8:34 PM, Oct 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-07 21:59:50-04

MILWAUKEE — The City of Milwaukee has decided to continue to enforce its own COVID-19 order and not abide by the statewide order issued by Gov. Evers on Tuesday.

The Milwaukee Health Department argued in a news release Wednesday night that its local safety order, called the 'Moving Milwaukee Forward Safely' order, is in fact more restrictive than the governor's Emergency Order #3.

The department's position is that while the governor's order limits capacity in public places at a lower level, 25 percent, the local order's additional restrictions "do more to prevent COVID-19 transmission," according to the department.

Those restrictions include requiring bars and restaurants to submit a "strenuous" 80-point checklist to the health department. The checklist includes requirements such as implementing strict hygiene, cleaning and protective measures, according to the department.

Milwaukee's local order also requires businesses to have their employees work from home, virtually, "to the greatest possible extent" as well as require workers to stay six feet apart whenever possible.

"As a result, even though the Moving Milwaukee Forward Safely Order permits a larger threshold of individuals in certain places than Emergency Order #3 allows, the additional restrictions listed under the local order do more to prevent COVID-19 transmission than Governor Evers’ Emergency Order #3," according to the Milwaukee Health Department.

According to the statewide order, local municipalities are allowed to enforce their local orders if they are more restrictive than the statewide order.

The city reviewed both the statewide order and its Moving Milwaukee Forward Safely order, and decided to continue with what it calls its more restrictive COVID-19 order.

Thus, all Milwaukee residents are urged to continue to comply with the local order, rather than Evers' statewide order issued on Tuesday.

The emergency order issued by Gov. Evers and DHS Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm limits the capacity of bars, restaurants and stores to 25 percent, to go into effect statewide on Thursday at 8 a.m. The statewide order does not apply to outdoor spaces.

The statewide order will remain in effect until Nov. 6.

Violators could face forfeitures of up to $500, according to the governor's office. It remains unclear how the governor's administration will enforce the statewide order in Milwaukee, if it decides the local order is not more restrictive than the statewide version.

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