City of Milwaukee public health order issued March 25 'remains in effect' after SCOWIS ruling

MILWAUKEE -- After the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Gov. Tony Evers' coronavirus stay-at-home order Wednesday, May 13, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett issued a statement indicating the City of Milwaukee's public health order would remain in effect.

The 4-3 ruling essentially reopens the state, lifting caps on the size of gatherings, allowing people to travel as they please and allowing shuttered businesses to reopen, including bars and restaurants. The Tavern League of Wisconsin swiftly posted the news on its website, telling members, “You can OPEN IMMEDIATELY!”

The decision let stand language that had closed schools, however, and local governments can still impose their own health restrictions. In Dane County, home to the capital of Madison, officials quickly imposed a mandate incorporating most of the statewide order. City health officials in Milwaukee said a stay-at-home order they enacted in late March remains in effect.

“The City of Milwaukee Health Department issued a public health order on March 25, 2020 to protect public health and reduce the spread of COVID-19. That order remains in effect, including all provisions on public gatherings, restaurants and bar operations," Mayor Barrett said in a statement Wednesday.

The City of Milwaukee's order reads, in part:

With exceptions, all individuals currently living within the City of Milwaukee (“City”) are ordered to stay at home or at their place of residence. To the extent individuals are using shared or outdoor spaces, they must at all times as reasonably possible maintain social distancing of at least six (6) feet from any other person when they are outside their residence. All persons may leave their residences only for Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, or to operate Essential Businesses and Operations.

Joint statement from Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, chairwoman of the Public Safety and Health Committee and Common Council President Cavalier Johnson

"Our city has been hurt by COVID-19 disproportionately compared to other areas across the state. As such, we must continue our previously issued “Safer-at-Home” order to protect our most vulnerable residents, particularly our African American and Latino communities that have experienced devastating loss of life.

"We will not sit idle as Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices who ruled to overturn Governor Tony Evers’ “Safer-at-Home” order choose politics over science. As parents of young children, the recent news of children dying from COVID-19 related symptoms is terrifying.

"Public health experts have warned that if we end restriction too quickly it will result in needless death and suffering. The virus is still spreading and we must continue to remain vigilant and united in our response.

"To our fellow communities across the state we ask that you unite with us to protect our residents and fight the spread of this deadly virus that knows no boundaries and doesn’t distinguish between Milwaukee, Greenfield or any other community as it spreads and kills.

"And to the residents of Milwaukee, we want things to be back to normal as much as you do, but the virus is still here and our normal has changed. We are all in this together and we will get through this together."