'Patience and sacrifice:' Milwaukee leaders urge canceling Easter plans, including at-home gatherings

MILWAUKEE -- The holidays are typically a time for family gatherings, but this Easter weekend is anything but typical.

The Safer at Home order has been in effect now for more than two weeks, and a lot of people are struggling to stay away from friends and loved ones. A holiday can make that even more difficult, but Milwaukee leaders warn that even a small weekend get together comes with a big risk.

Though holidays and family gatherings go hand-in-hand for some. During the coronavirus pandemic, danger has forced its way onto the guest list.

Tom Barrett

"This is all very real," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. "I wish, I wish, wish, that there was a scientific exemption to COVID-19 for families. I wish there was a scientific exemption for religious activities. We know there is not.

"That's what we are dealing with, and that's why we are asking for the patience and sacrifice."

COVID-19 will not take a holiday break. Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik said neither should you.

Jeanette Kowalik

"We know that COVID 19 can move through a group of people every quickly," Kowalik said.

The health commissioner said gatherings of any size are not worth the risk. Even if you are staying home and practicing social distancing, you can't guarantee loved ones who you don't live with are doing the same.

"Think about it this way, some people are still going out because they are considered essential," she said. "Just opportunities for people to be exposed, and then they are bringing people together to celebrate a holiday and you could be in essence infecting your entire family."

Family support is valuable, especially during a pandemic. From a distance, the only thing Kowalik wants you to share this holiday weekend is hope.

Following her own advice, the health commissioner canceled her holiday plans and is staying home with her son.