Gov. Evers Issues "Safer at Home" Order, Small Business Impacted

Date: March 25, 2020

Small Businesses Must be Deemed "Essential" to Stay Open

Gov. Tony Evers has directed Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary to issue a “Safer at Home” order that prohibits all nonessential travel, with some exceptions. You can read the order here.

The order started at 8 am, March 25, 2020 and will remain in effect until 8 am Fri., April 24, 2020, or until a superseding order is issued. 

Wisconsites do not need special permission to leave their homes, but they have to comply with the orders as to what activities they are allowed to leave their homes to do. If a business has been deemed “essential” it does not need documentation to continue to operate.

Under this order, Wisconsin residents are able to: 

  • Perform tasks essential to maintain health and safety, such as obtaining medicine or seeing a doctor; 
  • Get necessary services or supplies for themselves or their family or household members, such as getting food and supplies, pet food and supplies necessary for staying at home;
  • Care for a family member in another household; and 
  • Care for older adults, minors, dependents, people with disabilities or other vulnerable persons. 

Businesses allowed to operate under the Safer at Home order include, but are not limited to: 

  • Health care operations, including home health workers; 
  • Critical infrastructure; 
  • Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise vulnerable individuals; 
  • Fresh and non-perishable food retailers, including convenience stores, grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and food banks; 
  • Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food and goods directly to residences; 
  • Pharmacies, health care supply stores and health care facilities; 
  • Child care facilities, with some limitations; 
  • Gas stations and auto repair facilities; 
  • Banks; 
  • Laundry businesses, dry cleaners and services necessary for maintaining the safety, sanitation and essential operation of a residence, including garbage collection; 
  • Hardware stores, plumbers, and electricians; 
  • Educational institutions, for the purposes of facilitating distance learning; 
  • Roles required for any business to maintain minimum basic operations, which includes security, and payroll; and 
  • Law and safety, and essential government functions will continue under the recommended action. 

The order contains detailed information regarding the exemptions provided to certain businesses. If a business is unsure about whether or not they are exempted from this order, please contact the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation here


The public should follow simple steps to prevent illness and avoid exposure to this virus including: 

  • Avoid social gatherings with people of all ages (including playdates and sleepovers, parties, large family dinners, visitors in your home, non-essential workers in your house); 
  • Frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water; 
  • Covering coughs and sneezes; 
  • Avoiding touching your face; and 
  • Staying home. 


This is a rapidly evolving situation and we encourage you and the public to frequently monitor the DHS website for updates here. Additional information can be found on the CDC website here.

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