After the state public health department's Safer at Home emergency order 28 was repealed by the state supreme court, local units of government have been charged with providing guidance or rules in their place.

Barron County Public Health Department released COVID-19 guidance for businesses, organizations and community members on Friday, May 15.

[Read the guidance here.]

"It is important to note that while the Safer at Home order may be gone, the virus is not. COVID-19 still poses a risk to our community," said Barron County Public Health Officer Laura Sauve. "We all need to work together to protect ourselves, families and those in our community who are the most vulnerable. Barron County strongly encourages everyone to follow the guidance to the greatest extent possible. Together we can help keep the curve flat and protect our community."

While the state Supreme Court struck down the statewide order, saying that DHS secretary-designee Andrea Palm overstepped her authority, the Safer at Home order was not made in accordance with legislative rulemaking procedures and the penalties were not enforceable, local units government and public health departments still retain the power to shut down gatherings in their jurisdictions.

Barron County's guidance was just that, guidance and not a public health order that must be followed. However the document noted "the public health officer may ban public gatherings when deemed necessary to control outbreaks or epidemics (WI Statute 252.03(2))."

Mass gatherings of 10 people or more are discouraged, especially when there is prolonged contact, such as a concert, in a bar or restaurant, movies, meetings, church services, etc.

Businesses are urged to follow social distancing, have people wear masks and follow all recommendations from public health and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

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