Gov. Tony Evers delivered a statewide address on the ever-worsening COVID-19 pandemic in Wisconsin Tuesday night. During the speech, he revealed he had issued an executive order (order #94, for those keeping score at home) that “recommends,” among other things, staying at home, avoiding gatherings, wearing a mask, and all the other things that shouldn’t have to be goddamn “recommendations” but they are because Republican leaders have blocked each and every thing Evers has come up with so far and because we’re living in hell.
“Our case numbers continue to climb,” Evers said. “Since just last Friday, we’ve added more than 25,000 new cases. It took us seven and a half months to get to 100,000 cases. But it only took 36 days to add another 100,000. The way things are going, it will take us only 20 days to reach another 100,000.”
There were 7,073 new positive cases of COVID-19 reported in Wisconsin in the past 24 hours alone. There were 66 new deaths. Both numbers represent one-day records. All told, 2,395 Wisconsinites are fucking dead.
“We must get back to the basics of fighting this virus just like we did last spring, and it starts at home,” Evers continued. “It’s not safe to go out, it’s not safe to have others over—it’s just not safe. And it might not be safe for a while yet. So, please, cancel the happy hours, dinner parties, sleepovers, and playdates at your home. And if a friend or family member invites you over, offer to hang out virtually instead.
“And unfortunately, with the holidays just around the corner,” he added, “we recommend that you plan to celebrate just with your own household. You can still invite others to join virtually, but we advise you not to go to any gatherings with people who are not in your immediate home.”
Here’s Evers’ speech, followed by the order:
Gov. Evers Calls for Unity, Working Together, Signs Executive Order Advising Wisconsinites to Stay Home
Good evening, Wisconsin. Governor Tony Evers here. Thank you for tuning in tonight.
I know I don’t have to tell you that this year has been one of major challenges.
A global pandemic—coupled with economic uncertainty and another election season—has shaken our patience, our empathy, and our compassion for one another.
Our optimism has been battered, our resilience strained, and our character tested.
But now, as we put the election behind us, we are called upon to remember the things that unite us—and that includes the struggles that we share. We must now return our undivided attention to the COVID-19 pandemic. We must start fighting this virus, together, and we must start tonight.
As you know, earlier this year, we took steps to contain COVID-19 by issuing a safer at home order. We estimated then that our efforts would save between 300 and 1,400 lives. That order was struck down by the Wisconsin Supreme Court—a decision that hamstrung our ability to respond to this virus by using the tools supported by science and public health experts.
Unfortunately, since then, Wisconsin has become a national hotspot. We once led our region in containing this virus, but now surges in our state rival what we saw in New York City this spring.
Our case numbers continue to climb. Since just last Friday, we’ve added more than 25,000 new cases. It took us seven and a half months to get to 100,000 cases. But it only took 36 days to add another 100,000. The way things are going, it will take us only 20 days to reach another 100,000.
We’ve now surpassed, in deaths, the number of lives we projected we would have saved months ago if we would have been able to keep safer at home and reopen safely. 2,395 Wisconsinites—mothers, fathers, grandparents, friends, and coworkers—have lost their lives, and I offer my deepest sympathies and condolences to those who are mourning the loss of their loved ones.
Unfortunately, they will not be the last.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates 5,000 Wisconsinites could be lost to COVID-19 by January 1st if no further actions are taken to get this virus under control. That means another 2,500 people who might not be with us on New Year’s Day.
Wisconsin, this is serious. This crisis is urgent.
Across our state, families, workers, and communities continue to face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our healthcare workers are going to work every day, working three, sometimes four, shifts in a row, often having to reuse or share masks, and putting themselves and their families at risk to do their jobs. We owe them our thanks, but they also deserve our action.
I am concerned about what our current trajectory means for Wisconsin healthcare workers, families, and our economy if we don’t get this virus under control.
So, I want to be clear tonight: each day this virus goes unchecked is a setback for our economic recovery.
Our bars, restaurants, small businesses, families, and farmers will continue to suffer if we don’t take action right now—our economy cannot bounce back until we contain this virus.
So, tonight, I have signed Executive Order #94 advising Wisconsinites to stay home to save lives.
We must get back to the basics of fighting this virus just like we did last spring, and it starts at home.
It’s not safe to go out, it’s not safe to have others over—it’s just not safe. And it might not be safe for a while yet.
So, please, cancel the happy hours, dinner parties, sleepovers, and playdates at your home. And if a friend or family member invites you over, offer to hang out virtually instead.
And unfortunately, with the holidays just around the corner, we recommend that you plan to celebrate just with your own household. You can still invite others to join virtually, but we advise you not to go to any gatherings with people who are not in your immediate home.
You can keep supporting local businesses, restaurants, and workers by sticking to curbside pickup, delivery, or using online ordering whenever you can.
If you need to get out and go for a walk or a bike ride, that’s alright, too—it’s important now more than ever to get some exercise and take good care of our physical and mental health.
Or if you think you might’ve been exposed to COVID-19, please go get tested. And then make sure you’re quarantining at home while you’re waiting for your results and for 14 days after you’ve been exposed. Even if you do test negative for COVID-19, it’s important to remember that just because you test negative today doesn’t guarantee a negative test tomorrow, so please stay home.
Otherwise, if you have to leave your home, limit it to essential needs or errands. Please only leave your home if it’s absolutely necessary like going to the doctor, picking up prescriptions, grabbing groceries, or getting tested.
And if you have to go out, please wear a mask and stay six feet apart. Wearing a mask is not a political statement—it’s a sign to coworkers or the strangers you pass in the grocery store that you care about them, and they care about you, too.
That’s why I’m also calling on business leaders across our state to continue doing their part to keep workers, customers, and communities safe by expanding working from home options for workers, offering online or virtual services, and limiting the number of people in offices, facilities, and stores.
Small businesses across our state have been important partners throughout this fight, and I’m grateful for all their good work.
And if shifting to virtual work isn’t feasible, please go to WEDC.org to find guidelines for policies to help prevent workplace exposure and to keep workers and customers as safe as possible.
As we’ve fought this virus since March, we’ve worked hard to support workers, families, farmers, and businesses across our state. In the coming days, I’ll be announcing a package of COVID-19 legislation that should be passed quickly to make sure we have the resources ready for those who need it.
We’ve also used our federal CARES money to get support to Wisconsinites across our state. We’ve supplied more than 16 million in PPE and sanitizing supplies to local communities. We’ve also assisted more than 26,000 small businesses, helped more than 12,000 households pay rent, supported more than 15,000 farms, and expanded statewide testing and contact tracing efforts.
But we also know we have a long road ahead of us, and there are workers, families, farmers, and small businesses that are going to need our help as we work to fight this virus, together.
Here’s the bottom line—the federal CARES dollars we received earlier this year expire on December 31st. That means unless we get additional support from Congress, our state will have to foot the bill for our response after the New Year.
So, please contact your congressperson and ask them to provide additional support and resources for our state’s response to this virus. We must be able to continue all our efforts to keep people healthy and safe.
I know this year has been extremely difficult, and I know good news is hard to come by these days.
But, as I stand here tonight, I’ll tell you that I’m hopeful—that we can beat this virus and we can rebuild and recover.
Anyone would be a fool to count us out, Wisconsin.
The surges we see—the new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths—these are not foregone conclusions. These are predictable and preventable. That means the fight against this virus is winnable, but only if we fight it together.
So, tonight we must also offer our neighbors the promise of a better tomorrow—a promise that each of us must play a part in delivering by doing everything we can.
Right now, we’ve got plenty to prove and a lot to lose. Let’s get to work, and let’s move forward, together. Thank you.
Relating to Actions Every Wisconsinite Should Take to Protect their Family, Friends, and Neighbors from COVID-19
WHEREAS, the State of Wisconsin is in the middle of a deadly, uncontrolled, and drastically growing spike in cases of COVID-19. Without intervening measures, the State will continue to be the nation’s COVID-19 hot spot;
WHEREAS, without a vaccine, the only tools to slow the spread of COVID19 is to physically distance and wear a mask. Without using these simple but vital life-saving tools, Wisconsin will continue to suffer from unnecessary illness and death;
WHEREAS, it took seven months for Wisconsin to reach its first 100,000 COVID-19 cases, but only five weeks to reach the second 100,000 cases. At the current rate of growth, we will reach the third 100,000 cases in only twenty days. Wisconsin consistently has more new cases of COVID-19 per day than the entire country of Canada has each day;
WHEREAS, as of November 9, 2020, 2,329 Wisconsinites lost their lives due to COVID-19. The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projects that, based on current data, approximately 5,000 Wisconsinites could die from COVID-19 by January 1, 2021, if no further actions are taken to slow the spread of COVID-19. By contrast, universal mask wearing could save almost 800 lives by January 1;
WHEREAS, as the number of cases continue to increase, so does the number of people who die every day. COVID-19 is already one of the leading causes of death in Wisconsin for 2020. On average, more Wisconsinites are dying every day from COVID-19 than the average number of people who die per month in car accidents in the state;
WHEREAS, the consequences of failing to act will continue to be devastating and deadly. Hospital capacity shortages throughout the state are at record high levels; and
WHEREAS, despite these efforts, only the people of Wisconsin can do what it takes to slow the spread of this disease and decrease the number of people suffering and dying every day. Every Wisconsinite must take individual responsibility to wear a face covering, stay home as much as possible, physically distance at least six feet from others, wash hands frequently, and keep your social circle to five people or less.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, TONY EVERS, Governor of the State of Wisconsin, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of this state, do hereby recommend:
1. Staying home. All individuals should stay home as much as possible and only make trips when necessary, such as to go to work, pick up groceries, or refill prescriptions.
2. Safety of individuals. All individuals should take precautions when leaving their home to ensure their safety, the safety of the members of their household, and the safety of the public.
a. All individuals. For individual safety and the safety of the community, all individuals should:
i. Avoid gatherings of any size between individuals who are not members of the same living unit or household, to the extent possible.
ii. Maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet between individuals who are not members of the same living unit or household, to the extent possible.
iii. Wash hands often.
iv. Cover coughs.
v. Frequently clean high touch surfaces and objects.
vi. Wear a face covering in compliance with Governor Evers’ Emergency Order #1, issued September 22, 2020.
vii. Take available opportunities to provide material and emotional support to fellow Wisconsinites for whom staying home poses financial and psychological hardships.
b. Sick or symptomatic individuals. Individuals who are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 must take additional precautions. COVID-19 symptoms are listed on the Department of Health Services website and may include cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, headache, and new loss of taste or smell. Symptomatic individuals should:
i. Stay home as much as possible.
ii. Do not go to work or school.
iii. If possible, wear a face covering if you must go out in public.
iv. Get tested for COVID-19. Contact your doctor or primary health care clinic, if available, otherwise consult the Department of Health Services website for community testing resources.
v. If you test positive for COVID-19, follow local health official directives regarding isolation.
c. Vulnerable individuals. Vulnerable individuals include people over 60 years of age, pregnant women, people with compromised or weakened immune systems, and people with serious underlying health conditions including cancer, obesity, diabetes, or chronic lung, kidney or heart disease. To the extent possible, vulnerable individuals should continue to stay home. Members of households with vulnerable individuals should be aware that by returning to work or other public gatherings, they could carry the virus back home. Precautions should be taken to isolate from vulnerable residents.
d. Homeless individuals. Individuals experiencing homelessness are strongly urged to obtain shelter. Governmental and other entities are strongly urged to make such shelter available as soon as possible to the maximum extent practicable and to follow the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on COVID-19 risk mitigation practices.
e. Unsafe homes. Individuals whose homes or residences are unsafe or become unsafe, such as victims of domestic violence, are urged to leave their home and stay at a safe alternative location.
3. Businesses. All businesses are strongly encouraged to take steps to protect their staff, customers, and their communities.
a. Limit staff and customers in offices, facilities, and stores. To the greatest extent possible, facilitate remote work and other measures that limit the number of.individuals present at an office, facility, or store, including:
i. Offer online or virtual services, including meeting with clients, providing counsel, or other professional services.
ii. Hold meetings and collaborate online or by phone.
iii. Alternate work teams or stagger shifts.
b. Safe business recommendations when remote work is not possible. All businesses are strongly encouraged to take the following measures to limit exposure to COVID-19 to staff, customers, and the public:
i. Require masks.
ii. Limit the number of people on the premises to no more than is strictly necessary to perform the business operation.
iii. Even if staff are physically present at the business premises, use online or phone meeting to avoid staff congregating in offices, conference rooms, or shared spaces.
iv. To the greatest extent possible, comply with social distancing of 6 feet between all individuals on the premises, including but not limited to employees, customers, and members of the public. Businesses may have to rearrange office space, workspace, or the flow of business in order to provide for social distancing.
v. To the extent possible, increase airflow in work areas and conduct in-person meetings outside or in large open spaces.
vi. Adopt policies to prevent staff from entering the premises or worksite if they display respiratory symptoms or have had contact with a person with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID19. Employers may not penalize staff for isolating or quarantining because of symptoms or exposure to COVID-19.
vii. Increase standards of facility cleaning and disinfection of all areas. This should include an emphasis on high-touch areas such as door handles, railings, restrooms, buttons, touch screens, office equipment, tools, shared vehicles, payment devices or cash registers, and counters. Businesses must adopt protocols to clean and disinfect the premises in the event of a positive COVID-19 case in the workplace.
viii. Post signage in languages understood by your employees and customers reminding staff and customers of safe business practices, social distancing requirements, hand hygiene, and cough/ sneeze etiquette.
ix. Where possible, offer curbside pick-up, curbside drop-off, delivery of goods and services.
x. Where possible, offer online or phone payments, appointments, and reservations.
xi. Cease door-to-door solicitation.
xii. Review and adopt measures in the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation guidelines on safe business practices, available here: https: / /wedc.org/reopenguidelines I.
c. Support local health departments’ enforcement of isolation and quarantine by offering alternative work arrangements and excusing employees from work in accordance with public health requirements.
4. Travel. Individuals are strongly encouraged to remain close to home. Travel to second homes or residences should be avoided if possible. Consistent with federal guidance and to protect our neighboring states, Wisconsinites are discouraged from engaging in unnecessary travel.