Monday morning, Mayor Tom Barrett issued a “stay-at-home” order for the City of Milwaukee. The order was announced soon after the announcement of Gov. Tony Evers’ similar statewide order, which goes into effect Tuesday. Barrett said the city’s order “will go into effect before the governor’s,” though Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik said it will go into effect on Wednesday, March 25 at 12:01 a.m.
Kowalik noted that, similar to the statewide “safer-at-home” order, folks can still do things like go to the grocery store, go to the pharmacy, or walk their dogs, and restaurants can continue to offer curbside delivery. “This is not a lockdown,” Kowalik said.
“It is not an order telling you to shelter in place,” Barrett said [via FOX 6]. “This is important because what we are trying to do here is, we are trying to obviously create a safer community. It is not to alarm anyone.”
Barrett has been in self-quarantine since late last week, after reportedly coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. On Monday, Barrett said he was feeling “very, very well.”
“This is not issued to cause a rush on the grocery stores,” Barrett continued. “You can still go to the grocery stores. That’s very important. You’ll still be able to go out and take walks. You’ll still be able to go for a jog if you want to go for a jog. What we’re trying to do is send the message, a very strong message, an exclamation point, on what we’ve said before and what the governor is saying today about how serious this problem is.”
Here’s a transcription of the rest of Barrett’s announcement:
This is a life and death issue, and our order will go into effect before the governor’s because we understand that this city and this county are the places where we’re seeing the most cases in the state. So we’ve discussed this with the governor, we’ve had a long conversation with the governor and his staff last night. I think it’s fair to say we are very much on the same page.
And what we’re trying to do is to have people stay calm. But we want them to understand the seriousness of this problem. So, looking out several weeks, what are we concerned about. If you look at what has happened in Italy, if you look as what is happening right now in New York, we are concerned about the number of hospital beds, the number of ventilators the number of respirators that will be available. The more people that get sick right now, the more that that is going to create an ethical dilemma as to who is going to be entitled to have a respirator or a ventilator. The best way for us to avoid that is to make sure that for those people in our community, if they’re going to get it, that it’s spread out over a long period of time.
And so this is not just about you. It’s about our entire community. It’s about your mother. It’s about your grandmother. It’s about your neighbors. It’s about people that you love in your life, to make sure that even if you feel strong, that you do not want to put them into harm’s way.
I’m very, very pleased that the governor is acting. This is something that we’ve been pressing for since late last week because we know how important this is. I view this as a life and death issue. And the more we can concentrate our efforts, our community efforts into defeating this, the faster our normal lives can get back to order.
I recognize that this creates a lot of hardship. I recognize that there are a lot of people who are hourly workers or temporary workers that are affected negatively. I recognize that this is putting mothers who have kids into very difficult situations when you’re trying to deal with child care. That is all incredibly, incredibly important, and the faster we take the steps that are necessary to get our lives back to normal, the faster we will be in a healthy situation, our economy can start to rebound, and we’ll be able to get back to where we want to be.