COVID-19: You Are Safer at Home

In spite of restrictions on large and small groups, the number of people infected with COVID-19 continues to grow resulting in more individuals needing medical care and accelerating the possibility of exceeding Wisconsin’s health care resources. Social distancing—the practice of keeping at least 6 feet apart from others and avoiding direct physical contact—is proving the only effective means of slowing the rate of infection. Therefore, DHS, under the authority of Wis. Stat. §§ 252.02(3) and (6) and the direction of Gov. Evers, has updated prior orders regarding mass gatherings and gatherings of more than 10 people to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The order is effective at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, and will remain in effect until 8:00 a.m. on Friday, April 24, 2020, or until a superseding order is issued.

Read a copy of Secretary-designee Andrea Palm's Emergency Order #12

Safer at Home Order fact sheets from Wisconsin Literacy available in English and Spanish

See Safer at Home FAQs for more information.

 What is "Safer at Home"?

All individuals in the state of Wisconsin are ordered to stay at home or at their place of residence, with limited exceptions. Individuals who are using shared or outdoor space other than their home or residence, must, at all times and to the extent possible, maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from another person. Individuals do not need to maintain social distancing between family members in a single living unit or with other household members.

All individuals may leave their home or residence for a number of essential activities and functions including health and safety, such as picking up medications, visits with health care providers; obtaining groceries and food, buying gas or pet food, and other activities necessary to maintain the home or residence; outdoor activities, such as walking, biking, hiking or running while maintaining social distancing (does not include contact sports such as basketball); taking care of others, including friends and pets; and the travel associated with such tasks. See Emergency Order #12 for additional information.

See our Understanding "Safer at  Home" flyer and Safer at Home FAQs for more information.

 Other Order Questions and Answers

How long is this order in effect?

This order will remain in effect until 8:00 a.m. on Friday, April 24, 2020, or until a superseding order is issued.

What are the Penalties for Violating this Rule?

Violation or obstruction of this Order is punishable by up to 30 days imprisonment, or up to a $250 fine, or both, Wis. Stat. § 252.25.


To prevent getting and spreading COVID-19, make sure you practice good personal health habits. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. See our Protect Your Family flyer and CDC's advice on how to protect yourself from COVID-19.

Avoid close contact with others and practice social distancing

  • Stay at home as much as possible. Cancel events and avoid groups, gatherings, play dates, and nonessential appointments.
  • Avoid gatherings of 10 or more people.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from other people, when possible.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

Practice good hand hygiene

  • Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, and mouth when in public.

If you start to feel sick

 Prepare and Take Action

CDC and DHS have developed materials to help organizations and facilities prepare for COVID-19.

More can be found at: CDC, How to Prepare for COVID-19.

 Self-Quarantine, Self-Isolation, and Self-Monitoring Guidance

Since COVID-19 is spreading in many communities of Wisconsin, everyone should stay home as much as possible and monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19. If you notice new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, fever, or other signs of COVID-19, avoid contact with others and call your doctor if you need medical attention. Check if you think you are sick for detailed instructions.

If you have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or you have traveled to certain areas with widespread community spread (transmission) of COVID-19, you may be asked to self-quarantine and self-monitor for symptoms to protect yourself, your family, and your community.

  • Self-quarantine is when people are asked to stay home and avoid contact with others because they may have been exposed to an infection but are not yet showing symptoms.
  • Self-monitoring is when people are asked to check for symptoms like fever, cough, and others because they may have been exposed to an infection but are not yet showing symptoms.

For information on whether or not you should self-quarantine, or self-monitor, please see the DHS COVID-19 monitoring webpage.

 Resources on How to Prepare and Prevent

Last Revised: April 6, 2020