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.
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.
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
- If you become sick, stay home. Visit our if you think you are sick webpage for more information.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (for example, tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles). See CDC’s recommendations for household cleaning and disinfection webpage or the
Prepare and Take Action
CDC and DHS have developed materials to help organizations and facilities prepare for COVID-19.
- Disinfection and cleaning. See our flyer on disinfection and cleaning for COVID-19, available in multiple languages, and the CDC COVID-19, Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations webpage.
- Home. See our Protect Your Family flyer and get tips from CDC on how to prepare your home and family for COVID-19.
- Schools and child care programs. See CDC tips on what steps schools and childcare programs can take to prevent and respond to COVID-19. Schools and child care programs in Wisconsin should check on the latest recommendations and updates for schools and child care.
- Colleges and universities. See CDC guidance for colleges and universities.
- Work. See CDC recommendations for workplace. Businesses and employers in Wisconsin can access up-to-date information about COVID-19 and their businesses on the DHS website.
- Community- and faith-based programs. See CDC tips on preparing your organization for COVID-19. Community- and faith-based programs in Wisconsin should check DHS COVID-19 for community and faith-based programs website for the latest rules and recommendations.
- Community events and gatherings. CDC recommends canceling most events and gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wisconsin has specific rules about what types of gatherings and events are permitted.
- Health care settings. Get CDC resources for clinics and health care facilities. Health care providers and facilities in Wisconsin should access our webpage and sign up for HAN alerts to receive detailed and updated guidance during COVID-19.
- Homeless shelters. See CDC recommendations for homeless shelters during COVID-19 and our Living in Group Settings flyer. Specific guidance for homeless shelters in Wisconsin is available under our community and faith-based webpage.
- First responders. Access CDC resources for first responders.
- Retirement communities. See CDC resources for retirement communities.
- Correctional and detention faculties. See CD resources for correctional and detention facilities. Details for Wisconsin facilities are available among community and faith-based organizations.
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
- COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) Fact Sheet, available in multiple languages
- Disinfecting and Cleaning for COVID-19 Fact Sheet, available in multiple languages
- Protect Your Family, available in multiple languages
- Respiratory Illnesses; Protect yourself and those around you, available in multiple languages
- Understanding "Safer at Home," available in multiple languages
- Don’t Visit flyer, available in multiple languages
- Shopping Tips flyer
- Group Settings flyer