Wisconsin Lengthens Safer At Home Order; Schools Closed, Golf Courses to Open

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers announced an extension of the state's safer at home order Thursday. Originally set to expire in April, the order is now expected to last until May 26. Under the new order, Wisconsin schools will be closed for the remainder of the school year. However, golf courses will be allowed to open on April 24.

Clubhouses and pro shops at golf courses are to remain closed, and tee times and payment for games need to transacted either online or over the phone. Golf cart usage is prohibited. Miniature golf courses and driving ranges are also ordered to remain closed.

Other outdoor areas, such as public parks, could be closed if it is discovered that individuals are not maintaining social distancing regulations.

Whether schools in Wisconsin actually open this fall is still up in the air, according to Evers.

"By that time in the early fall," Evers said during a Thursday news briefing, "we have to hope that this virus has been virtually eradicated. We will need to be certain in our own mind that we have virtually moved back to a point where there's very few cases in the state, and the few cases that we do have are being immediately identified through massive testing and the contact tracing is in place."

tony evers
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers extended safer at home orders Thursday, mandating that Wisconsin school close for the rest of the school year. Dylan Buell/Getty

Other restrictions in Wisconsin will be relaxed, including allowing arts and crafts supply stores to provide curbside service for those wishing to purchase the material to make face masks. Public libraries will be permitted to pick up books at the curbside.

Individuals are still ordered to remain at home as much as possible although outdoor activity in which social distancing guidelines can be maintained is permitted.

Some Wisconsin Senate Republicans disagreed with the decision to extend the safer at home orders, saying the state must begin reopening its businesses to reboot the economy.

"Legislative Republicans are planning to act with legal and legislative options to deal with the extension of the order and get answers to the questions our constituents are demanding," Wisconsin Speaker Robin Vos and Majority Leader Jim Steineke wrote in a Thursday joint statement.

"While everyone shares the goal of protecting public health, the governor's order goes too far," the statement read. "The Safer at Home order's main intent was to flatten the curve, which we have successfully done to this point, not devastate our families."

"Every sickness and death is a tragedy, but so are businesses and livelihoods ruined by shelter in place orders," said Wisconsin Republican Senator Duey Strobel in a Thursday statement. "Besides being counterproductive, indefinite sheltering orders will eventually lead to civil disobedience."

Newsweek reached out to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and Governor Evers' office for comment.

Recent data from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services indicates 3,875 positive cases of coronavirus reported in the state with 187 deaths attributable to the virus.