Rock Co. order restores 'Safer at Home' restrictions on local level

Published: May. 13, 2020 at 6:50 PM CDT
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After initially asking its residents to follow “Safer at Home” guidelines voluntarily in the wake of the Supreme Court decision striking down the statewide order, Rock County Public Health declared its own, local health emergency overnight.

The action restores on a county level all restrictions laid out by the Department of Health Services’ extension of the ‘Safer at Home’ order and make violations punishable by law. The order described the guidelines as “reasonable and necessary for the prevention and suppression of the COVID-19 disease in Rock County.”

The agency’s order is set to expire at 8 a.m. on May 26, the same day the now-invalidated ‘Safer at Home’ extension would have ended. However, it also provides for certain restrictions being lifted earlier, in line with the Evers Administration’s Badger Bounce Back plan, should the spread of COVID-19 show signs of decline.

Dane County, too, enacted a local level emergency order that restored nearly all of the provisions of the DHS order. The Public Health Madison & Dane County order did reclassify churches, easing the restrictions on them.

The Rock County Public Health order came hours after its first statement, released soon after the state Supreme Court decision. That one had asked residents to continue following the ‘Safer at Home’ orders on a voluntary basis, but stopped short of declaring an emergency.

Since the beginning of the May, Rock County has seen its total number of COVID-19 cases rise more than 50 percent from 222 reported by the Department of Health Services on May 1, to 380 on Wednesday.