Wisconsin roads remain open for essential travel

Source: David Wilson / CC BY 2.0 via MGN
Source: David Wilson / CC BY 2.0 via MGN(KALB)
Published: Apr. 15, 2020 at 3:26 PM CDT
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State and county officials are responding to rumors that suggest law enforcement officers will pull over and question drivers about the purpose of their trip.

The Wisconsin Counties Association (WCA) and Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) clarified that state roadways and borders remain open to in-state and out-of-state travelers, and law enforcement will not pull over vehicles with out-of-state plates or other motorists just to ask about the purpose of a trip.

People are still asked to avoid "non-essential" travel under Gov. Tony Evers' Safer at Home Order, but roadways

to essential travel.

State Patrol and county sheriff's departments continue to enforce traffic laws as usual.

“For the Wisconsin State Patrol and county sheriff’s departments, public safety remains the top priority,” WisDOT Secretary-designee Craig Thompson said. “State troopers and sheriff’s deputies are working every day enforcing traffic laws to help ensure safe travel. As always, the emphasis is on public education and voluntary compliance.”

The WCA said counties do not have the legal authority to ban out-of-state travelers (or second home/seasonal homeowners) from visiting a county during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To help protect citizens during the ongoing health emergency, counties could issue a travel advisory that would discourage visitors at this time should a county have a significant elderly population or limited health care resources,” said WCA Executive Director Mark O’Connell. “The advisory could also ask visitors to self-quarantine for 14 days.”