By Press Times Staff
BROWN COUNTY – Brown County will retain a Safer at Home order until at least Wednesday, May 20.
This comes after a 4-3 ruling in the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Wednesday, May 13, which found Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm broke state law when she issued an April 16 Safer at Home order at the request of Gov. Tony Evers that prohibited residents from leaving their homes unless it was essential.
“This virus knows no boundaries, including county lines, and the most effective way to prevent, control and suppress COVID-19 is for State Officials and the State Legislature to work together and implement a statewide approach,” said Brown County Public Health Officer Anna Destree, in her order. “That has not occurred, and therefore reasonable and necessary local actions must be taken pursuant to the authority vested in me per Wis. Stat. Secs. 252.03 and 252.25. It would be irresponsible to do otherwise given the high number of positive cases found in Brown County.”
As of May 13, Brown County had 20 deaths from COVID-19, 1,982 positive cases and 6,920 negative tests.
“After investigation, I find that it is necessary to immediately take measures to prevent, suppress and control this disease in order to protect the health and well being of individuals in Brown County,” Destree wrote.
Reaction to the state decision is split down party lines.
“This virus has killed more than 400 of our family members, friends, and neighbors and thousands more across our state are sick,” said Evers in a statement. “I am disappointed in the decision today, but our top priority has been and will remain doing what we can and what we have to do to protect the health and safety of the people of our state. After months of unproductive posturing, I hope the folks in the Legislature are ready to do the same.”
Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) said in a statement business is essential and those which open should follow guidelines.
“As legislative Republicans have said all along, all Wisconsin businesses are essential, as are the families they support in our communities,” he said. “As we now move to join the many other states who don’t have shelter in place orders in effect, I would encourage those planning to open the doors for the first time to be proactive and smart about finding ways to safely open their businesses. Further, I would encourage small businesses in our region to utilize the commonsense guidance made available by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation for ensuring a safe workplace.”
State Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) said the Wisconsin Supreme Court was “doing the bidding of their corporate overlords,” and “decided to put profits over the lives of workers, customers and their families,” in a statement released Wednesday, May 13.
“Congratulations workers! Thanks to the corporate controlled State Supreme Court you’re going back to work whether you feel safe or not,” Hansen said. “Because now that they have repealed the Safer at Home order if your employer calls you back to work and you don’t feel safe you will lose your unemployment.”