Kenosha County extends Safer at Home to May 26

Kenosha County health officer Dr. Jen Freiheit has extended the provisions of the state’s Safer at Home order here until May 26.

The announcement came in a news release issued about 11:30 p.m., Wednesday to take effect at midnight.

“We must stay the course and remain calm until Kenosha County is safe to open for all residents,” Freiheit said in the news release. “The consequences of relaxing Safer-At-Home before the data and science suggests, would be devastating to our community.”

The local action comes after the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the extension of the state Safer at Home order by the governor and secretary of the Department of Health Services beyond May 13 to May 26 was a violation of the state constitution, effectively lifting any restriction on businesses being open or public gatherings.

The Supreme Court’s ruling does not preclude counties and municipalities from issuing stay at home orders or other restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19.

Media reports indicate that Brown County, Dane County, the city and county of Milwaukee and city of Racine have taken similar action to Kenosha County.

Here is the test of the news release:

In response to today’s Wisconsin Supreme Court decision overturning the state’s Safer-at-Home Order, Kenosha County Health Officer Dr. Jen Freiheit tonight issued a local order continuing the regulations within the county until May 26.

Freiheit noted that Kenosha County remains behind other counties and the state when it comes to high infection growth rate and positive test rate. She said relaxing the social distancing restrictions now would almost certainly result in a spike in cases locally.

“We must stay the course and remain calm until Kenosha County is safe to open for all residents,” Freiheit said. “The consequences of relaxing Safer-At-Home before the data and science suggests, would be devastating to our community.”

As health officer, Freiheit has the authority to issue this emergency order under Wisconsin Statute 252.03. The local order takes effect at 12 a.m. Thursday, May 14, and continues all of the provisions of the original state order, including its expiration at 8 a.m. May 26.

The county order, plus the original Safer-at-Home documents from the state, may be viewed here.

Independent of tonight’s order, Kenosha County — in partnership with other local government and business leaders — remains in the process of finalizing a plan to restart the local economy with a phase-in approach consistent with the gating criteria of the state’s Badger Bounce Back
Plan.

An oversight committee charged with reviewing the local plan, called “Kenosha County Kickstart,” will hold its first meeting on Thursday, with the draft plan slated for release to the public on Friday.

UPDATE about 9:30 p.m., Thursday — County lifts Safer at Home extension.

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