Jeramey Jannene

City Will Also Issue “Stay at Home” Order

The goal: to "send a message about how serious this is," said Mayor Barrett.

By - Mar 23rd, 2020 11:17 am
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Mayor Tom Barrett addresses the media alongside Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Mayor Tom Barrett addresses the media alongside Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik on March 11th. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Mayor Tom Barrett and Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik don’t want you to panic, but they do want you to stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“I am very, very pleased that the governor is acting,” said Barrett during a Monday morning media call announcing that the city would issue its own “stay at home” order in response to one conceptually announced by Governor Tony Evers. He said the city had spent the past few days preparing the order.

“This is not being issued to cause a rush on grocery stores. You can still go to grocery stores,” said Barrett. “You will still be able to go outside and take walks, go for a jog.”

“What we are trying to do is send a message about how serious this issue is,” said the mayor. Officials across the country are trying to slow the spread of the disease to ensure capacity remains available at hospitals to handle patients.

“The major goal is to change human behavior in a way that makes a safer community for all of us,” said Barrett in describing the reasoning for the order.

“This is not a lockdown,” said Kowalik. “This is stressing that staying at home is the best way to prevent COVID-19.”

The exact details of the city and state orders are unknown at this time as the documents have not been released. “We need to make sure it is aligned,” said Kowalik in why the city will not release its order until the state issues its own.

Details on the state order are expected to be revealed during a 1:30 p.m. call.

Kowalik said the city’s order would go into effect on Wednesday, March 25th at 12:01 a.m.

It’s expected that restaurants would still be allowed to do carryout and delivery said the Health Commissioner. “You’re looking at access for basic human needs,” she said.

But what about liquor stores? “I think we need to coordinate that with the state,” said Kowalik. She promised to follow up during the daily Milwaukee County media briefing at 4 p.m.

There will no end date on the city’s order. “It would have been arbitrary for us to put a date in because we don’t know,” said Barrett. He stressed that the faster people comply, the faster things get back to normal.

Barrett, who is in self-quarantine after exposure to an individual that tested for COVID-19, said he’s feeling “very, very well.”

Kowalik praised the work of first responders, health care workers and other officials responding to the crisis. “Our lab has been operating like nobody’s business,” said Kowalik in praise of the work being done at the Milwaukee Health Department testing laboratory.

Under state statute 252, Kowalik, the designed health official for the city, is empowered to issue emergency health orders.

Milwaukee Police Department officers will be able to arrest individuals violating the order, but Barrett and Kowalik don’t want it to come to that. “The way for this order to be most effective is for people to self police,” said Barrett.

Third Milwaukee Death

During the call, Kowalik announced that she had just learned that the third death as a result of COVID-19 was recorded in the City of Milwaukee. She said the individual passed away on March 20th and was an African American male with underlying health concerns. The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that the individual was 54 years old. The individual is the fifth death in Wisconsin related to COVID-19.

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