Jeramey Jannene

State Allows Most Retail Stores to Open

New order by Gov. Evers says stores can allow customers in, with restrictions.

By - May 11th, 2020 02:18 pm
George Watts and Son Building. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

George Watts and Son Building. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Most retail stores in Wisconsin are now allowed to reopen under an emergency order issued by Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm.

The new order, effective immediately, and described as a “turn of the dial” by Governor Tony Evers, loosens the restrictions on in-person, non-essential retail stores imposed previously by the Safer at Home order. It expands an April order that allowed golf courses to open, libraries to offer curbside pickup and aesthetic lawn care businesses to resume operation.

The order leaves shopping malls shuttered. Stores wishing to open must have exterior doors to be able to allow customers in. Any business may continue to allow curbside pickup and delivery.

Stores that choose to open must continue to comply with safety guidelines in the Safer at Home order, including maintaining social distancing. “Face coverings are strongly encouraged for all staff and customers,” says the new order. Businesses in Wisconsin are allowed to mandate face coverings be worn.

Non-essential stores are allowed to have up to five customers in the store at a time, regardless of their size. Retail stores that cannot maintain a distance of six feet between customers and staff must reduce their capacity until they can do so.

Stores selling essentials, including groceries, with less than 50,000 square feet of floor space must limit the number of people inside, including employees, to 25 percent of their existing occupancy limit. Stores with more than 50,000 square feet of space must allow no more than four customers per 1,000 square feet of space.

Stores choosing to open must make markings outside to regulate lines of customers waiting to enter.

“In addition to added flexibilities and steps we have already taken for businesses, this is another disciplined turn of the dial that will allow Wisconsin’s business owners to safely get back to work and Wisconsin consumers to support their favorite local spots,” said Evers in a press release announcing the order. “Both customers and workers need to be confident in their safety, so we need everyone to be diligent in following best safety practices so we can continue to move our state forward while keeping our neighbors, families, and communities safe and healthy.”

The new order also allows drive-in movie theaters to open. The theaters cannot offer outdoor seating, but food and drink sales are permitted.

The full text of the order is available on Urban Milwaukee.

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