Employment LawScene Alert: Wisconsin Bans Mass Gatherings of 50 or More People–What Does That Mean For My Business?

Earlier this afternoon, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers directed Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary-designee, Andrea Palm, to order a ban on mass gathering of 50 or more people. Pursuant to the Order Prohibiting Mass Gatherings of 50 People or More, a “mass gathering” is “any planned or spontaneous, public or private event or convening that will bring together or is likely to bring together 50 or more people in a single room or single confined or enclosed space at the same time.” This does not affect critical infrastructure and services such as grocery stores, food pantries, childcare centers, pharmacies, and hospitals. Office spaces as well as manufacturing, processing, distribution, and production facilities are also exempt from the Order. Some affected Wisconsin businesses, including bars and restaurants, will be permitted to remain open provided that they operate at 50% of seating capacity or 50 total people, whichever is less; preserve social distancing of six feet between tables, booths, bar stools, and ordering counters; cease self-service operations of salad bars, beverage stations, and buffets; and prohibit customers from self-dispensing all unpackaged food and beverage. This is intended to encourage social distancing and limit the spread of coronavirus. This Order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, and will remain in effect for the duration of the public health emergency declared in Governor Evers’s Executive Order #72 or until a superseding order is issued. At this time, there is no specific end date to Executive Order #72 or the Order Prohibiting Mass Gatherings of 50 People or More. Failure to comply with this directive could result in fines and imprisonment.

The full Order can be found here.

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