Dane County and Madison’s New Public Health Order

On May 18, Public Heath Madison and Dane County (PHMDC) issued Emergency Order #2 along with a guide for organizations to start planning a phased reopening under the Order, Forward Dane. We are currently in the Preparing for Safe Reopen Phase under Forward Dane and all individuals and organizations are required to follow the Emergency Order.

The Emergency Order is effective May 19 and will remain in effect until PHMDC determines that the outlined criteria to start Phase One toward reopening has been met. Note that no date is set for moving into Phase One. A new Emergency Order will be issued as Dane County moves into each new phase of the Forward Dane plan.

The Emergency Order and Forward Dane provide detailed requirements and guidance. Included below is an outline of the essential elements of each.

Emergency Order #2

Required Policies

Organizations must develop and distribute to employees the following written policies:

  • A hygiene policy that
    • Ensures employees who have a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to work
    • Establishes hand-washing expectations and ensures supplies are available to employees
    • Describes proper cough and sneeze etiquette
  • A cleaning policy that includes guidelines for
    • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces multiple times a day
    • Frequently wiping down any shared equipment, such as work spaces, credit card machines, lunchroom items, carts, baskets, etc.
    • Cleaning common areas and equipment between use or shift changes
    • Cleaning and disinfecting in the event of a positive COVID-19 case
  • A protective measure policy that ensures
    • Individuals are at least six feet from others whenever possible
    • Employees are provided with and wear face coverings when unable to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from customers; however, if a transparent partition is in place, a face covering is recommended, but not required
  • Employers must maintain documentation showing employees received, acknowledged, or were trained on these policies

All individuals are encouraged to continue staying stay at home and to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from any person unless you live together

  • All public and private gatherings are prohibited unless specifically permitted in the Emergency Order
  • Landlords may not enter rented residential premises unless emergency maintenance is required

Organizations must continue to follow Physical Distancing Requirements

  • Physical Distancing Requirements are defined as:
    • Maintaining physical distance of six feet between people
    • Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer
    • Covering coughs and sneezes
    • Regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces
    • Not shaking hands
    • Following all other PHMDC requirements
  • If Physical Distancing Requirements cannot be maintained, the organization must ensure that employees are provided with appropriate face coverings or protective shields
  • All organizations must avoid in person meetings to the greatest extent feasible, and no door-to-door solicitation is permitted

Essential Businesses and Operations

Essential Businesses and Operations that may remain open include Healthcare and Public Health Operations, Human Services Operations, Essential Infrastructure, Essential Governmental Functions, and the following businesses and operations:

  • Stores that sell groceries and medicine
  • Food and beverage production, transport, and agriculture
  • Restaurants but only for take-out or delivery service
  • Bars, breweries, distilleries, brewpubs, wineries, and alcohol beverage retailers but only for carryout or order pick-up
    • Wineries holding direct wine shippers’ permits may deliver wine
  • Childcare
    • Childcare and youth programming is limited to 50 children per program or per license
    • Childcare providers must prioritize care for (1) families working in health care and (2) families working in other vital areas
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services
  • Weddings and funerals
    • Gatherings for weddings and funerals must be limited to 10 or fewer people in a room at any one time
    • Weddings and funerals that occur outside must comply with the Physical Distancing Requirements, unless the individuals live together
  • Religious entities
  • Funeral establishments
  • Media
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
  • Financial institutions and services
  • Hardware and supplies stores
  • Building and construction tradesmen and tradeswomen such as plumbers, fabricators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, carpenters
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services
  • Laundry services
  • Suppliers of products to work from home
  • Suppliers for Essential Businesses and Operations and Essential Governmental Functions
  • Transportation such as airlines, taxis, car rental services
  • Home-based care and services for seniors, adults, children, or people with disabilities, substance abuse disorders, or mental illness, including caregivers or nannies who may travel to the child’s home to provide care, and other in-home services including meal delivery
  • Professional services such as legal, accounting, real estate, and insurance services
  • Manufacturing, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries
  • Critical labor union functions
  • Lodging including hotels, AirBNB, VRBO, motels, and campgrounds
    • Swimming pools, hot tubs, and exercise facilities must be closed
    • Guests may not be permitted to congregate in any common areas, and facility must comply with restrictions applicable to bars and restaurants where applicable
  • Higher education institution for the purposes of facilitating distance learning, performing critical research, or performing essential functions as determined by the institution
  • Auctions but only if necessary to preserve the value of property and the auction follows other requirements outlined in the Emergency Order
  • Any business or worker identified on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency List

Essential Businesses and Operations - Additional Requirements

In addition to complying with the Physical Distancing Requirements, Essential Businesses and Operations must also:

  • Restrict the number of workers on premises to no more than necessary
  • Increase standards of facility cleaning and disinfection, following guidance from PHMDC, the Department of Health Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Adopt policies to prevent workers from entering the premises if they have respiratory symptoms or have had contact with a person with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19

Non-Essential Businesses May Open for Minimum Basic Operations

Minimum Basic Operations include:

  • Basic functions, such as the minimum basic activities to maintain the value of inventory; preserve condition of the physical space and equipment; ensure security; process payroll and benefits; and related functions
    • Staffing must be limited to the minimum number of staff required
  • Preparation to open, including purchasing and stocking supplies, cleaning, and complying with PHMDC’s guidelines
    • Staffing must be limited to the minimum number of staff required
  • Facilitating remote work
  • Delivery and mailings, including of non-essential items but only under specified conditions
  • Curb-side pick-up and drop off
    • Services and items must be paid for online or by phone, and signatures cannot be required
    • The pick-up or drop off must be scheduled in advance to ensure compliance with Physical Distancing Requirements
  • In-person retail
    • Standalone or strip mall retail stores with an entrance to the outside may allow up to five customers at a time in the store
    • Retails shops must create a space for a line to form with markings six feet apart, or allow customers to wait in their cars for entry
  • Outdoor recreational rentals
    • Payment must be made online or by phone
    • Pick up and drop off must be scheduled in advance
  • Automatic and self-service car washes
    • High-touch surfaces must be cleaned between each use if feasible, or at least as frequently as possible
  • Arts and craft stores may offer curb-side pick-up, and may allow the minimum number of staff necessary in the store to make personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Aesthetic or optional exterior residential construction and lawn care, so long as Physical Distancing Requirements are maintained
    • Aesthetic or optional interior work is not permitted

Facilities That are Closed or May Open with Restrictions

  • Schools are closed for all in-person instruction
  • Libraries are closed except for certain limited functions
  • Indoor and outdoor places of public amusement (including amusement parks, pools, water parks, splash pads, zoos, museum, arcades, parades, playgrounds, movie theaters, gyms, fitness centers, concert halls) are closed except to perform Minimum Basic Operations
    • Golf courses, disc golf ranges, tennis courts, and drive-in theatres may open under specified restrictions
  • Salons and spas (including spas, hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, waxing salons, tattoo parlors) may not provide any services to customers but can sell goods and perform Minimum Basic Operations

Forward Dane

PHMDC’s Forward Dane plan provides guidance on a gradual, phased reopening in Dane County broken down by industries. We are currently in the “Prepare for Safe Reopen” phase and subject to Emergency Order #2 outlined above. But if nine public health metrics are met, Dane County will move into Phase One, Phase Two, Phase Three, then full operations under a new normal can begin. Each phase will last for at least two weeks.

In general, each phase allows organizations to gradually open to a larger “capacity.” For example, in Phase One, gyms may open to 25% capacity; in Phase Two, 50% capacity; in Phase Three, 75% capacity. PHMDC has not defined capacity, and as of today’s date, does not plan to do so. Instead, each organization will use its best judgment to determine the appropriate metric for capacity. It may be the building code establish by your city or it could be an average number of customers or employees who would be at the worksite under normal, non-pandemic circumstances.

Forward Dane also outlines expectations and responsibilities of the community. The responsibilities of the business community include:

  • Protecting the health and safety of employees and customers
  • Developing flexible sick leave policies and creating a culture in which employees can stay home when they are sick
  • Monitoring staff for symptoms and working with local public health if an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19 or is a known contact to someone with COVID-19
  • Implementing infection control policies, such as disinfecting surfaces frequently, keeping both employees and customers 6 feet apart from others, and other prevention measures
  • Communicating to management, staff, and customers the importance of following prevention measures in order to prevent future outbreaks

The Lake Effect team will continue to monitor important updates such as these from Dane County and other counties across the state. Please keep watching for blogs and emails from us for important legal updates and HR best practices. Contact us at info@le-hrlaw.com or 1-844-333-5253.

Evers Administration Releases Specific Guidance to Prepare for Reopening

On May 8, 2020, the Evers administration released specific guidance on “turning the dial” toward reopening. The guidelines cover such issues as employee health and hygiene; social distancing and other protective measures in the workplace; cleaning and disinfection practices; physical distancing of employees and equipment; employee training, support and communication; and customer/public health and safety considerations. There is general guidance for all organizations to follow, as well as specific guidance for the following industries:

The legal and HR team at Lake Effect is closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on the workplace. Please keep watching for blogs and emails from your Lake Effect team for important legal updates and HR best practices. The attorneys and HR professionals at Lake Effect HR & Law are ready and willing to help. Contact us at info@le-hrlaw.com or 1-844-333-5253.

Recovery Readiness Guide For Employers

As businesses prepare to reopen or resume full operations amid COVID-19, there will be new challenges and questions. No one has all the answers, but Lake Effect can help you anticipate some of the issues that are likely to arise as you reopen and/or return more employees to the worksite. We do not know when business will return to “normal,” but employers can put measures in place to be successful and compassionate as we introduce our employees and workplaces to our “new normal.”

Lake Effect has prepared detailed guidance to help employers welcome their teams. Below is an outline of those steps; if you would like to schedule a time to discuss a plan tailored to your organization, please let us know.

As always, the attorneys and HR professionals at Lake Effect HR & Law are available to advise you as you develop plans to restore operations and welcome team members back to the workplace. We look forward to helping our partners bounce back. Contact us at info@le-hrlaw.com or 1-844-333-5253.

Steps to Welcome Team Members Back to Work in the Wake of COVID-19


Who will decide?
How will you notify employees?
How will the return be implemented?


Furloughed Employees
Laidoff Employees
Terminated Employees
Work-share Program
Other considerations


Continue telework for some
Ensuring social distancing
Other considerations


Cleaning plans and practices
Changes in utilization of space and equipment
Possible limitations on plans


Changes to workspace and protective gear
Changes to interactions and gatherings


Screening and/or testing
Logistics of testing


Communicate all post-quarantine changes and expectations
Monitor employees’ wellbeing
Assess employee morale
Prevent harassment and discrimination


ADA Issues
OSHA issues
NLRA issues





Badger Bounce Back

On April 20, 2020, the Evers Administration released Emergency Order #31 entitled “Badger Bounce Back.” In this order, the administration sets forth a plan for a phased reopening of businesses so that Wisconsinites can get back to work.

Based upon recent federal guidelines, the Badger Bounce Back plan specifies criteria that will enable Wisconsin to begin the gradual process of reopening for business. Criteria include: reductions in cases and COVID-19 symptoms over an extended period of time; sufficient hospital capacity; a robust testing program; adequate personal protective equipment levels; and contact tracing capabilities.

In preparation for fully reopening their doors, employers are encouraged to rely upon federal, state and local regulations and guidance, informed by industry best practices and the WEDC, to develop and implement policies relating to: physical distancing and protective equipment; employee temperature checks and symptom screening; testing, isolating and contact tracing; sanitation; use and disinfection of common and high-traffic areas; business travel; and other best business practices to ensure a safe workplace.

It is clear that this will be a complex and gradual process. It will require Wisconsin employers to be patient, diligent and innovative. Rest assured, the attorneys and HR professionals at Lake Effect HR & Law are available to advise you as you develop plans to restore operations and welcome team members back to the workplace. We look forward to helping businesses move beyond “Safer-at-Home” to “Badger Bounce Back.” Contact us at info@le-hrlaw.com or 1-844-333-5253.

Lake Effect HR & Law, LLC
(844) 333-5253 (LAKE)


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