WI Public Health Emergency and Statewide Mask Mandate

On July 30, 2020, Governor Evers released two Executive Orders: Executive Order #82 declares a Public Health Emergency through September 28, 2020; Emergency Order #1 mandates face coverings statewide starting August 1, 2020. Please also see Frequently Asked Questions to clarify the mask mandate.

Individuals ages 5 and older will be required to wear face coverings in all indoor or enclosed spaces, other than their private residences, and when others who are not members of the individual’s household or living unit are in the same room or enclosed space. The Order also encourages individuals to wear masks “in other settings, including outdoors when it is not possible to maintain physical distancing.” Emergency Order #1 provides the following clarifying definitions:

  • Enclosed space” is defined as “a confined space open to the public where individuals congregate, including but not limited to outdoor bars, outdoor restaurants, taxis, public transit, ride-share vehicles, and outdoor park structures.”
  • Face covering” is defined as “a piece of cloth or other material that is worn to cover the nose and mouth completely.” Further, the Order notes that “[a] ‘face covering’ includes but is not limited to a bandana, a cloth face mask, a disposable or paper mask, a neck gaiter, or a religious face covering. A ‘face covering’ does not include face shields, mesh masks, masks with holes or openings, or masks with vents.”
  • Physical distancing” is defined as “maintaining at least six feet of distance from other individuals who are not members of your household or living unit.”

Individuals do not need to wear face coverings:

  • at a private residence with only the members of their household or living unit;
  • outside when able to physically distance;
  • indoors when no one else is present in a room or enclosed space;
  • when eating or drinking;
  • when in a car alone or with members of their household or living unit;
  • when communicating with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, and communicating while wearing a mask is not possible;
  • while sleeping;
  • while swimming or being on duty as a lifeguard;
  • when giving a religious, political, media, educational, artistic, cultural, musical, or theatrical presentation for an audience, so long as there is at least 6 feet between the presenter and other individuals;
  • when working if wearing a face covering poses a safety risk, as determined by government safety guidelines or regulations;
  • when there is a need to temporarily remove a face covering to confirm identity, such as entering a bank, credit union, or other financial institution or when having to show that they match their identification card when buying alcohol;
  • when engaging in activities where federal or state law or regulations prohibit wearing a face covering.

Emergency Order #1 also notes exemptions from the mask mandate in the following circumstances:

  • children under the age of 2, but children between the ages of 2 and 5 are encouraged to wear face masks when physical distancing is not possible;
  • individuals who have trouble breathing;
  • individuals who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance;
  • individuals with medical conditions, intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental health conditions, or other sensory sensitivities that prevent the individual from wearing
    a face covering. Of note, in such instances, individuals are not required to carry and provide documentation supporting such conditions and inability to wear a mask; and
  • incarcerated individuals.

Emergency Order #1 will be enforced by local and state officials, with violations possibly resulting in civil fines up to $200.
Please keep in mind that Dane County and other local mask mandates also remain in effect.
The Lake Effect team will continue to monitor important COVID-related updates such as these from federal, state, and local authorities. 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.

Emergency Order #8: Required Face Mask Poster for Customers and Visitors

Public Health Madison and Dane County (PHMDC) released another important update to Emergency Order #8. PHMDC is now requiring that all businesses post PHMDC’s Face Masks Required for Customers and Visitors sign at any entrances of their building(s). This is designed to clarify that the PHMDC mask mandate applies to all customers and visitors, as well as employees, other than those who may have a qualifying disability. This requirement is effective immediately and is included under section 4(i) of Emergency Order #8. This new, required sign appears to replace PHMDC’s prior Face Masks for Customers Required sign which was encouraged, but not required, in Emergency Order #8.

We want to remind employers once again of the other existing and required PHMDC postings and policies:

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.

PHMDC Emergency Order #8: Clarifications

We have some important clarifications of the mask requirements under Public Health Madison and Dane County (PHMDC) Emergency Order #8. During the Madison Chamber of Commerce’s Lunch (UP)date: Moving Forward with Forward Dane on July 9, 2020 (click link to see the webinar video), Chamber President Zach Brandon and various members of the PHMDC leadership provided important clarifying information about the mask requirements:

  • Employees must wear masks “whenever they could come in contact with others,” regardless of the distance between them. This means that even if employees are 6 or more feet apart in an office, workplace, or warehouse, they must wear masks because they could come in contact with one another. (See minutes 10:30 – 15:30)
  • If employees occupy individual offices or are alone in a conference or other room with a closed door and close the door, they may remove their masks. Organizations should establish a policy that if an employee’s or conference room’s door is closed, other employees should knock and request entry, then the employee inside can “mask up” and grant the other employee access.
  • Employees in cubicles need to wear a mask at all times, regardless of social distancing because they may come in contact with others by moving around their workspace or while others are walking past. The same holds true for employees who work significant distances apart in a warehouse or manufacturing facility, as they may come in contact with others at any time. (See minutes 10:30 – 15:30)
  • Employers must provide each employee with at least one (1) mask that covers the employee’s mouth and nose snugly. PHMDC anticipates this will be a cloth mask. If the employee loses or damages the mask, it is the employee’s responsibility to replace the mask. An employee may also wear their own mask if it satisfies the fit and coverage requirements by snugly covering the nose and mouth. Importantly, the PHMDC staff noted that face shields are not a substitute for masks, as they have been shown to provide insufficient protection. (See minutes 16:00 – 18:00)
  • If an employee indicates that they are unable to wear a mask due to having an ADA-qualifying disability, the employee must provide medical documentation to support that request. Then, following the customary ADA Interactive Dialogue Process, the employer and employee should engage in discussion to determine a reasonable accommodation. It is not a reasonable accommodation to be in the workplace without a mask. A reasonable accommodation may be to allow the employee to work remotely, to assign new job duties or location, or to provide Family Medical Leave. (See minutes 33:00 – 34:00)
  • If an employee refuses to comply with the mask order for other than an ADA-qualifying reason, the employer should remind staff of the PHMDC Order. If the employee still refuses, the employer may send the employee home without pay and follow the normal process to discipline an employee who fails to comply with your workplace rules. (See minutes 18:30 – 19:30)
  • If a customer/client refuses to wear a mask, a business owner may initially ask if the person is unable to wear a mask due to a disability and then must engage in an interactive discussion of accommodation of policies. This does not mean the customer can enter without a mask, it means that the business owner and customer develop a reasonable accommodation and provide alternate service such as bringing the product or food curbside, provide it to go, deliver the product to their home, etc. If the customer declines the reasonable alternative, that satisfies the interactive process and the business can refuse entry. In the unfortunate event that the discussion becomes confrontational, the business may contact authorities. (See minutes 24:00 -29:30)

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.

Dane County Public Health Emergency Order #8

Addendums to this post:

Emergency Order #8: Required Face Mask Poster for Customers and Visitors

PHMDC Emergency Order #8: Clarifications


Starting Monday, July 13 at 8:00 a.m., individuals over 4 years old must wear a mask when inside and around people they do not live with under Public Health Madison and Dane County (PHMDC) Emergency Order #8. PHMDC also launched a webpage dedicated to providing additional information about the new order and face masks generally.

Most of the requirements in Emergency Order #7 remain in place. However, there are two important changes for employers:

  • All individuals age 5 or older must wear a face mask (or other face covering) that covers their nose and mouth
    • This face covering requirement applies when individuals are:
      • In any enclosed building where other people, except people who live together, could be present
      •  In line to enter any indoor space
      • In any public transportation, paratransit vehicle, taxi, private car service, ride-sharing vehicle, or any other vehicle for hire
    • Individuals may remove their face covering:
      • While eating or drinking
      • When communicating with an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing, and communication is impossible through other means
      • While obtaining a service that requires the temporary removal of a face mask
      • If necessary to confirm their identity
      • When a federal or state law prohibits the face covering
    • The following individuals are exempt from the requirement to wear a face covering:
      • Individuals who cannot wear a face mask due to government safety guidelines that apply to their work
      • Individuals with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevent them from wearing a face covering
    • Organizations can, but are not required to, post PHMDC’s model “masks required” sign
  • Employers must revise their required protective measure policy
    • Organizations are required to implement hygiene, cleaning, and protective measure policies. Emergency Order #8 only changes the protective measure policy, which now must ensure:
      • Individuals are at least six feet from others whenever possible
      • Employees are provided with and wear face coverings at all times when indoors
        • Note: This means employers must provide masks to their Dane County employees.
    • Note that employers are required to document that employees receive, acknowledge, or are trained on the policy. For example, an email with the revised policy sent with read receipt likely satisfies this requirement. If you would like to schedule a meeting with us to discuss the policy requirements, prepare a customized policy and/or training for your organization, please contact us.

Violations of this order are considered ordinance violations and are enforceable by any local law enforcement official. PHMDC has created a new complaint team that will evaluate and address complaints.

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.

Dane County Public Health Emergency Order #7

In response to the recent spike in the number of positive COVID-19 cases, Public Health Madison and Dane County (PHMDC) released Emergency Order #7 on July 1, 2020. This new order is effective July 2 at 8:00 a.m.

Determining that “planned phases are no longer useful,” PHMDC has also revised its Forward Dane plan. Dane County is in a rebound stage under the new Forward Dane. PHMDC will continue to monitor the same nine metrics but is modifying, at least for now, how and when the county re-opens.

The primary changes in Emergency Order #7 are:

  • Employers must post PHMDC’s Workplace Requirements for Employers and Workers guidance in a prominent location where all employees may view and access. If employees are working remotely, this may require emailing the poster to employees or posting it on an internal network.
  • Outdoor mass gatherings are limited to 25 people.
  • Indoor mass gatherings on any property are limited to 10 people.
  • Group fitness classes and all sports activities are under the restrictions for mass gatherings. They are therefore limited to 25 people outdoors and 10 people indoors, not including employees.
  • Indoor seating capacity at restaurants has been reduced to 25%.
  • Bars are prohibited from any indoor seating but may offer takeout service and outdoor seating.
    • Restaurant and bar seating continues to be restricted to tables 6 feet apart and limited to 6 people who are in the same household.
  •  Summer school classrooms are limited to no more than 15 students who are 12 years old or younger, and no more than 25 students who are 13 years old or older.

Emergency Order #7 has not changed the requirements that employers develop compliant workplace hygiene, cleaning, and protective measure policies, and document their employees’ receipt, acknowledgment, or training on the policies. If you would like to schedule a meeting with us to prepare a customized policy and/or training for your organization, please contact us.

Please see Forward Dane and the accompanying legal requirements set forth in Emergency Order #7 for details applicable to your industry. Below is a summary of Emergency Order #7.

Mass Gatherings

  • The following limited mass gatherings are permitted as long as people maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet
    • Inside with up to 10 people, not including employees
    • Outside with up to 25 people, not including employees
  • Mass gatherings include concerts, festivals, fairs, parades, movies, performances, shows, trainings, meetings, conferences, sporting events, group fitness classes, and sports activities for children and adults
    • Note that group fitness classes and all sports activities have been added to the definition of mass gatherings
    • Religious services are not mass gatherings
    • Drive-in movie theaters or other drive-in activities are not mass gatherings

Child Care, Youth, Education, Libraries, Public Spaces, and Sports

  • Childcare facilities must restrict groups and classrooms to no more than 15 children if the children are 12 years or younger, or no more than 25 children if the children are at least 13 years old
    • There should be no interaction between the groups or classrooms, and staff interaction between groups must be limited to the greatest extent feasible
  • Public playgrounds and splash pads are open, but physical distancing must be maintained
  • Public courts and fields are open, but physical distancing must be maintained
    • Games for low-risk sports – as defined in the order – are allowed if physical distancing is maintained
    • Games between teams for medium and high-risk sports – as defined in the order – are not allowed, but games within a team for medium and high-risk sports are allowed if physical distancing is maintained
    • All sports activities are subject to the mass gathering restrictions (25 people outdoors, and 10 people indoors)
  • K-12 schools may open for in person instruction and extracurricular activities if schools create, distribute, and implement the required hygiene, cleaning, and protective measure policies with their staff; and develop and implement a written action plan for a COVID-19 outbreak with certain items outlined in the order.
  • Continuing education and higher education institutions must maintain physical distancing to the greatest extent possible; may determine policies for safe operation; and must adopt strict policies to ensure safe living conditions before opening dorms and other congregate living situations

All Businesses, Libraries, Community Centers, and Religious Entities

  • Capacity must be limited to 50% of approved capacity level
    • See this guide to determining capacity level
    • This does not apply to restaurants and bars – see below
  • Organizations must implement required hygiene, cleaning, and protective measure policies, and document that employees receive and acknowledge, or are trained on, these policies
  • Employers must post PHMDC’s Workplace Requirements for Employers and Workers guidance in a prominent location where all employees may view and access it
  • Organizations must limit staff and customers on site, and continue to facilitate remote work to the greatest extent possible, including offering virtual services, meetings, and and/or alternating work teams or staggering shifts
  • When remote work is not possible, all organizations must:
    • Where possible, offer curbside pick-up and drop-off, and delivery
    • Where possible, provide a way for customers to pay, and make appointments and reservations online or over the phone
    • Provide door-to-door solicitation with physical distancing
    • Ensure physical distancing in waiting areas with appropriate spacing of chairs

Additional Industry Specific Requirements

  • Restaurants, bars, and stores that sell food, groceries, and alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages must
    • Encourage pick-up and delivery options
    • Prohibit self-dispensing of bulk items and condiments
      • Beverage stations may remain open
    • Prohibit sampling of food and self-service of unpackaged food, e.g. salad bar, buffet
      • This prohibition does not apply to produce in stores
    • Limit indoor dine-in capacity at restaurants to 25% of approved seating levels; space tables and chairs to ensure 6 feet of physical distancing; and limit each table to 6 customers, all of whom must live together
      • Bars are not allowed to have any indoor seating
        • Customers may enter a bar only to order, pick-up and pay for food and beverages, or while in transit (e.g. to use the bathroom)
        • “Bar” is defined as “an establishment in which fermented malt beverages are sold for consumption upon said premises and whose sale of alcohol beverages accounts for at least 51% of the establishment’s gross receipts and whose primary business is that of a bar”
      • Limit outdoor seating if tables and chairs are spaced 6 feet apart and each table is limited to 6 customers, all of whom must live together
        • This applies to restaurants and bars
      • Space bar stools in restaurants at least 6 feet part for customers who do not live together
      • Customers must be seated at all times when not in transit (e.g. to go to the bathroom)
  • Retail stores must
    • Limit the number of customers inside the business to no more than 50% of capacity, not including employees
    • Offer at least two hours per week of dedicated shopping time for vulnerable individuals if your store is larger than 50,000 square feet
    • Prohibit sampling, including of food and any goods
  • Salons and spas must
    • Limit the number of customers to 50% of approved capacity (if capacity is four or less, one customer is permitted)
    • Space customer chairs, tables, and stations at least 6 feet apart
    • Require employees to always wear face coverings when customers are present
    • Require customers to wear face coverings to the greatest extent possible
  • Gyms and fitness centers must
    • Provide disinfecting materials for members to use on equipment before and after use, and increase frequency of cleaning of equipment, common areas, locker rooms, and restrooms
    • Limit the number of individuals on site (excluding employees) to 50% of approved capacity
    • Space equipment at least 6 feet apart to the extent possible
    • Use floor markings to indicate appropriate physical spacing, particularly in areas where people congregate or cluster
    • Offer group exercise classes only if physical distancing is maintained and there is no person-to-person contact
      • Note that group exercise classes are now considered a mass gathering and are subject to those restrictions (10 people indoors, and 25 people outdoors, excluding employees)
    • Prohibit all activities where physical distancing cannot be maintained between people who do not live together
    • Close saunas and steam rooms
  • Places of amusement and activity must
    • Require payments and reservations only online or over the phone to the extent possible
    • Schedule events or the start of an activity to ensure physical distancing between all individuals who do not live together
    • Space seating, stations, or other areas to ensure at least at least at least 6 feet of physical distancing between individuals who do not live together
    • Limit the number of individuals on site (excluding employees) to 50% of approved capacity
      • Events such as concerts, festivals, shows, etc. are also subject to the restrictions on mass gatherings
    • Disinfect all equipment between each customer’s use
  • Lodging facilities must
    • Prohibit guests from congregating in lobbies or common areas
    • Adopt cleaning protocols for guest rooms and common areas based on PHMDC guidelines
    • Provide personal protective equipment and training to housekeeping staff for proper handling of linens and cleaning/disinfecting supplies
    • Comply with all other guidelines, such as those that apply to restaurants and bars, if applicable
  • Drive-In movie theaters and other drive-in activities must
    • Prohibit outdoor seating
    • Prohibit customers from leaving their car except to purchase or pick up food or drinks, or to use the restroom
    • Encourage pick-up and delivery of food and drinks, and prohibit any self-service of unpackaged food and self-dispensing of condiments
    • Reservations and payments should be made in advance online or over the phone to the greatest extent possible

Other industries

  • Health care, public health, human services, infrastructure, manufacturing, and government operations are subject to specific provisions and restrictions under Emergency Order #7, namely these organizations must implement required cleaning and hygiene policies, and comply with other applicable PHMDC, state, and federal requirements

Leased Property

  • Landlords and rental property managers may enter and show leased residential properties if all individuals wear face coverings and maintain physical distancing

Violations of this order are considered ordinance violations and are enforceable by any local law enforcement official.

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.

Lake Effect HR & Law, LLC
(844) 333-5253 (LAKE)
info@le-hrlaw.com

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