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Evers’ ‘Safer at Home’ order closes down all non-essential businesses

Gov. Tony Evers has directed Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary designee Andrea Palm to issue a Safer at Home order that prohibits all nonessential travel, with some exceptions as clarified and defined in the order.
The order is effective at 8:00 am on Wednesday., March 25, 2020 and will remain in effect until 8:00 am Friday, April 24, 2020, or until a superseding order is issued.
According to the Evers’ order, local law enforcement can enforce the order, punishable by up to 30 days imprisonment, up to a $250 fine, or both.
Facilities that have been, or are now ordered to close include public and private K-12 schools and public libraries, places of public amusement and activity (including but not limited to amusement parks, carnivals, water parks, licensed public or private swimming pools, splash pads, aquariums, zoos, museums, arcades, fairs, children’s play centers, playgrounds, funplexes, theme parks, bowling alleys, movie and other theaters, concert and music halls, country clubs, social clubs, and gym and fitness centers), hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, day spas, electrolysis providers, waxing salons, eyebrow-care establishments, tatoo parlors, body art establishments and tanning facilities.
We reached out to Turtle Lake businesses and Barron County law enforcement to see how the COVID-19 pandemic and Evers’ orders have affected their operations or daily routines.
First and foremost was the school district closing. Since then orders have changed on a nearly-daily basis. It was learned Monday that Governor Tony Evers would be ordering the shut down of all non-essential businesses throughout the state.
Bars and restaurants within the Village were forced to shut down in-house dining and drinking. The New Frontier Restaurant, J-Cools and Hotel Bar and Grill closed their doors. The Hotel is presently offering Heat and Serve meals that are delivered on Sundays. These three meal packages are safe to consume through Friday of the same week. Delivery is available within a 10-mile radius of the Hotel Bar and Grill. Meals must be ordered through their Facebook page by 3:00 p.m. Saturday.
Spare Time Bowl, Bar and Grill is offering daily to-go meals that can be picked up at a pick-up window at the front of the building. They also offer off sale. While they were offering delivery, they have since cancelled that offering. Take out hours are 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Lake Country Pizza will be maintaining regular business hours for take out and delivery. All orders will be taken over the phone and paid with a credit card. Your food will be brought to your vehicle in the parking lot as no customers will be allowed into the restaurant.
Please contact the establishments prior to ordering as orders seem to change daily.
The school and eating establishments are not the only businesses changing daily operations due to the pandemic.
According to Scott Hildebrand, Turtle Lake Village Administrator, the Village has a continuity plan and will work to ensure that essential operations such as water, sewer and law enforcement continue during this time. The Village Hall remains open, but request individuals make payments at the drop box or pay online if possible, to limit contact. They are also requesting phone calls or email contact if possible to reduce contact.
“We want to remind everyone to please be patient and kind during this time, but do not hesitate to contact us,” Administrator Hildebrand said.
Police Chief Al Gabe said daily operations haven’t changed for the Turtle Lake Police Department.
As far as Municipal Court, plans are to hold court Wednesday, March 25 as scheduled. Extra precautions are being taken for health and safety. Court is typically held the 4th Wednesday of each month. As of now, they are still planning to hold Court in April but this is subject to change. With the current situation, all citations written from this point on will be scheduled for June court. Court will be held twice in June (the 10th and 24th) to accommodate the possible backlog. Per a statement from Judge Boyle on March 16th, “Preserving access to our courts is fundamental to society and the rule of law. Judges must remain responsive to the rights of individuals to have their cases heard, as well as be cognizant of the health risks to victims, defendants, litigants, attorneys, witnesses, jurors, court staff and the general public”.
Turtle Lake Municipal Court is being very flexible and accommodating with defendants. They are offering them the chance to reschedule their appearance to a later court date, make payments online, as well as a variety of options to help everyone get through this very distressing time.
Changes have also taken place in Barron County Court. According to Judge James Babler all in-court appearances are postpones through April 30, 2020. Only in rare instances will an in-court appearance for court be required. As many hearings as legally possible will be handled by phone and video. There will be no jury trials until after May 22, 2020.
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald explained, “All our staff is taking extra precautions and we have limited access to dispatch to reduce exposure as much as we can for everyone. We have the proper Personal Protective Equipment in our squads if we need it and we will all get through this together. People just need to stay home, limit exposure and we hopefully get back to normal in May. It will be a long month but there are many groups doing extraordinary things to help and support others out there from our teachers, home work-outs, to Easter egg hunts in windows as people go for walks, to our local restaurants. People don’t have to stay inside they just have to limit contact with others. Take time to finish the project, relax and we will be able to have a great summer together.”
The Barron County Jail has implemented the following precautions.
The Barron County Jail has suspended all jail programs.
All inmate court appearances will be done by video or phone.
They ask all professional visitors that any visits be conducted remotely by phone or video when practical. Other necessary on-site professional visits will be conducted via non-contact visitation booths within the Barron County Jail. Jail staff will assist in the passing of necessary paperwork between the visitor and inmate when needed.
Jail staff will pre-screen any inmate coming in to the jail in the secure jail garage (sally port) before being allowed entry into the jail. If any inmate that is pre-screened is determined to be at risk for COVID-19, they will have to be taken to be medically cleared and will be denied entry into the Barron County Jail until it is determined that they are COID-19 free. All inmates accepted into the facility will be kept separate from the general jail population for at least 14 days or until jail medical staff advises it is safe to do so.
Working Hubers have been placed on electronic monitor.
Non-custodial DNA Samples, Court Ordered bond PBT’s and Fingerprints for the public are suspended until May 1st.
All visits between inmates and their families and friends will be done by off-site video visitation.
Only essential personnel are allowed access to the jail and only to the extent necessary to conduct their business. Essential staff includes all Sheriff’s Dept. personnel, jail contracted services staff, attorneys, probation agents and other law enforcement staff.
All jail tours are suspended and other non-essential visitors are prohibited from entering the jail.
As far as additional businesses that responded, Sunshine Fitness has since been ordered to close by Order of the State of Wisconsin due to Covid-19.
Alissa Coomer, owner, explained in a social media post, “They have ordered us to close. I never thought I would ever have to make this announcement. We have never been closed in the nine years since I first opened the doors in Turtle Lake. The only consolation is knowing we are all hurting from this. There isn’t any of us that hasn’t been effected in some way.”
At Infinity Retail Services changes have taken place also.
Over 50% of office staff are working from home providing the necessary social distance in their office environment according to CEO Kevin Jansen.
Microsoft Teams chat/video conferencing has replaced on site collaboration.
All employees are to wash hands upon arrival and departure from the building.
Break times have been lengthened in order to provide extra time to wash hands before and after.
Three separate break times providing additional social distance between employees.
Break areas and restrooms will be sanitized before/after each break.
Pickup and delivery personnel are not allowed in the building.
Sanitizing common touch points around the building such as switches, door knobs, keyboards, by product compactors, etc.
Anyone that is not feeling well must stay home for two weeks.
“Our team has done an outstanding job adapting to the changes necessary to keep our employees and community safe,” said Jansen.
Dairy State Bank has closed its lobby to the public until further notice, but continues to serve customers at the drive-up, ATM and night depository.
They are encouraging customers to try banking alternatives, such as Telebanking, Online Banking, Mobile Banking & Mobile Deposit. Customer Service and lending staff are still at work inside the bank or working remotely, taking phone calls during regular business hours.
“Our goal is to work together with our community’s residents and businesses to get through this challenging time.”
Starting Thursday, March 19th, the Turtle Lake Public Library has been closed to the public until further notice.
Due dates for all materials currently checked out are extended to April 6, 2020. The dropbox is open and returns will be checked in like normal. The Turtle Lake Public Library is fine free, so no fines will be accrued. If you have holds that are ready for pick up, they will be held at the library until we reopen. Please disregard the pick-up by the date listed in your account. You can still place holds on your account, but courier services to libraries have been discontinued until further notice.
“While we are closing our physical library to the public, your library card provides access to e-books, e-audiobooks, digital magazines, learning tools, homework help, and more,” said Librarian Alison Lutz. “If you need any assistance or want to learn more about these online services, please call the Library at 715-986-4618.”
“Thank you all for your support and patience during this unprecedented time as we continue to evaluate the situation related to the COVID-19 outbreak. The safety of our staff, volunteers, partners and community is our highest priority. We will continue to monitor federal, state, county and local agencies for guidance with each step moving forward. Stay safe!”
Patrons are encouraged to check out the website turtlelakepublic and social media for updates.
To view the entire Evers order go to our website,

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