What Evers’ Executive Order #94 really means for employers
On Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, Governor Evers addressed Wisconsin in a highly anticipated press conference concerning the state government’s latest efforts to curb the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Leading up to the address, rumor was Evers would announce state mandates impacting individuals, schools and businesses. Instead, he announced Executive Order #94, Relating to Actions Every Wisconsinite Should Take to Protect their Family, Friends, and Neighbors from COVID-19 (Order #94).
Three Key Takeaways from Order #94
Order #94 calls for unity and working together in an advisory capacity. As an employer, here is what you need to know:
1. No mandates
Order #94 does not contain mandates on employers, new or old. Rather, Order #94 highly encourages employers to follow a list of suggestions on how they can help stop the spread of COVID-19 to their employees, customers and their communities.
2. No government penalties or enforcement concerns
Order #94 is not a mandate and does not include a penalty or enforcement provision. However, employers should be prepared to address concerns from employees, clients and customers regarding their response to Order #94.
3. Some health departments are making statements based on Order #94
Some local health departments have issued statements related to Order #94. Public Health Madison & Dane County is one example and more may follow suit. As always, maintain awareness of and incorporate any county- or city-wide requirements issued by authorities.
What Should Employers Do Now?
While no mandates exist for employers in Order #94, employees may have questions regarding Order #94’s suggestions or otherwise inquire about policies and procedures as Wisconsin experiences a spike in COVID-19 cases.
To be ready for this inquiry, employers should:
Consult their local health department’s COVID-19 resource page to determine if there are any updates in response to Order #94
Review and update their business’ COVID-19 response plan and protocols to incorporate updated guidance, as applicable
Prepare talking points to explain the employer’s response to Order #94 and reiterate existing policies and/or new procedures implemented in response to Order #94