Sheriffs in Barron and Dunn counties issued statements Wednesday, March 25, 2020, urging citizens and business owners to cooperate voluntarily with Gov. Tony Evers’ order for citizens to remain at home and for non-essential businesses to close their doors during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The order will be in effect for one month, through Friday, April 24, 2020.

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald and Dunn County Sheriff Kevin Bygd both asked for cooperation as the restrictions take effect.

“If we want our businesses to open back up and the kids to go back to school, then we need to follow this (order) for 30 days so we stop the spread of the disease,” Fitzgerald said. “We need to do this for ourselves, our families, our schools, local businesses and medical facilities.”  

Bygd said: “This is a community effort that requires collaboration and cooperation from all. I understand and appreciate the great personal sacrifices being made … but … I know that by taking this seriously and following the recommendations, we can save lives.”

The governor noted that the “order is enforceable by any local law enforcement official, including county sheriffs. Violation or obstruction … is punishable by imprisonment, fines, or both.”

Both sheriffs indicated that they will take enforcement action if necessary, but, at the same time, they pleaded for cooperation.

“We are simply asking for voluntary compliance … so we can move forward and defeat this pandemic,” Bygd said.

“Most if not everyone, are complying with the order so we have had to take no enforcement action (as of Wednesday afternoon, March 25),” Fitzgerald said. “Anyone with a concern over a violation should contact our dispatch center at (715) 537-3106.”