Residents of the News-Shield circulation area are doing their best to cope with increasing restrictions imposed by state government to head off the spread of coronavirus and the disease it causes in humans known as COVID-19.
Workers in hazmat suits were in evidence Tuesday morning, March 24, 2020, at what had been a closed office owned by Mayo Clinic Health System-Northland. Mayo announced Monday, March 23, that drive-through testing would be available at the Cameron location for Mayo patients who had been cleared to take the tests by their primary healthcare providers.
A number of additional changes and restrictions were announced locally. They include:
• City of Barron – The city announced Monday, March 23, that it would implement traffic controls and procedures for the upcoming election on Tuesday, April 7.
Voters will enter the City Hall parking lot through the Division Avenue/U.S. Hwy. 8 entrance (see map elsewhere in the News-Shield).
Voters will be directed where to park, and must remain in their vehicles until directed. After they vote, residents must exit City Hall and promptly return to their vehicles before leaving the City Hall lot onto LaSalle Avenue.
While voting, residents must abide by “social distancing” restrictions and put their voter IDs in plastic bags. No loitering will be allowed.
• Barron County Circuit Court -- Circuit Court Judge James C. Babler has cancelled in-person court appearances through April 30. If casework can’t be done over the phone, it will be postponed.
All jury trials from now through May 22 are postponed and will be rescheduled.
All conferences with jail inmates will be via video or phone unless the Constitution or state law requires an in-person appearance.
All citations issued by law enforcement and/or Department of Natural Resources officers will have court dates starting after June 1 2020.
The Justice Center, including the Clerk of Court and Register in Probate offices, will remain open for business.
All employees will practice social distancing and abide by standards set by the federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
• Barron County – All unnecessary travel is discouraged in Barron County (and throughout the U.S.), according to Sarah Turner, public health specialist for the Barron County Department of Health & Human Services.
People from out of county with seasonal or recreational properties in Barron County are strongly encouraged to remain at their permanent residence. If they do come here, they are required to self- quarantine for 14 days in order to stop COVID-19 community-to-community spread.
Property owners must plan accordingly and bring 14 days of supplies with them. Self-quarantine does not permit shopping at local stores for these supplies.
Barron County campgrounds will remain closed until further notice.
“Barron County has a large population of older adults and vulnerable populations,” the announcement said. “These populations are at the highest risk of COVID-19; it is our priority to keep people in Barron County healthy and safe.”
• Spring election – Although it will go on as planned on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, the Spring Election will take place with further restrictions, County Clerk DeeAnn Cook announced Monday, March 23.
“We have been told by the Wisconsin Elections Commission that there is no plan to postpone the election due to COVID-19,” she said. “Rest assured that Municipal Clerks and poll workers will take extra care in sanitizing election equipment, voting booths and their facility. Municipal clerks will also do their best to accommodate the increase in absentee requests. Please be patient because many of them in smaller municipalities are part time clerks and have other jobs. They are very concerned about having enough poll workers on Election Day to process all of the absentee ballots then count the results once the polls close.”
Absentee ballots can be obtained through your local municipal clerk, or by signing up at www.MyVote.wi.gov
• State restrictions – On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, at the direction of Gov. Tony Evers, Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm banned unnecessary travel into or out of Wisconsin from 8 a.m. Wednesday, March 25, through 8 a.m. Friday, April 24, or until a superseding order is issued.
Individuals do not need special permission to leave their homes, but they must avoid all unnecessary travel.
Only “essential businesses” are allowed to continue operating. The governor’s order lists those businesses that can and cannot remain open, as well as an appeals process for businesses that want to stay open even if they’re on the non-essential list.
A complete list of businesses exempted from the “Safer at Home” declaration can be found at https://wedc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Health-Order-12-Safer-At-Home.pdf