As COVID-19 spikes in Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers this week issued new statewide restrictions that will affect businesses.

An executive order issued Oct. 6 limits indoor public gatherings to no more than 25 percent of a room or building’s capacity, with some exceptions. The order goes into effect at 8 a.m. on Thursday and is in place through Nov. 6.

The new rule is for spaces that are open to the public, including businesses and ticketed events.

It does not cover offices and manufacturing plant spaces only accessible to employees; invitation-only events; and private residences. Neither does it cover childcare centers, schools, hospitals and other healthcare sites, long-term care facilities; critical public infrastructure operations such as solid waste and recycling centers; state and local government offices and polling sites; churches; rallies and other demonstrations protected by the first amendment; the Wisconsin Supreme Court and Legislature; federal facilities; and tribal lands.

This follows an order issued by Evers on Sept. 22, in which the governor ordered that coverings be required to be worn statewide indoors or in enclosed spaces, other than in a private residence, when other people are present in the same room or space. It is in effect until Nov. 21.

In a release today, the governor’s office said the new order comes as Wisconsin “is in the midst of a deadly, uncontrolled, and exponentially growing spike in cases of COVID-19. The state is the nation’s COVID-19 hot spot, and intervening measures are necessary to slow the rampage of illness and death caused by the virus.”

Wisconsin now has the third highest number of new cases in the past seven days --17,641 — with only California and Texas having more new cases. Wisconsin is also third in the nation in new cases per 100,000 residents; only North Dakota and South Dakota having higher rates.

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