La Crosse County not seeking fines with new advisory, asks for people’s cooperation
La Crosse County advisory limiting crowds latest effort to curb spike in COVID-19 cases
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Business owners are asked to limit their building capacity to 25 percent. La Crosse County Health officials announced an advisory Friday morning that adopts the same requirements in Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ latest emergency order.
“The cases have been growing at a concerning rate over the past couple of months,” said Jen Rombalski, director of the La Crosse County Health Department.
The transition from August to September did not reflect positively in the eyes of health experts like Rombalski. She said cases rose fivefold from August to September.
The impact of COVID-19 case spread among younger people is now affecting older populations with higher risk factors. Four more people have died in the past two days.
“Our hearts really go out to the families of those individuals,” Rombalski said.
However, Evers’ order is currently tied up in the court system after the Tavern League of Wisconsin sued Wednesday.
“It’s fair to say that there’s been a lot of confusion,” Rombalski said.
She spoke to reporters Friday afternoon about the questions surrounding legal authority with statewide orders and county orders. Despite the court battle in Sawyer County, this advisory has legal standing in La Crosse County according to county administrator Steve O’Malley.
“This advisory is directly related to our responsibility for our community,” O’Malley said.
Just like before, enforcement will not come from law enforcement. Rombalski said the health department will use a stepwise approach to deal with violations.
They include the health advisory notice, receiving a credible report of a violation, and then issuing a citation if a business refuses to cooperate.
“If we can’t get voluntary compliance, then we will always use as many steps as possible, and education and communication with businesses to ensure that compliance is occurring,” Rombalski said.
Under the advisory, she said the county will not actively search for violations. The county is asking for people’s voluntary efforts to help stop a negative trend in Wisconsin.
Rombalski said private gatherings at homes in the county are also something people need to think about. County health officials are noticing case spread related to home gatherings.
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