City of De Pere rescinds Safer at Home Order

In response to a sudden change of direction from Brown County Health & Human Services today (Friday, May 15), the City of De Pere is immediately withdrawing its local order that continued provisions of the state’s Safer-at-Home Order.

This move allows businesses in the City of De Pere to reopen without risk of penalty or prosecution, although the De Pere Health Department and other local officials strongly urge businesses and groups – and any patrons of these entities - to continue observing the public health guidance of the CDC and State while re-opening and resuming operations.  

In addition to this, as always, the De Pere Health Department is available for advice and guidance as well.

Initially, after the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned a statewide Safer-at-Home order on Wednesday, the City of De Pere joined Brown County (both departments have separate jurisdiction, but often work hand-in-hand due to proximity) and several other localities across the state in issuing local orders continuing Safer-at-Home guidance until May 20. This measure was announced yesterday, and done due to ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks and health concerns. Moreover, this order sought to create viable time to create more structured guidance for local businesses on how to safely re-open and resume operations from our health department.

Despite the City of De Pere wanting to foster this unified approach and avoid additional confusion for our citizens and local businesses, numerous surrounding localities, including Brown County Health and Human Services, have reversed course.

This has left our City in a difficult position, as we do not want to position ourselves on an island in our region and create further inconsistency and confusion in the County and surrounding area. Therefore, given this new direction our regional health partners have taken, and not wishing to create further divisive action or patterns of operations at odds with our neighboring communities, we are rescinding our Safer-at-Home order.

Despite this action, local government, our health department, and area businesses will continue to work steadfastly together to develop clear, strategic and consistent guidance on how to restart the local economy. That process will continue, with an eye toward providing businesses and organizations with best practices to allow them to operate in the best interests of public health and safety.

Also, despite De Pere’s Safer-at-Home measures being rescinded, the De Pere Health Department reminds the community that COVID-19 is still a present threat within our area, and will be for an unknown period of time.  

“Sadly, it goes without saying that the City of De Pere and Brown County remain far from being out of the woods with COVID-19,” said Deborah Armbruster, De Pere Public Health Officer. “We hope our community will continue to take the threat of the virus seriously and take precautions to slow its spread as we enter this next phase of reopening our economy.”

De Pere Mayor Boyd agreed with this sentiment.

“As always, we fully support our De Pere Health Department. And, as we change course on some fronts in our community, our focus has not changed: We want everyone to be safe, and ask citizens and businesses to follow the guidelines and recommendations regarding social distancing, masks, and other safety measures. The virus has not gone away and we will need everyone’s help,” said Mayor Boyd.

The following is language from the order signed by Armbruster of the De Pere Health Department today (Friday, May 15), which officially rescinded the Safer at Home order in the City of De Pere, and also offered initial recommendations for residents and businesses:

Based upon Brown County rescinding its Order of May 13, 2020 extending the State Safer at Home Orders, I HEREBY RESCIND MY MAY 14, 2020 ORDER which also extended the Safer at Home Orders.

The State of Wisconsin, Brown County and the City of De Pere have made great progress in controlling the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 252 .03(1) & (2), I am issuing the following recommendations to serve as guidelines to control the transmission of the virus throughout the City of De Pere, effective immediately. 


Individuals and Families:

  • Practice Physical Distancing and Protective Measures, including the following:
  • Maintaining physical distancing of six (6) feet between people not residing in a single living unit or household;
  • Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer;
  • Covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands);
  • Regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces;
  • Not shaking hands;
  • Use of a mask or cloth face covering when physical distancing is impractical;
  • Limiting travel to reduce the potential for virus transmission;
  • Following all other public health recommendations issued by the State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the City of De Pere Health Department, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Stay home if you are sick and seek appropriate medical care.

Businesses, Non-Profits, and other Entities:

  • Implement the strategies and practices based on the following sources:
    • Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Reopening Guidelines at,
    • Centers for Disease Control at, and
    • State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services at available at

Consult with the De Pere Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of De Pere Health Department to gather additional information to safely resume business activities.


  • Individuals - avoid situations where you are unable to exercise appropriate physical distancing with non-household members.
  • Businesses, Non-Profits, and other Entities - reduce capacity and modify physical spaces to ensure adequate physical distancing for customers and staff.

Enforcement:These guidelines provide recommendations and do not provide for enforcement via civil or criminal penalty.

Duration:This communication shall become effective immediately and shall remain in effect until revoked or superseded by subsequent recommendations or order.

This situation may continue to evolve and may require future orders to protect the public's health and safety. We trust that residents and businesses will follow recommendations and guidance from Public Health authorities to protect each other.

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