Shawano encourages continued COVID precautions

City looking at how and when to reopen public facilities after supreme court decision
Tim Ryan

SHAWANO — City officials are encouraging residents to continue following social distancing rules and other precautions to stem the spread of COVID-19 in the wake of a state Supreme Court order striking down the extension of the governor’s Safer at Home order.

The city is also keeping its public facilities closed for the time being while it evaluates how to reopen safely.

“We’re going to take a week, because there’s a lot of things we’ve got to figure out,” City Administrator Eddie Sheppard said.

Sheppard said that includes whether the recreation center and civic center should be reopened.

“We want to make sure we have all the proper precautions in place before we open the doors,” he said.

“We are going to try to transition our city offices into being open over the next week,” Sheppard said.

City Hall has been closed to the public since March 18, though city staff have continued to conduct business, dealing with the public via telephone or curbside.

When the building does reopen to the public, there will “absolutely” be COVID-19 precautions in place, Sheppard said.

“We’ll do whatever we can to make sure that people coming in are protected and safe, as well as our own employees,” Sheppard said.

“We’ll do things like marking spaces on the ground for people who come to the front desk at City Hall,” he said. “We have hand sanitizing stations right there at the windows.”

Sheppard said the city, like everyone else, is still waiting to see if there will be any additional guidance from the state or restrictions from the state Legislature.

“I think we’re all kind of watching the state to see what if anything comes out of this,” he said.

Following is the open letter to the community posted on the city’s website:

To our Shawano Residents and Business Community:

We understand there is a lot of confusion surrounding the State Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision to overturn the Wisconsin’s safer-at-home order yesterday (May 13th). Here is what it means for you in the City of Shawano:

The safer-at-home order was terminated effective immediately. Also, there were no additional restrictions put in place. Therefore, businesses are free to open as they wish without any limitations. We ask that those who choose to open please do so using safe practices. We also ask that everyone please be respectful of a business’s choice to be open or not, and to follow any safety measures put in place for the protection of you and others within that business.

It is not yet clear what, if anything, will replace the now invalid safer-at-home order. The State Legislature had requested a period of 6 days following the courts decision to keep the safer at home order in place, however, that request was denied. We will continue to monitor the situation and will pass along any guidance we receive from the State as it relates to any potential future legislative action.

At this time, all city facilities, including the Rec Center, will remain closed to the public. City operations will continue as normal, but offices will remain closed to the public until we receive further guidance from the State and our health officials.

Regardless of the court’s decision, the coronavirus continues to provide a significant health threat to all in our community. Please continue to do your part to protect your families, friends, and neighbors - we are all in this together.

If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to Eddie Sheppard, City Administrator at (715) 526-6138 or by email at

Please stay safe - stay healthy.

With Gratitude,

City of Shawano Staff, Shawano Common Council and Mayor Ed Whealon