You are here

Safer at Home Extended, Curbside Pick-up Added to Exceptions

Thursday, April 16, 2020

At 12:51 p.m. on April 16, 2020, the State of Wisconsin issued a press release regarding the extension of Wisconsin’s Safer at Home Order until 8:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 26, 2020 (or until a superseding order is issued) per Emergency Order #28. Order #28 implements some new safety measures and allows certain activities to begin ramping up service and operations. The following sections of Order #28 pertain to public libraries:

Order 4b: Closures: Libraries. Public libraries must remain closed for all in-person services. Library may provide the following services, beginning no sooner than 8:00 a.m. on April 24, 2020*:

  • Libraries may continue to provide online services and programming, as was permitted under the Safer at Home Order.

  • Libraries may begin to offer curbside pick-up of books and other library materials, only if all of the following conditions are met:

    • All operations are performed by one person in a room or confined space (see below for details);

    • Materials are requested online or by phone before pick up;

    • A signature from the patron is not collected;

    • All pick-ups are scheduled, to ensure compliance with Social Distancing Requirements as defined in Section 16 of the Safer at Home Order.

  • Any Essential Governmental Function; and

  • Food distribution, which were both permitted under the Safer at Home Order.

Order 12: Essential Government Functions. Government bodies including the library board should continue to follow the Wisconsin Department of Justice's Office of Open Government guidance regarding holding government meetings, and library boards should continue to convene monthly to audit and approve the payment of all expenditures of the public library, pursuant to Wis. Stat. sec. 43.58(2)(a). The OOG advisory on open meetings is available at

Other functions exempted under this order could include food distribution and other activities deemed essential by the municipality.

Order 14: Minimum Basic Operations. This order allows the minimum necessary activities to preserve the library facility and equipment, address information technology (IT) issues, ensure physical and cybersecurity, process payroll and fulfill business services obligations, as well as activities that facilitate the ability of staff to work remotely from home.

Curbside service has been added to the list of minimum basic operations for public libraries. As a non-essential business, a public library may continue basic minimum operations by restricting the number of workers in the library to no more than is strictly necessary to perform curbside service, as well as the other minimum basic operations. These added employees can now be considered essential staff, for the purpose of operating the library with limited services.

Curbside service can only be offered by a library if all four conditions outlined in the Order #28 are met. “All operations performed by one person in a room or confined space” implies proper social distancing. It does not mean that one individual must perform all operations involved in running a curbside service; rather, it limits the number of people working in a room or confined space to one person.

Materials must be requested either online or by phone, and all pick-ups must be scheduled to ensure that social distancing requirements are met. Because lobby areas and vestibules provide an increased risk of contagion, they are not acceptable pick-up spaces for curbside service. All transactions should occur outside and away from the doorways, where people can properly socially distance themselves without coming into contact with others and hard surfaces.

Delivery and mailings. More information is needed to determine if this section applies to exchange of materials between libraries. Library staff should not provide home deliveries or offer deposit collections to residence facilities until a determination is made.

Order 16: Social Distancing Requirements. For purposes of this Order, Social Distancing Requirements includes:

  1. Maintaining social distancing of six (6) feet between people;

  2. Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer;

  3. Covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands);

  4. Regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces;

  5. Not shaking hands; and

  6. Following all other public health recommendations issued by DHS and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

DLT acknowledges that public libraries are a matter of local control. We encourage you to contact your municipal attorney, county corporate counsel, or independently contracted attorney for advice when interpreting legal issues.

See also: Office of the Governor Safer at Home FAQs

*Added after the original post, per clarification in the "Office of the Governor Safer at Home FAQs" sheet linked above.

Submitted by the Library Team, Division for Libraries and Technology



WI Libraries for Everyone

Stay informed on our latest news!