Stay at Home FAQs

Stay at Home FAQs

Mandatory “Stay at Home”:  What You Need to Know
To further combat the spread of COVID-19, Rusk County has issued a mandatory “Stay at Home” order. The orders direct all residents of Rusk County to stay inside their residences, and immediately limit all movement outside their homes beyond what is absolutely necessary to take care of essential needs.

What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a highly contagious new disease caused by a virus called Coronavirus. Its symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath — and may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

Residents are directed to stay inside their homes unless they are engaged in certain “essential activities.”  You can learn more about "essential activities" here. On those occasions when you are out of your home for necessary tasks, stay at least six feet away from others.


  • Go to the grocery, convenience or warehouse store
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and other healthcare necessities
  • Go to medical appointments (check with your doctor or provider first).
  • Go to a restaurant for take-out, delivery or drive-thru
  • Care for or support a friend or family member
  • Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog and be in nature for exercise — just keep at least six feet between you and others in the community
  • Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian if necessary
  • Help someone to get necessary supplies
  • Go to work for an essential business.


  • Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined by the guidelines. [see guidelines here] (Note: work arrangements should be made in consultation with your employer. Alternative work arrangements are recommended where possible.) 
  • Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need
  • Maintain less than 6 feet of distance from others when you go out
  • Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or other residential care facility

Is this order mandatory? What happens if I don’t comply?
It is mandatory, and is a legally enforceable order. You may be punished by a fine or imprisonment for failing to comply.

Why is this happening now?
These mandatory Stay at Home orders are being issued now because it is urgent that we slow and stop the spread of COVID-19 in Rusk County. 

The virus spreads easily, and these guidelines are intended to prevent the spread of this disease from overwhelming our healthcare system. The goal here is to “flatten the curve” to slow down the spread of the virus and ensure we have adequate health care resources for those who get sick with COVID-19 and those who need emergency medical care for accidents, heart attacks, strokes, and other routine medical conditions. 

What is the difference between “Stay at Home” and “social distancing”?
Stay at Home is a stricter form of social distancing. There are some differences. Stay at Home means:

  • Stay home (stay unexposed and do not expose others)
  • Only go out for essential services
  • Stay six feet or more away from others
  • Don’t gather in groups

The other concepts from social distancing will continue to apply when you are out shopping or walking or going to the doctor. These include washing hands, using hand sanitizer, disinfecting surfaces, not going out if sick, and staying at least six feet away from others at all times.

When do the mandatory orders go into effect and how long will it last?
The mandatory orders go into effect Saturday at 12:01 AM and continue until rescinded.

The duration can be either shortened or extended by the Rusk County Judge and/or Mayor according to jurisdiction. It is intended that the orders would be in place for only as long as necessary, and officials will be closely monitoring the situation daily in order to determine what adjustments are appropriate.

What are essential activities for which people may leave their residence? 
The mandatory Stay at Home orders direct residents to only leave their home to perform essential activities such as those listed below.  However, people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are urged to stay in their residence to the extent possible except as necessary to seek medical care. 

  • To learn more about essential activities, click here.

For these orders, what is meant by the term "business"? What about a non-profit or educational entity?
For the purpose of the Stay at Home orders, the term business includes any for-profit, non-profit, or educational entities, regardless of the nature of the service, the function they perform, or its corporate or entity structure. 

Do non-essential businesses have to shut down completely or can they maintain minimum basic operations?
Businesses may maintain "minimum basic operations" including the minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory, ensure security, process payroll and benefits, or for related functions. Additionally, minimum basic operations include the minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely.

What is considered a home or residence? What about hotels? What about individuals experiencing homelessness?
For the purpose of the Stay at Home orders, the term residence includes houses, hotels, motels, shared rental units, and similar facilities.

Individuals experiencing homelessness are exempt from the requirement to shelter within a residence, but are strongly urged to obtain shelter. Furthermore, entities are strongly urged to make such shelter available as soon as possible and to the maximum extent practicable while still utilizing social distancing practices.

Can I go outside, walk in my neighborhood, or go to the park? 
Yes, going outside is considered an essential activity. You may do a variety of outdoor activities while still maintaining social distancing. Parks are still open at this time. 

Can I still order the things I need online and have them delivered to my residence?
Yes. The guidelines identify businesses that deliver goods or services directly to residences may continue to operate.  But keep your social distance by staying six feet from the person delivering the item.

Can I use public transportation, ride share, or a taxi?
Only for essential travel. Public transit and transportation services may continue to operate. In circumstances under which such transportation is needed, you should still practice social distancing, cover your mouth and nose if you cough or sneeze, use hand sanitizer or wash your hands before and after rides. 

What should I do if I’m sick or a family member is sick? 
If you are feeling sick, please first call your primary care doctor, a nurse hotline, or an urgent care center before going to the hospital. Check online resources like the CDC website if you are worried that you or a loved one has the COVID-19 virus. Do not go to the emergency room of a hospital unless you have deemed that you have an actual emergency. Call 911 or go to the emergency room if you are experiencing a medical emergency. 

Can I leave home to care for my elderly parents or friends who require assistance to care for themselves? Or a friend or family member who has disabilities?
Yes. Be sure that you protect them and you by following social distancing guidelines such as washing hands before and after, using hand sanitizer, maintaining at least 6 feet of distance when possible, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue.

Do the Stay at Home orders allow me to have my children in childcare?  Will my daycare be shut down?
Childcare facilities may continue to operate so they can provide services that enable employees to work at Essential Businesses. However, to the extent possible, parents and guardians are encouraged to supervise children at home during this time period. 

What about Retail Stores? Can I still go shop?
During a mandatory Stay at Home, some non-essential retail stores are closed. Some retail stores, such as hardware stores, grocery stores, and stores that provide products or services for other essential businesses, are considered essential and would be encouraged to remain open. 

Is there a penalty for a person or business that does not comply with the Stay at Home Guidelines? 
Yes, penalties can be enforced. 

How do I prove that I am allowed to be outside?
At this time there is no requirement of proof that you are allowed to be outside your residence because the Stay at Home guidelines presume that citizens will adhere to their civic duty and follow the guidelines for the greater good of the community.