In Wisconsin, the state enacted a "Safer at Home" order (link here) which restricts certain essential and non-essential businesses from operating, as well as restricting people's activities that don't fall into an exemption category. Another term that is commonly used for states is "Shelter in Place".

The business I work for would classify as a Home Improvement business if I had to use a single umbrella term for the company as a whole. There are physical stores, distribution centers, software development teams, payroll teams, etc. It's worth noting that the business has the capabilities to have people remote work, but they don't allow it. The order seems to suggest that remote working would be acceptable for any business.

The part of the order that I'm curious about is that it has this as one of the exemptions:

Hardware and supplies stores. Hardware stores and businesses that sell electrical, plumbing, heating, and construction material.

Do all employees of the company fall into the exemption since the business is in the field of home improvement or are the physical retail stores the only exemptions?

The order also allows for the "Minimum Basic Operations" to support the business. For example, it notes that teams that process payroll would be exempt since they are essential to keep the business running. However, would a software development team as a whole be exempt as well or should that be reduced to just support staff?

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    Considering that all of these orders are orientated around reducing the risk of spread of infection, that should be paramount in any decision taken around these questions - do the employees not involved in the physical retail stores need to be at work for the physical retail stores to operate? No? Then they don't go to work. Hell, at this point in the game, non-essential people in the physical stores themselves shouldn't go in (thinking home improvement sales people, the kind that up-sell you kitchen cabinets or do the architectural layout etc).
    – user28517
    Apr 2, 2020 at 21:19
  • There is really no case law on this issue at this point. The language and interpretation of the decrees varies. Most decrees don't acknowledge how complex the issues presented can be in practice and most are applied at a work place by work place basis.
    – ohwilleke
    Apr 2, 2020 at 23:41


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