Health Department Orders Door County Campgrounds Closed

The Door County Health Department has ordered all campgrounds closed in the county.

“It is the duty of the local health officers to promptly take all measures necessary to prevent, suppress, and control communicable diseases as set forth in Wis. Stat. § 252.03(1),” Door County Public Health Manager Sue Powers said in a statement released Wednesday. “In my role as local health officer, I have determined that the immediate temporary closure of all campgrounds in Door County is reasonable and necessary to prevent, suppress, and control the COVID-19 virus.”

Governor Tony Evers’ Safer at Home order lists campgrounds as essential businesses, but Powers said Door County has additional unique factors to consider. Those include the fact that Door County has a large elderly population (30 percent of the county’s population is 65 and older, almost double the percent of the state as a whole) and data indicates elderly are particularly susceptible to the coronavirus.

The county also has a large number of private campgrounds in addition to campgrounds at four state parks which draw thousands of people in summer, and camping encourages non-essential travel and unmonitored gatherings of groups larger than 10 people.

Seasonal campground site occupants who arrived on or before April 15, 2020 may be allowed to remain in place. Any seasonal site occupant that leaves the campground to return to his or her place of residence is not permitted to return to re-occupy the seasonal site. All seasonal site occupants that arrived on or before April 15, 2020 are encouraged to return to their residences. 

The order is effective April 15, 2020 and will remain in effect through May 15 or until Gov. Evers lifts the Safer at Home order.

“We are aware that the Frequently Asked Questions, which accompany Executive Order #12, lists campgrounds as an “Essential Business,” the state from Powers continued. “Governor Evers has since ordered the DNR to close 40 state parks, forests and recreational areas and the DNR has closed campgrounds in state parks and recreation areas through April 30. These actions by the State are consistent with and support the need for this Health Order.”

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