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Burnett County Sheriff Tracy Finch issued the following statement on the state's safer-at-home order Wednesday afternoon.

"Over the past eight weeks, Burnett County has adhered to the Safer-at-Home order, provided guidance to business and the general public, and has been actively engaged in working through inconsistent state messaging. Earlier this week, the authority of the Governor is believed to have been exhausted as it relates to maintaining certain closure orders that were set to continue. While I am certainly not an attorney, upholding the law is of utmost importance. Therefore, as Sheriff, with no decision by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, it is my duty to follow and enforce the law. As of today, our department will only be documenting reported violations of the safer-at-home orders and those affecting business closures. Those reports will be forwarded through the proper channels. If the Wisconsin Supreme Court rules otherwise, I will certainly follow as necessary.

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Burnett County Sheriff Tracy Finch speaking at a Law Enforcement Memorial ceremony during Police Week 2019.

"I want to make it clear that I am only speaking for the Burnett County Sheriff’s Office. I am not speaking for any other local, tribal, county or state law enforcement agency.

"I am not telling businesses they should open. If businesses choose to open, I strongly suggest they consult with their licensing boards and insurance companies to protect themselves, their employees and their customers.

"COVID-19 is a serious health concern. Please continue to protect those around you, especially the most vulnerable. People have a personal responsibility to protect themselves and those around them. I encourage you to continue proper social distancing with common sense. Please use personal protective equipment when appropriate or required. I want Burnett County to continue to have zero positive cases."