MENOMONIE -- Dunn County Sheriff Kevin Bygd is asking county residents to voluntarily comply with Gov. Tony Evers' Safer at Home order to fight the spread of COVID-19.

The order goes into effect at 8 a.m. today and calls for closing nonessential businesses, banning gatherings of any size and imposing monthlong travel restrictions. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

According to a letter Bygd released to the media:

"During these difficult and unprecedented times, some of our individual rights are certainly being restricted. These rights are being restricted at the recommendation of medical health professionals for the greater good of all, so that others may live," he wrote. 

The sheriff is asking for compliance "so that together we can get through these difficult times. I understand and appreciate the great personal sacrifices being made to accomplish this mission. While this is challenging, I know that by taking this seriously and following the recommendations, we can save lives."

Residents are not under “martial law,” the letter says, adding: "You will not be stopped without reasonable suspicion that a violation of law has occurred. This is the same standard that existed prior to this order. You will not be detained or questioned as to why you are leaving your house or questioned about the purpose of your travels. We will investigate and take enforcement action on blatant violations of this order that put our community at great risk."

Bygd also said his office has received many questions from business owners relating to what an essential business is. For those questions he provided the following link to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. website: wedc.org/essentialbusiness.