As many of you know, on July 30, 2020, Governor Evers of Wisconsin issued Executive Order #82 declaring a public health emergency to combat COVID-19, and Emergency Order #1 requiring individuals, with certain exceptions, to wear face coverings if:
- “The individual is indoors or in an enclosed space, other than at a private residence; and
- Another person or persons who are not members of individual’s household or living unit are present in the same room or enclosed space.”
Neither order defines “private residence” and the statutes are of very limited help on whether the common element and/or limited common element of a condominium association is part of a unit owners “private residence.” The manner of condominium ownership does very little to clarify the issue, since the common elements are owned by the various unit owners. Hence, each unit owner has a real property ownership interest in the common element. Regardless of how a court would come down on whether the common element of a condominium is part of a unit owner’s private residence, for now we strongly recommend that all condominium associations in Wisconsin post an appropriate notice to advise residents of the requirement. You may want to have the notice drafted by your attorney and potentially obtain an opinion from your attorney as to what, if any, exceptions apply at your association. The reason for the opinion is that protects your Board if something is in error, since under the statutes your Board can “rely” on it. (See Section 180.0850 Wis. Stat.).