11/24/1918: Board of Health Lifts Lid to Let Out Schools, Churches, and Bottles: Theatres Remain Closed and Rule Forbidding Special Sales by Stores is Unchanged



11/24/1918: Board of Health Lifts Lid to Let Out Schools, Churches, and Bottles: Theatres Remain Closed and Rule Forbidding Special Sales by Stores is Unchanged


The Eau Claire Leader


Newspaper Archives


November 24, 1918


Eau Claire, Wi


Newspaper article detailing the changes on the gathering ban in Eau Claire.




Public domain. For more information contact Special Collections and Archives, McIntyre Library, UW-Eau Claire.


The Eau Claire Leader


"The flu lid was pried up up a trifle by the board of health last night, but the nails left in preliminary to lifting it off or hammering it down at the end of another week.

Here are the changes in the rules:

1. Churches may open for one service daily, beginning today. Sunday schools may meet and Thanksgiving services may be held in separate churches, but not he usual Thanksgiving union service in the Grand Opera house.

2. All schools may open Tuesday, carefully supervised by nurses, who will send home any pupil appearing ill.

3. Saloons may re-open Monday, but may sell packages only. No liquor may be consumed on the premises. Sale of beer on draft is not allowed. The restrictions as to loitering in saloons are no changed.

4. It is earnestly requested that the clerks in business places wear masks, but it will not be compulsory.

All former orders of the board of health remain unrevoked, it was announced. These include the following inhibitions:

Stores are not permitted to hold or advertise special sales.

Theatres must remain closed.
Dances are forbidden.

Clubs and the Y. M. C. A. are closed except for the accommodation of roomers and persons to whom meals are served. The Y. M. C. A. may have handball games with not to exceed four people playing.

Pool and billiards are forbidden.

The public library must remain closed.

Lodge and club meetings are forbidden.

Soda fountains and ice cream parlors must remain closed.

"The limited opening is a trial measure," a member of the board said to a newspaper representative at the close of the meeting. "Eventual lifting of the ban will depend upon conditions that follow. It is incumbent on every citizen to observe all precautions to prevent further spread of the disease. The board especially urges that when one in a family falls ill of influenza he or she go to the city isolation hospital as a protection against infection of the rest of hte household. All the members of the board unite in an expression of appreciation for the cordial and conscientious co-operation of the public hitherto."

Eighty Cases last Week.
Eighty cases of influenza were recorded during the week just closed with one death. The numbers of cases recorded since the week ending Oct. [illegible number] are by wees: 36, 65, 82, 77, 83, and 86, making a total of 506, of which seven, including one yesterday, have resulted in deaths.

Meeting of Those Affected.
The meeting of the health board, at which the restrictions on gatherings were revised, followed a joint meeting of the board of health, city council, and representatives of various interests affected by the lid held at the council chamber yesterday afternoon. No indication of what changes in the regulations, if any, were to be made was given during this meeting. Twenty-nine were present. Mayor Barron opened the meeting with a brief address declaring the desire of the board of health and council to hear opinions on what procedure should be taken. Councilman W. H. Barnes, president of the board of health, then took charge of the meeting.

Consideration for the Welfare of the city as a whole was the keynote of all speakers.

Statistics of the progress of influenza here during the past six weeks and the status of health conditions in neighboring towns were briefly reviewed by Miss Pearl Elkerton of the office of the board of health. She stated that emergency calls had been received from several small towns in the neighborhood. The flu record for Eau Claire was read.

Dr. I . F. THOMPSON, from his experience as an officer of the state board of health, cited various instances of Wisconsin towns which had closed, opened, and reclosed.

"The problem of opening or closing must be determined by each city for itself," he concluded. "If the disease can be stretched over a long period there will be few deaths. Closing has spread out the number of cases so that few have been severe."

Others spoke in substance as follows:

DR. E. S. HAYES: "There should be no personal element in the discussion. The idea is to get the facts and determine the best thing in the matter of assenting without complaints to the closing order Eau Claire has done herself proud. The problem is when to open. The epidemic is serious. If it were cholera there would be a panic. We are fortunate in having few pneumonias and few deaths. As to opening, we cannot foretell conditions. If we can save life or make sickness less severe I am sure all of us are glad to shut down, regardless of hurts. The board of health has no personal interest."

A Merchant's View.
AUGUST GESKE of Wm. Samuelson Dry Goods Co.: Congestion? They are not congested at Fall Creek or Altoona, but they have the flue[sic] and lots of it. They don't lay it to stores. It hurts business to close, especially at this season. We want to help, but would it be worse if we opened? Eau Claire people go to Chippewa Falls to attend the movies. We have 32 girls and no cases in our store. My idea is to quarantine families, not to allow them to run around and spread the disease. The supposition outside is that Eau Claire is entirely closed."

Clergy Suggest One Service.
REV. E. E. HORTH representing the Ministerial Association.: The question is just how infection spreads. Pastors have been making calls. They go into houses where influenza exists, exposing themselves and their families. Could we not isolate more by better quarantine of families? As far as churches are concerned, the majority of ministers desire to abide by the decisions of the board of health. If it is a matter of saving life and health, we desire to put up with the lack of services. It is question if some test could not be made, as limiting the matter of opening churches to one service on Sunday or one prayer meeting. Trying this for a season would be satisfactory to the ministerial association.

Schools Believed Safe.
PRES. H. A. SCHOFIELD of the state normal school.: The normal is struggling under the misfortune of starting in war time with competition for students. Of the other normal schools in the state Milwaukee was not closed though the town was. Whitewater closed for a week, Platteville not at all, Oshkosh not till the other day, Superior, Stevens Point, River Falls, and Eau Claire are closed. We wish to do all we can to help. I would like to open Dec. 2 without the model school, with masks, doctors and nurses and send home any student who seems ill.

Public Schools.
W. A. CLARK, superintendent of public schools: Teachers and parents of pupils are anxious to get to work. I don't pretend to be able to tell the board of health what to do. The school buildings are well ventilated. Many believe the pupils would be better off at school. The school nurse makes each school every day. We might be able to get another nurse or two. I have heard it said influenza is not a 'kid disease.' We are anxious to get back, but not at the price of safety. i believe the schools can be run as safely as any business. i think children are safer in schools than in many other places.

ALBERT NELSON, president of school board: Schools are necessary and ought, in my opinion, to be the first to open. The taxpayers are under a heavy expense for idle schools.

Theaters Hard Hit.
B. J. BOSTWICK, theatre managed: "We are hit harder than the majority. We don't wish to stay closed longer than necessary. If it will stamp out the flu we wish to stay closed, but think we are entitled to public co-operation. We have watched the surrounding territory and only one city over 10,000 except Superior is now closed in the state. Many towns with more cases are open. If all restrictions were used and houses quarantined and all worked together we could open up. We will be glad to use our men to placard houses or do anything to stamp out flu."

WILLIAM RYDELL, representing the liquor interests, said he believe quarantine of houses was the only way to stamp out the flu and do justice to others.

G. J. NASH, Eau Claire Book and Stationary Co.: "Eau Claire closed and Chippewa Falls open and going back and forth does not help check disease. This month and next are the big months of our retail trade."

Mr. Schofield questioned the recommendation of the state board of health that Eau Claire should wait till four cases a day was reached before opening when Madison, with many more, had opened at the time of the message.

MRS. A. H. SHOEMAKER, representing the woman's club, commended the action of the board of health. She said that all the Woman's Club had asked was that no business be privileged.

LEONARD LOKEN, telegraph school, spoke of his business losses, of the excellent ventilation and comparatively small classes in his institution.

MISS LAURA OLSON, librarian of the public library, stated that as far as she could learn no infection had ever been traced to library books.

Poor Aid Poorer.
MISS ELLEN F. MARCH spoke of the suffering and loss caused among the families aided by the Associated Charities since the epidemic of influenza. The visiting nurse had been so far able to care for the sick with the help of workers from the list of the Associated Charities. Miss Marsh said, "Our help has come in every case from our own poor. Old women have cared for babies, done washings, and tended the sick when no one else dared or could."

SEVERN MELBY urged the early opening of the Y.M.C.A.

DR. J. F. FARR said a man could be hit in two spots, in the pocketbook and by a death in his family. He discussed the difficulties of quarantine, saying that neither the time of incubation, duration, nor contagion of influenza was accurately known. The hardship wrought by shutting up the households, he said, would exceed the losses of all local business for ten months. The families would have to be cared for. He agreed the measures taken by the health board were not expected to stop the disease, but to render it so gradual in its development that it could be handled. The city isolation hospital, he said, had saved the community many cases by placing members of households where their infection would not be communicated and where it was possible to secure nurses' care.

The meeting adjourned at 6 o'clock. It had convened at 4:20.

New Tags

I agree with terms of use and I accept to free my contribution under the licence CC BY-SA.