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COVID-19 UPDATES

This page is dedicated to useful information regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic.  I plan to update it often so feel free to bookmark it and check back regularly.  My office and I are getting regular updates and are here to help with any questions you may have.  As always, my virtual door is always open.  You can contact me by emailing me at Rep.August@legis.wi.gov or by calling 608-266-1190 and leaving a detailed message.

 Gov Evers Issues “Safer at Home” Order

Governor Evers has just released the details of his “Safer at Home” emergency order.  

Below is a link to the document:
https://wedc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Health-Order-12-Safer-At-Home.pdf

From my first scan of the document, the order:

  • Directs all individuals to stay at their place of residence, with limited exceptions.
  • All non-essential business and operations must cease (please refer to the order for the defenition of "essesntial")
  • All public and private gatherings of any number of people that are not part of a single household or living unit are prohibited.
  • Duration: The order is effective at 8am Wednesday, March 25, 2020 and will remain in effect until 8am Friday, April 24, 2020.


Finally, the Governor’s office communicated the following:

“After reviewing the order if a business still has a question or is not exempted but believes their business is doing essential work, WEDC will be reviewing those cases. Folks can visit https://wedc.org/essentialbusiness for more information.”

State of Wisconsin COVID-19 Websites

The following websites have links to answer many questions:

https://govstatus.egov.com/wi-covid-19

http://legis.wisconsin.gov/assembly/republicans/covid19

State Updates

 Small Business Assistance

The WEDC has announced a $5 million grant program to assist small businesses dealing with losses as a result of COVID-19.

The grants would be capped at $20k and targeted to businesses of no more than 20 employees.
https://wedc.org/programs-and-resources/small-business-2020/

In anticipation of receiving federal support for small businesses through the Small Business Administration, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has created a checklist of items businesses may utilize to prepare for the application process. These resources can be found here:
https://wedc.org/programs-and-resources/covid-19-response/

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved Wisconsin’s request for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to access low-interest federal disaster loans. Under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, businesses and non-profits may qualify for up to $2 million in loans to cover losses resulting from the pandemic. The interest rate on the loans is 3.75% for for-profit businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits. Participants may be able to extend payments for up to 30 years. Businesses and non-profits can begin their loan applications at: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance

 Internet Service

The state Public Service Commission has announced several Internet Service Providers have offered up free or low-cost internet options amid COVID-19 or will be waiving late fees or cancellations of service.

https://psc.wi.gov/Pages/Programs/BroadbandEmergencyInternetResources.aspx

Like the IRS, Wisconsin Extends Tax Filing Deadline to July 15

Both federal and Wisconsin income tax payment and return due dates are automatically extended to July 15, 2020.  Wisconsin law will automatically extend time and waive interest and penalties for taxpayers due to a presidentially declared disaster.  

 

  • Tax filers do not have to file any extension forms to be eligible for this new due date.
  • There is no limit on the amount of payment to be postponed, and there are no income exclusions.  
  • This applies to individuals, trusts, estates, partnerships, associations, companies or corporations. 
  • This relief is solely for income tax payments, estimated income tax payments and returns due April 15, 2020. 
  • There will be no interest or penalty for the period of April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020.  
  • Interest, penalties, and underpayment interest for failure to make quarterly estimated tax payments with respect to such postponed federal income tax filings and payments will begin to accrue on July 16, 2020.

 
The Wisconsin Department of Revenue notes that most services are found online at www.revenue.wi.gov

DOR Customer service phone numbers:  

  • Individuals: (608) 266‑2486
  • Businesses: (608) 266-2776

 Federal Updates

 President Trump signed legislation into law to provide paid sick leave and free testing for Americans.

o At varying levels, it provides paid time off for those who have COVID-19 or those that are caring for family members with COVID.

o The legislation also would cover the cost of testing for COVID- 19 moving forward.


Governor Evers Implements New “Mass Gathering” Rules; Closes all Restaurants and Bars

Governor Evers has directed the Department of Health Services via emergency order to limit gatherings to less than 10 people as of 5pm March 17, to slow the spread of COVID-19, along with other guidelines affecting schools, bars, restaurants, and more.

Read the Governor’s release here: http://www.thewheelerreport.com/wheeler_docs/files/031720evers.pdf

Read the language of the emergency order here: https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/WIGOV/2020/03/17/file_attachments/1403535/Gov.%20Evers_DHS%20order_3.17.20.pdf

Exceptions: In summary, Evers’ order directs no gatherings of 10 people or more, with the following exceptions: Transportation, educational institutions, child care, hotels, military, law enforcement, food pantries, hospitals, long-term care facilities, grocery stores, convenience stores, utility facilities, job centers, and courts.

Mass Gatherings

Evers updated his previous order on mass gatherings to clarify and extend further protections. They include:

  • Restaurants and bars are to be treated the same – bars will be able to have carryout sales of alcohol and food;
  • Hair salons, day spas, nail salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, body art establishments and tanning facilities must close by 5PM on March 20th;
  • Media and news orgs can remain open;
  • Laundromats may remain open;
  • Banks, credit unions and other financial institutions may remain open and employ social distancing practices;
  • All forms of food delivery systems – from farms to stores – remain open;
  • Cafeterias in healthcare facilities may remain open to serve healthcare workers;
  • All parts of our transportation system can continue.


All restaurants and bars are to close dining areas effective at 5pm , March 17, 2020. Take-out and delivery are still permissible.

This is an especially hard time for local restaurants and food establishments. My office is working with our area chambers of commerce to compile a list of establishments that will be offering takeout or delivery. I encourage you to call your favorite place to grab a bite to eat and see if you can put in an order or even purchase gift cards for the future.

Click Here for a list of restaurants that are open.

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Schools to Remain Closed Indefinitely


Governor Evers has directed DHS to mandate a statewide closure of all K-12 schools. All schools will be closed no later than Wednesday, March 18th, and will remain closed through the duration of the public health emergency.

The previous school closure deadline of April 6th has been changed. The state-wide school closure will remain in place for the duration of the public health emergency (end date TBD).


Spring Election Day, April 7

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Spring Election Day is still April 7th. There are no plans to modify or move that date.

You can go to myvotewi.gov to request an absentee ballot online for the April 7th election. If you are already registered, you have until April 2 to request an absentee ballot.

https://myvotewi.gov

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Below is a full list of dates and deadlines from the Wisconsin Elections Commission:

  • You must be registered to vote to request an absentee ballot.
  • Wednesday, March 18, is the deadline to register online to vote or to register by mail to vote.
  • Starting March 19, registration is still available in person at your municipal clerk's office until the Friday before the election and on Election Day at the polling place.
  • Voters should request an absentee ballot as soon as possible for April 7. The deadline is April 2, but do not wait!
  • Request your absentee ballot online at https://myvote.wi.gov

For a full detailed list of deadlines and information, visit the following link and scroll down to April 7th heading: https://myvote.wi.gov/en-us/VoterDeadlines

Internet Service

The state Public Service Commission has announced several Internet Service Providers have offered up free or low-cost internet options amid COVID-19 or will be waiving late fees or cancellations of service.
https://psc.wi.gov/Pages/Programs/BroadbandEmergencyInternetResources.aspx

Unemployment

Governor Evers waived the work search requirement that is in place for those seeking to receive unemployment benefits (UI). Information relating to unemployment benefits and COVID-19 can be found on the Dept. of Workforce Development’s informational page. Applicants are encouraged to apply for benefits online.
https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/covid19/public/ui.htm

University System

UW System President Cross announced that all UW institutions will be refunding prorated charges for housing and dinning for the remainder of the spring semester.

DNR

The Dept. of Natural Resources says they will keep state parks and trails open until further notice.

Fuel Supply

The Dept. of Ag and Consumer Protection this afternoon released news that the state’s fuel supply remains in stable condition.

Federal Updates



In addition to the information below, US Senator Ron Johnson has a webpage dedicated to Assistance for Small Businesses Affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic:
https://www.ronjohnson.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/coronavirus

Emergency Legislation

President Trump signed legislation into law to provide paid sick leave and free testing for Americans. Among other things, the bill does the following: At varying levels, it provides paid time off for those who have COVID-19 or those that are caring for family members with COVID; it would cover the cost of testing for COVID- 19 moving forward.

Borders Closed

Homeland Security today announced that new travel restrictions will go into effect on March 21 to restrict all non-essential travel across the US-Canadian border. A similar agreement was also announced today between the US and Mexico.

Federal Tax Deadline Extended

The Treasury Dept. today announced that it is delaying the deadline for filing federal returns from April 15 to July 15.

Defense Production Act

When asked today during a White House press briefing, the President indicated that he has invoked the Defense Production Act. The act gives the federal government broad authority to partner with private sector companies to meet the urgent needs of national defense. This will help to speed up and expand the supply of resources for the country, particularly related to medical supplies.

 

 

Flatten the Curve

The key in a situation like this is how fast the virus spreads. Although the health risk is very low to most of the population, it is still important to slow the spread of the virus, thereby reducing the strain on our health care system. Epidemiologists call this strategy of preventing a huge spike in cases “flattening the curve.” One key strategy is “social distancing,” which is aimed at slowing the spread. The graph below illustrates how we can reduce the strain on our health care system.

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I encourage everyone to continue to rely on accurate information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the following website: coronavirus.gov.

The CDC says the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus, which is spread primarily from person-to-person. To protect yourself and others, here are some simple tips to follow:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid close contact
  • Stay home if you're sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Wear a face mask if you're sick
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces


How Soap Works

Washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is an effective way to destroy and dislodge many microbes, including the new coronavirus. It is important to note this is true with any soap, not just antibacterial. Washing with soap is even more effective than using hand sanitizer alone. Please note the graphic below, courtesy of the New York Times.

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Medical College of WI Fact Sheet

https://www.mcw.edu/covid-19

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White House’s 15 Days to Slow the Spread

Below is a graphic provided by the White House and CDC as part of the “15 Days to Slow the Spread” campaign.

As always, bookmark the following website for regular national updates from the CDC: http://coronavirus.gov 

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 Email: Rep.August@legis.wisconsin.gov          Phone: (608) 266 - 1190         Address: P.O. Box 8952 Madison, WI 53708