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In This Edition:

State ParksA letter to Secretary Preston Cole...

Unemployment: Updates and FAQ's...

Federal Loans: Forgiveness isn't automatic...

Golf: Rules for the course... 

Quick Links: Helpful websites below...

  

A Letter to Secretary Preston Cole

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Yesterday, Rep. Allen sent the following letter to Department of Natural Resources Secretary Preston Cole, advocating for a reasonable re-opening of Wisconsin State Parks. 

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Secretary Cole:

 As you wrote on March 19, "We recognize that spending time outdoors benefits both physical and mental health. Getting outdoors can also help relieve stress, especially during this public health emergency. A quiet walk does wonders to reduce our anxiety…”  You went on to say “The DNR is committed to providing a safe environment for our visitors to enjoy, while protecting the health of our staff."

I wholeheartedly believe in your commitment and ability to fulfill that promise.

Parks were closed a couple of weeks ago in many parts of the state due to litter, failure of guests to adhere to social distancing, and vandalism.  It is incumbent upon us to make modifications to standards of practice in our parks in order to protect the public’s physical health while acknowledging our treasured outdoor spaces provide tremendous mental health benefits which are needed during this stressful time.

There are reasonable ways to accomplish those goals and reopen state parks.  I propose the following:

  1. Reinstate fees for state parks, making visitors stakeholders and offsetting the costs of increased maintenance.
  2. Post signs at park entrances suggesting that visitors may be asked to leave the park if “leave no trace” or social distancing protocols are not followed.
  3. In areas without trash receptacles, post signage reminding visitors to comply with “leave no trace” protocols.
  4. Place signage at congregating areas such as pavilions and picnic areas either closing those areas or reminding visitors of social distancing protocols.
  5. Move staff currently idled or seeing decreased workload to parks seeing a surge in visitors.
  6. Vigorously cite people who litter or commit acts of vandalism.  Reach out to “Friends of the Parks” groups, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and other community organizations and recruit more volunteers for maintenance.

The Administration has flexibility to reassign staff across departments if you feel that the DNR does not have sufficient staff to address our resident’s needs.

Wisconsin residents have been cooped up in their homes since late last fall, and in a more concentrated fashion for about a month.  Reopening our state parks in a safe and responsible manner would be a great service to the people of our state.

I optimistically await your response.

Sincerely,

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Representative Scott Allen

97th Assembly District

Waukesha, Genesee, Mukwonago

 

Waukesha County Park System

While most Southeast Wisconsin State Parks remain closed, Waukesha County Parks are OPEN. Click here to learn about our county park system, and where you can go for a local walk, hike, or bike during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Department of Workforce Development - Updates and New Information

 

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Federal Unemployment Programs

Many questions about the new federal unemployment programs can be answered by going to the DWD website. Each of the new programs is detailed there, and updates will be added as the programs are rolled out.

DWD is now accepting applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). PUA is meant to provide unemployment benefits to many of those who are not eligible for regular Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance (UI). Interested parties can apply here.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program payments (an additional $600 to those receiving regular WI unemployment compensation, PUA, extended benefits, Workshare, and those receiving Trade Adjustment Allowances) will begin to be reflected in weekly claim payments next week.

Waiting Week Payments

2019 Wisconsin Act 185 suspended the Waiting Week. Over the next three days the Department will be paying out 154,332 weeks of benefits to claimants who established an initial claim during or after the week of March 15.

Call Volume/Resource Allocation

The Department continues to receive an unprecedented number of calls related to COVID-19 claims. They received 5.8 million calls last week alone.  Additional staff and technological capacity continue to be added to accommodate the dramatic spike in call volume.

DWD is currently in the process of bringing online an additional, general UI call center with 600 employees and creating a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance-specific call center. 


 

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Forgiveness Isn't Automatic

A friendly reminder from the Wisconsin Bankers Association on Federal loans during COVID-19.

 

One of the biggest advantages to the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is that the loans can be forgiven. What’s often overlooked is that forgiveness isn’t automatic. It is the borrower’s responsibility to follow the criteria of the loan to ensure forgiveness. 

A guide on how to follow that criteria is now available from the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA). The guide has an FAQ, timeline, documentation checklist, and forgiveness calculations to help borrowers stay on track for their loan to be forgiven. 

Here are the top items PPP recipients should keep in mind. 

  • Track your use of the PPP loan funds.  
  • Document and report on your fund use when applying for loan forgiveness. 
  • At least 75% of PPP funds must be used for payroll costs. 
  • 8 weeks after you have received your PPP loan funds, you can submit a forgiveness request to the lender servicing the loan. 
  • Stay in regular contact with your banker. 

The free WBA guide is downloadable as a PDF


 Get Out and Golf! 

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Emergency Order 28, the extension of the "Safer at Home" order, opens up the opportunity for Wisconsinites to golf, with restrictions, during the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

Here are the rules golfers and courses must follow: 

  1. The use of golf carts is prohibited. (Disabled individuals will be allowed to use a cart, but the cart will be limited to one individual. The disabled person must have a handicap placard or flag displayed. Golf carts must be sanitized between uses.) 
  2. Social Distancing Requirements must be observed at all times, unless the players reside in the same living unit or household. 
  3. All tee times and payments must be made in advance online or by phone. 
  4. Clubhouses and pro shops must remain closed. Any restaurant or bar facility may remain open and must comply with all restrictions in Section 13 of EO 28. 
  5. Tee times must be spaced to avoid multiple groups from gathering at any stage of the course. 
  6. All maintenance work and groundskeepers must comply with Section 2 of EO 28. 
  7. Driving ranges and miniature golf must remain closed.  

Quick Links 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Wisconsin Hospitals Association - Healthcare System Updates

COVID-19 State Services

Assembly Republican COVID-19 Resource Page 

Small Business Administration COVID-19 Resources

SBA Wisconsin Office

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Unemployment Insurance

WI DWD Unemployment Insurance Information in Spanish

American Red Cross

Local Dining Options