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COVID-19 Update #11

 

Dear Friends & Neighbors,

In my last e-update, I provided information on the extended Safer at Home order and Governor Evers’ plan for safely reopening our state. The criteria in the plan include expanded contact tracing in order to monitor contacts of infected people and notify them of their exposure; access to more testing and labs; access to more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and supplies; increased hospital capacity; and a reduction in the number of cases. As our state begins to hit these benchmarks, the Safer at Home order will be dialed back.

Yesterday, Governor Evers announced a turn of the dial. To provide opportunities for more businesses to responsibly reopen, the Governor expanded allowable operations for non-essential businesses. The following businesses will be permitted to operate as long as payments are completed online or over the phone, proper cleaning procedures are in place, and the service can be provided by one person.

  • Dog groomers
  • Repair services
  • Upholstery businesses
  • Taxidermy businesses
  • Outdoor recreational rental services
  • Automatic or self-service car washes

This turn of the dial will go into effect tomorrow (Wednesday) at 8am. You can read the order HERE, and Frequently Asked Questions HERE. If you don’t know if your business is allowed to operate or what services you can provide, you can fill out the form on the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation website HERE (scroll to the bottom of the page). WEDC reviews each inquiry on a case-by-case basis and will provide you with a formal opinion.

 

While our state will not go back to business as usual all at once, I am supportive of a responsible and safe phased reopening of businesses, schools, and other operations. I remain committed to ensuring Wisconsin is doing everything possible to meet the necessary criteria. The sacrifices we continue to make to stay home and practice physical distancing will help us defeat this virus faster and allow us to fully reopen our economy sooner.

In this edition of my e-update, I discuss my virtual office hours tomorrow, tax relief for businesses, the Paycheck Protection Program, state parks reopening, Oshkosh Area School District free meal program updates, UW Oshkosh furlough updates, and more.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns regarding COVID-19, you can reach out to my Madison office at 608-266-2254, my home at 920-232-0805, or my email at Rep.Hintz@legis.wisconsin.gov.  

 

Sincerely, 

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Virtual Office Hours

Tomorrow (Wednesday) I will be holding virtual office hours at 1pm on Facebook Live. I will provide updates and answer questions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. You can submit a question until 10am HERE. To join, visit my legislative Facebook page HERE. I look forward to talking with you soon.

 

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Tax Relief for Businesses

Businesses can request tax relief from the Department of Revenue. The following taxes are included: withholding, state and county sales tax, excise tax, local expo district tax, premier resort area tax, limousine tax, rental car tax, police and fire protection fee, and dry cleaning licensing fees. Businesses can fill out the COVID-19 Tax Relief form HERE

 

New Funding for Paycheck Protection Program

Last week, President Trump signed another COVID-19 rescue package into law. This package includes $310 billion in additional funds for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Due to the high demand, the first round of funds for PPP was exhausted in just two weeks.

PPP is a loan through the Small Business Association (SBA) that provides a direct incentive for small businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The loan will be forgiven if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. 

You can apply for PPP through certain lenders — under the new legislation, the number of eligible lenders has increased. You should consult with your local lender to see if they are participating in the program. If you have already started the PPP application process with a lender, you should not have to restart the process. However, you should contact your lender to be safe. 

For additional questions on PPP, you can visit the SBA website HERE.

 

34 State Parks to Reopen

On Friday, May 1, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will reopen 34 state parks and forests under special conditions. The new conditions will minimize overcrowding, enforce social distancing requirements, and promote a safe and enjoyable experience for staff and visitors. Below are a few of the changes that will be implemented: 

  • An annual park sticker and/or trail pass will be required to visit state parks and trails. 
  • State parks and forests will be open from 6am to 7pm daily.
  • Properties will be closed to the public every Wednesday for maintenance and upkeep.
  • At times, many properties will reach their predetermined safety capacity. When this happens, visitors may be denied entry to the park until existing visitors leave. Visitors are encouraged to visit during non-peak hours (before 10am and after 4pm).
  • Restrooms at all properties will be closed.
  • Hunting and fishing will be allowed on properties in accordance with the season structure and hours.
  • DNR boat launches are open at properties.
  • All linear/rail-trails are open to the public, which includes ATV trails.
  • Camping, group camps, and shelters will remain closed until May 26.

For specific details on the reopening of state parks, visit the DNR website HERE.

 

OASD Free Meals Program Update

Earlier this week, the Oshkosh Area School District (OASD) instituted a new process for their free meals program. Moving forward, they will distribute free meals on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. On Mondays and Wednesdays, students and families can receive two days’ worth of meals. On Fridays, students and families can receive three days’ worth of meals. You can read more about this change, find distribution sites, and view the menu HERE.

 

UW Oshkosh Furlough Updates

In my last e-update, I discussed the difficult decision UW Oshkosh made to furlough some of their employees. Below is additional information on the changes UWO will be making due to their financial challenges, effective May 2020: 

  • The Chancellor and Vice Chancellors will take a 15 percent pay cut. 
  • Approximately 180 employees will be on continuous furlough, with the furloughs extending up to 90 working days through August 31. 
  • Remaining staff will be furloughed two days per month. 
  • Nine-month employees will be notified in late summer about intermittent furloughs. 

You can read more about these plans HERE

 

HealthWatch Wisconsin Videos

HealthWatch Wisconsin has put together a series of helpful videos on basic needs during COVID-19. The short videos range from understanding the FoodShare changes to learning about the new guidance on debt collection practices. Below are a few of their most useful videos:

 

Unemployment Benefit Changes

Those who do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance, including people who are self-employed or gig workers, can now apply for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance through the Department of Workforce Development (DWD). You can learn more about this assistance and apply HERE

 

This week, DWD will begin providing the additional $600 per week benefit to claimants. This benefit will be retroactive to the week ending on April 4. Claimants do not need to take action to receive this benefit. You can read more about the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation HERE

 

The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which will add 13 weeks on to regular unemployment insurance, will be implemented soon. You check for updates HERE.

 

Having Trouble Receiving Unemployment Benefits? 

If it has been at least three weeks since you submitted your application and you have not received your benefits, my office may be able to help you. 

*Please note: If your claim is "pending", it means there are eligibility issues that require further information or investigation. You do not need to take further action at this time unless DWD tells you otherwise. Typically, each investigation will take no longer than 28 days. For cases that are "pending", my office is unable to assist.

If you are experiencing a different issue with your application, please email Rep.Hintz@legis.wisconsin.gov with the following information: 

  • Full name 
  • Phone number
  • Issue that needs to be resolved 
  • Status of your application
    • Did you apply online?
    • What date did you submit it?

My staff will send this information to DWD and request that they promptly look into your case. I understand that this is a difficult financial time for many, and I am committed to helping you receive your benefits in a timely manner.

 

Winnebago County Data 

As of today, 45 people in Winnebago County have tested positive for COVID-19 and one person has passed away. For the most up-to-date information on confirmed cases in our community, visit the Winnebago County Health Department's COVID-19 webpage HERE

 

COVID-19 Situational Awareness Update Tool

The COVID-19 Situational Awareness Update Tool was developed by the Wisconsin Hospital Association Information Center (WHAIC) in collaboration with the Department of Health Services (DHS). The tool includes information on cases per 1,000 people, total hospital admissions, number of hospitals with 7 days or less Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), positive COVID-19 cases identified, deaths, bed count, and ventilator availability. You can access this information HERE.

 

Resource Links

 
 If you have any comments regarding the subject of this E-Newsletter, please feel free to contact me.   


Rep. Hintz
State Capitol, Room #201 W
PO Box 8952
Madison, WI 53708

Toll-Free (888) 555-1234 or (608) 555-1234
Rep.Hintz@legis.wisconsin.gov|