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COVID-19 E-Update #8

April 21, 2020

Dear Neighbors, 

Much has changed since I last wrote to you. Over the last week, we have seen the announcement of the “Badger Bounce Back” plan, Governor Tony Evers’ roadmap to safely reopening our economy in Wisconsin, along with an extension of the Safer at Home order through late May. I know that another month of staying Safer at Home is not easy for our community, but if we do this right, we will be able to safely open things faster.

Here are a few key highlights -- I’ll do a deeper dive below!

Starting next week, the extended order includes a number of changes, including allowances for non-essential businesses to resume more activities. Most notably, this order closes all public and private schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. You can read the full order here and find FAQs about the order here.

Governor Evers also laid out a roadmap to a slow reopening of our economy in the “Badger Bounce Back” plan, along with DHS Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation CEO Missy Hughes. Lifting restrictions will take place gradually over time until a vaccine and treatment are widely available, but this plan allows us to prepare in three key areas to protect public health: 

  • A massive increase in testing capacity;
  • A sufficient and steady supply of personal protective equipment (PPE); and
  • An increase in trained public health personnel to conduct contact tracing activities.

As of today, 4,620 people in Wisconsin have tested positive for COVID-19. That’s an increase in 121 new cases since yesterday. COVID-19 hospitalizations have reached 1,252 cases, and 242 people have died as the result of the virus. We need to work together and continue social distancing and Safer at Home in the coming weeks, so we can continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin.

I want to share, as always, a huge thank you to all of our healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential workers who are caring for our neighbors and keeping our community running through this crisis. I cannot thank you enough for your work.

If you have any questions, would like more information, or need assistance navigating state government, you can always reach out to my office by phone at (608) 266-0634 or via email at rep.neubauer@legis.wisconsin.gov (or just reply to this email!) While we are practicing social distancing and working from home, my staff and I are still answering the phone, checking email, and working with state and local agencies every weekday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


In Solidarity,

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Greta Neubauer

State Representative

66th Assembly District



Important Links for COVID-19 Information: 

  • The Governor's office has launched a website with information and resources throughout the state government. You can visit it HERE.
  • The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has a website tracking COVID-19 in Wisconsin, including health-related resources from the CDC. This website is updated daily by 2:00 p.m. You can visit it HERE.
  • The City and County of Racine have launched COVID-19/Coronavirus websites with local information and resources. You can find Racine County’s website HERE, including daily updates from the Joint Information Center. The City of Racine’s website is available HERE.
  • This is a non-exhaustive list of resources and updates --  if you don’t find what you’re looking for here, you can find information for non-medical services online at 211 Wisconsin, dial 211 on your phone, or text your ZIP code to 898211.  
"Badger Bounce Back" Plan
to Reopen Wisconsin Announced 

On Monday, April 20, Governor Evers announced the “Badger Bounce Back,” a roadmap to safely reopen Wisconsin. This plan lays out a phased approach to protect public health and ramp up the activities our businesses can perform, on top of a strong foundation of expanded testing, tracing, and tracking of new COVID-19 cases as they occur. 

This plan aligns with the federal guidelines for reopening, which begin when a state reaches fourteen (14) straight days of declining COVID-19 cases. Over the coming month, we have time to prepare for reopening with that milestone, including with public-private partnerships to: 

  • Increase lab capacity and testing
  • Increase contact tracing, including support for isolation and quarantine
  • Track the spread of COVID-19
  • Increase health care systems capacity
  • Procure more personal protective equipment (PPE)

Even when Wisconsin begins a phased re-opening, we will likely not not have a vaccine or an effective treatment for COVID-19. This means that we all must continue to practice social distancing and follow CDC recommendations, including wearing masks if possible. (For information on how to make your own mask at home, check out the links in the Recaps section!)

You can read more about the Badger Bounce Back plan and its phases HERE. You can read more about the federal guidelines for states to reopen HERE.

Safer at Home Extended
to May 26, 2020

Last Thursday,Governor Evers and Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm announced that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services has extended the Safer at Home order until May 26th. 

This order does include a number of changes, including allowances for non-essential businesses to resume more activities. Most notably, this order closes all public and private schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. 

The Evers Administration is working with public resources and private businesses to achieve the necessary steps to begin reopening, but we will need the coming weeks in order to ensure we are ready to reopen. 

What’s new in this Safer at Home Order that was not in the first order?

Most of the order remains the same, and it is structured in the same way. The changes are designed to ensure safety and compliance, while also allowing certain activities to start up again. The changes in this order include:

  1. Schools: Public and private K-12 schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
  2. Public libraries: Libraries may provide curb-side pick-up of books and other library materials.
  3. Golf courses: Golf courses may open, with restrictions including scheduling and paying for tee times online or by phone only. Clubhouses and pro shops must remain closed.
  4. Local parks and open space: Local health officials may close public parks and open spaces if it becomes too difficult to ensure social distancing or the areas are being mistreated.
  5. Safe business practices for Essential Businesses and Operations: Essential Businesses and Operations must increase cleaning and disinfection practices, ensure that only necessary works are present, and adopt policies to prevent workers exposed to COVID-19 or symptomatic workers from coming to work.
  6. Safe business practices for retailers that are Essential Businesses and Operations: Retail stores that remain open to the public as Essential Businesses and Operations must limit the number of people in the store at one time, must provide proper spacing for people waiting to enter, and large stores must offer at least two hours per week of dedicated shopping time for vulnerable populations.
  7. Non-essential businesses: Non-essential businesses can do more things as Minimum Basic Operations, including deliveries, mailings, and curb-side pick-up. Non-essential businesses must notify workers of whether they are necessary for the Minimum Basic Operations.
  8. Arts and craft stores: Arts and craft stores may offer expanded curb-side pick of materials necessary to make face masks or other personal protective equipment (PPE).
  9. Supply chain: Essential Businesses and Operations that are essential because they supply, manufacture, or distribute goods and services to other Essential Businesses and Operations can only continue operations that are necessary to those businesses they supply. All other operations must continue as Minimum Basic Operations.
  10. Aesthetic or optional exterior work: Aesthetic or optional exterior lawn care or construction is allowed, so long as it can be done by one person.
  11. Travel: People are strongly encouraged to stay close to home, not travel to second homes or cabins, and not travel out of state if it is not necessary.
  12. Tribal Nations: Tribal Nations are sovereign over their territory and can impose their own restrictions. Non-tribal members should be respectful of and avoid non-essential travel to Tribal territory. Local government must coordinate, collaborate, and share information with Tribal Nations.
  13. Duration: The changes in this order go into effect on April 24. The order will remain in effect until 8:00 a.m. on May 26, 2020.

You can read the full order here and find FAQs about the order here.

Pandemic Unemployment Coverage for

Self-Employed Workers & Independent Contractors 

The Department of Workforce Development’s application system is now live for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), the unemployment insurance program created by the federal CARES Act. you can fill out your application HERE: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/pua/.

PUA is a federal benefit available to workers who are unable to work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and do not qualify for Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI).

Workers who may qualify for PUA include:

  • Independent contractors
  • Self-employed workers
  • Non-profit employees
  • Part-time workers who do not have enough work history to be eligible for a claim

Claimants under Pandemic Unemployment Assistance are eligible for up to 39 weeks of benefits at the following rates: 

Payment Amount:

    • Minimum weekly benefit amount: $163.
    • Maximum weekly benefit amount: $370.
  • Benefit Amount:
    • 1% of 2019 net income; subject to PUA minimum and maximum.
  • Duration of PUA Benefits (up to 39 weeks):
    • First Payable Week: Retroactive to week ending February 8, 2020 (or the first week an individual is out of work due to COVID-19, whichever is later).
    • Last Payable Week: Week ending December 26, 2020.

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) will also begin in Wisconsin during the week of April 26, 2020.

Unemployment claimants will be eligible for the additional $600 per week, added directly into their unemployment benefits without any additional action. These payments will be retroactive to April 4, 2020, and will continue for those receiving unemployment benefits through July 25, 2020. For more information, visit this web page: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/fpuc/.

If you have any other questions or need help with this or any other state government issue, always feel free to reach out! We’re happy to help wherever we can.

Safer Shopping During COVID-19

When you head to the store next, there are several things you can do to minimize your potential exposure to COVID-19. The Department of Health Services (DHS) recommends that you: 

  • Watch what you touch 
    • Disinfect cart and basket handles 
    • Wash food containers, produce, etc. when you get home
  • Practice personal hygiene 
    • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds 
    • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze 
    • Wear a face covering (see below for how to make your own!)
  • Keep 6 feet away from other people 

Remember, when you do these things you are being considerate of others and playing your role in slowing down the spread of this virus. You can read more about DHS's shopping tips HERE. ​

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Recaps and Reminders


Make Your Own Face Mask!

There are a number of ways to make cloth masks for personal use. You can find patterns and how-to instructions HERE for sewn masks, no-sew t-shirt masks, filtered bandanna masks, and more.

Racine County’s Coronavirus homepage also has information for people looking to sew homemade masks to donate to those in need in our community, including first responders and healthcare workers, including a dedicated page that includes a map of drop-off locations and info on how to sew facemasks. 


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Complete the Census Today!

Have you completed the Census yet? The Census takes place every ten years, and the results impact federal funding for critical programs in Racine and in Wisconsin. The results also impact our representation in Congress and the services our state can receive!

It's quick and easy to respond to the 2020 Census online at my2020census.gov. It took me about five minutes to complete! You don't need to be a citizen -- you just need to be a member of our community. Let's all be counted together.

Racine YMCA Childcare for Essential Workers

The Racine Family YMCA is providing childcare at both the Sealed Air Family YMCA and the George Bray Neighborhood YMCA for children of essential employees, including workers at grocery stores and food production, pharmacies, health care, utilities, shipping, banking, other governmental services, law enforcement and emergency personnel. 

The Y will serve kids from kindergarten through grade 6, ages 5-12. The cost is $30 for members or $45 for the general public, per day. Register online at apm.activecommunities.com/racinefamilyYMCA, and search “Emergency Child Care,” or call Katie Svendsen at 262-898-4558. 

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Red Cross: Blood Donors Needed

The Red Cross needs your help! With the advance of COVID-19, the American Red Cross is seeing a major shortage of blood donations. People who are healthy and feeling well are encouraged to make an appointment to donate blood as soon as possible, so we do not have a shortage as our neighbors go to the hospital for COVID-19 and other medical treatment. Please make an appointment by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, or visiting http://RedCrossBlood.org. 


COVID-19 Aid for Undocumented Workers 

The Racine Interfaith Coalition (RIC) has established Racine Immigrant Support, a mutual aid fund for undocumented workers and their families. This fund was established to help support our undocumented community members through this crisis.

If you are an undocumented member of the Southeast Wisconsin community who needs assistance, please contact Jessica Diaz at (262) 238-3330 or Maria Morales at (262) 234-0652. If you would like to find out more about the fund, you can visit the website HERE.

For a round-up of resources available to Wisconsin immigrants and their families, please Voces de la Frontera’s website HERE

En Espanõl:

Es un tiempo dificil aqui en Racine. Se que muchos de ustedes están luchando para llegar al fin de mes.

Esto es especialmente cierto para los miembros indocumentados de nuestra comunidad. Personas indocumentadas tienen más probabilidad de ser trabajadores en riesgo y no pueden recibir el apoyo del gobierno que el resto del estado va a recibir, incluyendo el cheque de estímulo por parte del congreso.

Si necesita pedir recursos, por favor llamele a Jessica Diaz al (262) 238-3330 o Maria Morales al (262) 234-0652.

Estoy muy agradecida con María, quien me llamó hace unas semanas para comenzar a hablar sobre cómo podemos apoyar a nuestros vecinos indocumentados, y también con la Coalición Interreligiosa Racine (RIC), que se unió de manera importante para coordinar este fondo.