Updates from the State Senate - March 24, 2020

The photo above was taken along the Wolf River.


Robert Cowles


Serving Wisconsin's 2nd Senate District








Dear Friends and Neighbors,


Following-up on yesterday’s e-newsletter, I’m providing a much shorter version today with details on the recently released ‘safer-at-home’ order that Governor Evers issued today. My phone and email inbox have been busy with questions about this order, and I’m doing my best to provide responses to everyone as we gather this information from the Administration.


I want to again encourage you to visit this state website which provides more information on each state agency’s role in this outbreak.



Safer-at-Home Order


The ‘safer-at-home’ order will be in-effect starting tomorrow, Wednesday, March 25th at 8am and will last until April 24th at 8am unless a superseding order is released prior to that date. Under this order, Wisconsin residents are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible, but residents will still be able to:

  • Perform tasks essential to maintain health and safety, such as obtaining medicine or seeing a doctor;

  • Get necessary services or supplies for themselves, their family, or their household, such as getting food and supplies, pet food, and other supplies necessary for staying at home;

  • Spend time outdoors, while maintaining social distancing, including spending time in a local park, State Park, or just going for a walk around the neighborhood, and;

  • Assist a family member in another household, including older adults, minors, dependents, and people with disabilities or other vulnerable persons.


Residents are instructed by the order to not invite others into their homes at this time, and when spending time outdoors, they should maintain social distancing from anyone who’s not a member of their household. Additionally, the order restricts travel to only essential travel as defined in the order.


Essential business operations, as defined in the order and on the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation's (WEDC) website, may continue, but in-person non-essential business operations are required to cease with the exception of minimum basic operations, as defined on page three of the order, and operations consisting of employees working from home.


My overview is simply a condensed version of the ‘safer-at-home’ order, which is why I’d encourage you to review the full 16-page order issued by Governor Evers today on his website. Businesses and employees with questions about whether their establishment is essential, and what limitations may exist on businesses that do remain open, can be found on the WEDC’s website. Additionally, this website has a form that provides an option for businesses to ask for an interpretation on whether their business can continue operating under this order.


Finally, as many of you already are, please continue tuning in to your local news coverage to learn more about how this order will be implemented in your community and what steps you should take to comply. If you have any further questions on the order or other COVID-19 related issues, please contact my office.



State Parks


Today, the ‘safer-at-home’ order reminded everyone that just because we’re practicing social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy Wisconsin’s great outdoors (while still practicing social distancing and good hygiene, of course). The State Parks System, run by the Department of Natural Resources, quickly reacted and encouraged people to get outdoors by waiving all admission fees at State Parks.


While State Parks and Forests will remain open, if you take a drive to one of these properties, you will notice some changes. This includes the closure of all park offices, visitor centers, and non-essential buildings for the duration of the public health emergency. Bathrooms will remain open, but may be closed if they are unable to keep up with a regular cleaning schedule. Additionally, all campsites are closed for the time being, with refunds being issued to customers with reservations, and no new reservations will be accepted until further notice.





I’m sure you’ve heard this enough recently (including in my previous e-newsletters), but according to state and federal health officials, actions you can easily work into your daily routine will help to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and use hand sanitizer between hand washings

  • Avoid close contact with others, even if they’re not currently ill (known as ‘social distancing’)

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

  • Stay home, especially if you’re sick or if you may have a compromised immune system

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands

  • Clean and disinfect frequently handled objects and touched surfaces (such as cell phones)

  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask, meaning you should only use one under limited circumstances unless you’re a health care professional to avoid scarcity


To understand the importance of social distancing, check-out this graphic:






As of this afternoon, there were a total of 457 positive tests and over 8,000 negative results from those tested who did not have Coronavirus in Wisconsin. Regrettably, there have also been five fatalities as a result of COVID-19. As numbers continue to rise, keep in mind that increased testing will lead to a better, more complete picture of the scope of this problem in Wisconsin. That’s why self-isolation and social distancing techniques for everyone, not just those who have tested positive for Coronavirus, are so important.


To see the most up-to-date Coronavirus numbers compiled by the State Department of Health Services, visit their website.



Stress Helpline


While it’s important to keep up with the news during a global pandemic that’s begun hitting closer to home, the coverage can also cause anxiety, stress, and fear among Wisconsin residents. If you need to talk to someone during this difficult time, please reach out to Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or by texting ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746.



Until Next Time


Despite this outbreak, my staff and I are still here to assist with questions you may have involving state government. While we may not always have the answer right away, we’ll do our best to assist with your questions and concerns revolving around COVID-19 or other comments and issues related to state government.


As always, please feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns you may have, and be sure to visit my website and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for regular updates on Coronavirus and more from around the 2nd Senate District and in the State Capitol.


Thanks for reading!



Senator Robert Cowles
Proudly Serving Wisconsin's 2nd Senate District




Mailing Address: P.O. Box 7882, Madison, WI 53707-7882 | Office: 118 South, State Capitol

Office: (608) 266-0484 | District: (920) 448-5092 | Sen.Cowles@legis.wisconsin.gov




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