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Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

As we navigate through the COVID-19 public health emergency, I will continue to provide updates and resources as they become available.* Because of the pace that things can change, please continue to check my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for real-time updates. 

More information regarding a phased reopening of businesses, a new grant available for minority-owned businesses struggling during this global health emergency, and information on taking precautions to maintain health and safety as we move forward with re-opening more industries can be found below.

As always, please don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions.


Sincerely, 

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LaTonya Johnson
State Senator


*This information is up-to-date as of 1 p.m. May 11. Please note that this situation is always changing, so please utilize the resources provided below and check them periodically for the most current information. I will also post updates on my Facebook and Twitter accounts. 

Contents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Increased Access to Free COVID-19 Testing Available

Beginning Monday, May 11, the National Guard will set up testing sites on the city’s north and south sides at the following locations: Midtown Center - 5760 W. Capitol Drive and UMOS - 2701 S. Chase Avenue.

These testing sites are open to the public and will operate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. You can walk up or drive up to the site. Each site will have the capacity to test up to 500 people per day. Anyone who wants to get tested can simply show up. No appointment is needed and there is no cost. You also do not need to have any symptoms. Essential workers, frontline workers and their families are encouraged to get tested.

Click here for more information.

 

Road to Recovery for Wisconsin's Small Businesses

 

 

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A new state grant program for ethnically diverse small businesses was announced on May 8. Minority-owned businesses have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and have been shut out of a lot of assistance opportunities. The Ethnic Minority Emergency Grant Initiative is being launched with a total of $2 million to be made available to 1,000 Wisconsin micro-businesses. A business may apply for a one-time grant of $2,000 for short-term operations assistance through Wisconsin’s Collective Ethnic and Diverse Organizations. Applications will be accepted from May 18-24, 2020.

Eligible applicants are minority-owned businesses with five or fewer full-time equivalent employees (including the owner) in the retail, service or hospitality sectors that have not received assistance through WEDC’s Small Business 20/20 Program or the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through the federal CARES Act.

More information can be found on the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation website, here.

 

Health and Safety Resources for Businesses 

As Wisconsin businesses look forward to a future when they can return to providing goods and services, working toward that goal will require the gradual adoption of new business practices that reflect the evolving reality of this pandemic. 

The Evers administration has worked with national and state health and industry experts to compile a series of industry-specific documents to help businesses navigate this unprecedented time while taking the necessary precautions to maximize safety. Following these guidelines will help us all get Wisconsin’s economy back on track.

Here, you will find resources for industries ranging from construction to hair and nail salons to restaurants (and more). Check this website regularly for updates to guidelines and the addition of new industry documents.

 

Updates on 'Badger Bounce Back' Plan 

It is critically important any move towards opening up more businesses is done in a responsible and safe way. As the governor has stated many times recently, re-opening our economy must be "turned like a dial" not "flipped like a switch." On Monday, May 11, Governor Evers announced another turn of the dial with Emergency Order #36.

The new order allows all standalone or strip-mall based retail stores to offer in-person shopping for up to five customers at a time while maintaining required social distancing practices. The order also allows drive-in theaters to operate with some restrictions. All businesses must continue to follow all safety precautions and guidelines as outlined in the Safer at Home order.

A Frequently Asked Questions document with more details and guidelines can be found, here. Hair salons, barbershops, dine-in restaurants/bars, gyms, etc. remain closed at this time. 


It is critical that our progress so far is not undermined by prematurely lifting Safer at Home guidelines. To continue to safely dial back some of our Safer at Home guidelines, we must meet each of the goals outlined in the Badger Bounce Back plan, which is trackable online.

 

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Resources Round-Up

 

I know this is a scary time for many people. Worries about our health and the safety of our loved ones, the ability to pay bills, and taking care of children or parents and grandparents are very real concerns that are being experienced in our community right now. Finding resources and support can be difficult. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office if you have questions or need help. You can also call 2-1-1 or visit their website, here, for information and assistance, as there are many local organizations that are stepping up to help our neighbors during this public health emergency. Below you will find additional information and resources. 

 

Community Resources Guide
Milwaukee County has created a Community Resources Guide that includes up-to-date listings of local COVID-19 resources. The guide includes a broad list of housing, food, health and medical care resources as well as resources for adults over 60 and Milwaukee County residents with disabilities. This information will be continuously added and updated, so be sure to check it often.

Support for Caregivers 
I was a caregiver for my grandparents, so I can only imagine how difficult the added challenge our current times are for families. You are not alone. Reach out for support when you need it. This recent Milwaukee News Service article provides resources available for caregivers in our community.
 

Information for Older Adults (60+)
One of the programs that continues to be available to older adults is the Wisconsin Elder Benefit Specialist program. Milwaukee County community members aged 60 and older can receive advocacy and legal assistance with a wide range of public benefit programs including Medicare and Medicaid, landlord-tenant issues, and unemployment insurance appeals. With the rapidly changing situation due to COVID-19, this advice and advocacy is more important than ever. To contact the Elder Benefit Specialist for Milwaukee County, dial: 414-278-1222. More information about the services provided can be found here. 

 

Information for Survivors of Abuse
I understand that home may not always be a safe space for some members in our community and that right now is an especially difficult time for survivors of domestic violence. I am grateful to all of the advocates around the state who are working tirelessly to offer support and make sure people are safe. Those who are looking to make a safety plan or someone to talk to can find an advocate by visiting www.endabusewi.org/get-help.
 

Here are other places to find trusted resources and information:

  • Click here for Governor Evers' webpage that includes resources from across state agencies, including information about filing for unemployment benefits, resources for small businesses, information about telehealth services, and more.  

  • Click here for Congresswoman Gwen Moore's list of resources, which includes how to cover basic necessities like food, child care resources for health care workers, and more. 

  • Click here for U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin's list of resources, which includes information about direct cash payments approved by the federal government (CARES Act), resources for small businesses, resources for veterans, and more. 

Click here for Milwaukee County's COVID-19 webpage.

Click here for the City of Milwaukee's COVID-19 website.

I hope you find the above resources helpful. However, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any additional questions at Sen.Johnson@legis.wi.gov.  

 

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Want to help spread the message to #StayHome?

Take the pledge on the StayHomeMKE webpage. Once you take the pledge, you can share it on your social media channels. Tag friends and family and invite them to take the pledge too.

 

A quick note about the Community Connections newsletter:

State law says that legislators who are up for re-election are prohibited from distributing more than 49 pieces of substantially identical materials during election cycles. This rule went into effect on April 15.

Recent legislation waives this rule for communications pertaining to the current public health emergency. Therefore I will be unable to distribute any non-COVID-19 related news for the time being. Follow me on social media for updates on state and community news!

 

 

Useful Phone Numbers

There are many levels of state and local government that can help answer questions and get you connected with resources you may need. I have listed some useful phone numbers below. You can also see a comprehensive list of numbers by clicking the link below. If you see a change needed or an important number that should be added, please let me know! 

Congresswoman Gwen Moore.............................414-297-1140
Governor Evers.....................................................608-266-1212
Milwaukee Common Council...............................414-286-2221
Milwaukee County Board....................................414-278-4222
Milwaukee Police Department.............................414-933-4444
Poison Control......................................................800-222-1222
Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program..............800-815-0015

Medigap Helpline.................................................800-242-1060
Consumer Protection Hotline..............................800-422-7128
Department of Health Services............................608-266-1865
Workforce Development......................................608-266-3131
Public Service Commission..................................800-225-7729
SeniorCare Wisconsin.........................................800-657-2038
WI Commissioner of Insurance Complaints.......800-236-8517


For other useful phone numbers, click here!