COVID-19 Community Update #10                                         May 29, 2020

Friends and Neighbors, 

While the COVID-19 news has certainly been difficult to keep up with, it is important to know that in addition to actions being taken on the state level, local government continues to play a vital role in response efforts.

Although the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned the Governor’s Safer at Home Order earlier this month, here in Dane County we are fortunate to have local leaders who listen to science and are actively collaborating with public health officials to do what is best for our community. 

The efforts to contain COVID-19 in Madison & Dane County and to safely reopen our local businesses have continued to progress. This week, on May 26th, Dane County entered from “Safer at Home” to “Phase One” of the Forward Dane plan

Please read below for further updates on COVID-19 response efforts at the state & local levels, as we continue to work to keep our community and state safe.

In Service,

Melissa Sargent
State Representative
48th Assembly District

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CARES Act Funding Allocation

Governor Evers continues to announce the allocation of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding, providing much needed relief for our state’s residents. Below are further additions to last week’s news about CARES Act funding to support Wisconsinites and help our state to bounce back safely.


Route to Recovery

Our local governments are on the frontline of responding to this public health emergency. This week, Governor Tony Evers announced the Routes to Recovery grant program to ensure every community can continue doing the important work of responding to COVID-19 here in Wisconsin.

The Routes to Recovery grant program is funded by the CARES Act, and ensures that local partners can address their community’s most urgent and unique COVID-19 needs. This program provides much needed financial flexibility to communities. 

The plan provides $200 million in federal funding to local governments and tribes to help fight COVID-19. The Department of Administration will administer the funding, with $10 million of it heading to Wisconsin’s tribal nations and the rest going to every county, city, village and town in the state. Funding will depend on the community's population, with local governments receiving no less than $5,000. 

For more information, including the allocation amounts for counties and municipalities, visit: https://doa.wi.gov/Pages/LocalGovtsGrants/COVID-Grants.aspx


Funding for Health Clinics Serving Underrepresented Populations

This public health emergency brings a new set of challenges to healthcare, and clinics across the state have done an amazing job of adapting in order to continue providing high-quality care to some of our most vulnerable friends and neighbors. To assist them in this vital mission, this week the Department of Health Services announced $10 million in federal funding for community health centers serving underserved populations in COVID-19 response efforts. This funding will help alleviate some of the financial burdens COVID-19 has caused for our local community health providers. 

To receive funding, providers will have to apply and DHS will then evaluate the expenses clinics occurred related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Expenses could include implementation of telehealth, loss of revenue from fewer visits, staffing and costs associated with buying additional equipment and supplies like personal protective equipment.


Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program

Last week Governor Evers and the Department of Administration announced an investment of $25 million into the Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program (W.R.A.P.) to provide short-term relief to eligible Wisconsinites who have experienced income loss as a result of COVID-19. W.R.A.P. will award up to $3,000 per individual for rental payments and/or security deposits, and is for those with a household income at or below 80% of the county median income.

This week, further news about the application process has been released. For more information contact the Wisconsin Community Action Program Association agency in your area to see if you are eligible for W.R.A.P. & other assistance programs. You can find your local agency here.


Dane County Updates

Forward Dane

Every elected official must live up to their oath to do everything possible to help their constituents through this public health crisis. Further, it is the Wisconsin State Legislature’s duty and responsibility to take action to support our economy, health care systems, and democracy as we navigate these unprecedented times. Yet, due to actions (and inaction) by Republican leadership here in the State Legislature, Wisconsin continues to need to take vital actions to support Wisconsinites.

We need to ensure that our healthcare heroes are supported, and that we provide economic relief for hardworking Wisconsinites– from small businesses and family farms to child care workers and other essential workers. Further, we need to take steps to protect our democracy, including ensuring voting by mail for the remainder of 2020 elections here in our state.

That is why Legislative Democrats have released the COVID-19 Response Plan, a plan that continues the necessary work of helping families and businesses in every corner of Wisconsin.

The fact is, this is a national, multi-faceted effort. This plan takes common sense actions to support individuals across our state as we navigate these uncharted waters, and I am proud to support it.

You can read more about the plan here.


Forward Dane - Phase One

As of this week, Public Health Madison and Dane County’s Forward Dane plan is underway with businesses allowed to open with 25% capacity and other reduced restrictions. Phase 1 of the Forward Dane plan includes:

  • Reopening all businesses—such as restaurants, gyms, and retail establishments—to 25% capacity with certain public health requirements and physical distancing.
  • Salons, tattoo parlors, and spas can open by appointment only.
  • Indoor gatherings at commercial facilities of 50 people or fewer are allowed, with physical distancing.
  • Indoor gatherings at private residence of 10 people or fewer are allowed, with physical distancing.
  • Outdoor gatherings of 50 or fewer are allowed, with physical distancing.
  • Park courts and fields are open, individuals must maintain physical distancing.

With each step in reopening, certain data criteria must be met. Dane County will remain in Phase 1 for a minimum of 14 days, which is one incubation period for COVID-19. If criteria are met, Public Health will issue a Phase 2 order. If criteria are not met, they will be reassessed at regular intervals.

While Phase 1 is underway and we are moving our economy forward, it is still vital that we each continue to practice preventative measures and take seriously the risk that this virus continues to pose to our community. Everyone should continue to stay safer at home as much as possible, practice social distancing, wash their hands, and wear facemasks whenever a public trip is necessary.

You can read more about Dane County’s Forward Dane plan & the next phases here.


Dane County Announces Eviction Relief Fund

Relief will be available in July, pending final approval by the Dane County Board, for tenants struggling with housing because of COVID-19 in Dane County. The County partnered with the Tenant Resource Center to announce and provide a $10 million eviction prevention fund this week. Tenants will be able to apply for assistance online through an application process and assessment.  

Read more detail into the application process here.


Support Local Businesses

We all want to get back to our favorite local spots, but social distancing remains the best tool we have to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Support Wisconsin’s small businesses by using WEDC’s new Main Street Marketplace website here!: www.mainstreetwi.com/


“50 Piece Rule”

REMINDER: Pursuant to Wisconsin State Statutes, legislators are prohibited from distributing more than 49 pieces of substantially identical materials during election cycles. Starting April 15th (tomorrow), this so-called “50 Piece Rule” will go into effect.

While AB 1038 waives this rule for communications pertaining to the current public health emergency, I will be unable to distribute any non-COVID-19 related news from now on. I will continue to post regular updates on social media (follow along on Facebook and Twitter!), keeping you in the loop on all things taking place over the next few months.


Contacting My Office

Team Sargent is here to help you! Please reach out to us with general inquiries, as well as any thoughts, questions, or concerns regarding legislative matters, at 608-266-0960 or via email at rep.sargent@legis.wi.gov

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