COVID-19 Community Update #11                                       June 09, 2020

Friends and Neighbors, 

I write today with a final COVID-19 community update. Pursuant to Wisconsin state statutes, legislators are prohibited from distributing more than 49 pieces of substantially identical materials during election cycles. While Act 185 waives this rule for communications pertaining to the current COVID-19 public health emergency, starting tomorrow this so-called “50 Piece Rule” goes back into effect and I will be unable to distribute these e-newsletters. As such, this is sadly my last e-update of the year

While I will be unable to communicate with you through e-news updates, my office continues to be a resource to you. We know that the COVID-19 pandemic remains a threat to health & well-being in our state, and that our community needs help accessing the vital resources necessary to bounce back successfully. Please do not hesitate to contact my office at Rep.Sargent@legis.wisconsin.gov and we will work to best assist you. 

As of yesterday, June 8th, Wisconsin’s COVID-19 data was as follows:

-333,253 negative test results

-21,038 positive test results

-2,860 hospitalizations

-14,242 recovered cases (68% of all cases) 

We must continue to be diligent in our efforts to stay socially distant whenever possible & to contain the spread of COVID-19 through measures such as frequent handwashing, wearing facemasks, limiting large gatherings, and protecting our vulnerable friends and neighbors. Together, we can help Wisconsin get to a 100% recovery rate, restrict new cases from occurring, and work to get back to normal as quickly as possible. 

Please read below for additional COVID-19 news!

In Service,

Melissa Sargent
State Representative
48th Assembly District


For More Information

Access the resources below for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 in our state and community:


Community Assistance

Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program (W.R.A.P.)

The Wisconsin Renters Assistance Program (W.R.A.P) is now accepting pre-applications for eligible renters who have had a significant loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Once approved, individuals can receive assistance of up to $3,000 for rental payments and/or security deposits. These payments will be paid directly to landlords on behalf of the tenant. 

In general, applicants need to be a Wisconsin resident with a household income at or below 80% of the county median income (CMI) in the month prior to the application date. Households at or below 60% of the county median income (CMI) will be prioritized for assistance.

The pre-application and details about the program & eligibility can be found here. If you are unable to complete the pre-application electronically, please call the Community Action W.R.A.P. hotline at: (608)-237-1255. 

W.R.A.P. will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis, and the program will expire once the CARES funding has been exhausted.


Small Business Support

“We’re All In” Small Business Grants

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will issue 30,000 grants of $2,500 to Wisconsin small businesses to help them get back on their feet amid disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The online grant application will be accessible for one week from 8 a.m. Monday, June 15, through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, June 21.

Funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, WEDC’s We’re All In Small Business Grant aims to assist with the costs of business interruption or for health and safety improvements, wages and salaries, rent, mortgages and inventory.

If you operate a small business and have been impacted by the COVID-19 shutdown, I encourage you to apply for a grant. To be eligible for the We’re All In Small Business Grant, applicants must fit the following criteria:

  • Be a Wisconsin-based, for-profit business.
  • Employ 20 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, including the owner.
  • Earn greater than $0 but less than $1 million in annual revenues (gross sales and receipts).
  • Have started operating prior to January 1, 2020 and have been in business in February 2020.

All of the information you need to know is available on the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) website here.


Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act

The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, signed into law at the federal level last week, works to address some of the flaws of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and provide further assistance to businesses impacted by COVID-19.

With these updated provisions, business owners should review these changes and consider contacting their local lender & starting an application today (deadline is June 30th). More information on the PPP can be found here

Some of the key changes are as follows (thanks to Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce for these helpful updates!):

  • Covered Period: PPP loan funds can now be spent over a 24-week period instead of the initial 8-week period and the June 30 deadline has been extended to December 31, 2020. This means current borrowers now have more time to spend loan funds and rehire employees, increasing the likelihood that the entire loan may be forgiven.
  • Non-Payroll Expenses: Full loan forgiveness can be achieved as long as the borrower spends 40 percent or less of the loan amount on non-payroll expenses. The previous limit of 25 percent reduced the program's usefulness for certain businesses with higher non-payroll costs.
  • Reduced Forgiveness Based on FTE Retention: Loan forgiveness will not be reduced due to a lower number of Full Time Equivalents if an employer: 1) is unable to rehire a previous employee, 2) shows an inability to hire "similarly qualified employees", or 3) shows an inability to return to the "same level of business activity" as prior to Feb. 15, 2020, due to new standards for COVID-19 mitigation.
  • Loan Repayment Terms: New PPP loans will have a five-year repayment term for any non-forgivable expenses. Repayment terms on existing PPP loans can be extended from two to five years if both parties mutually agree to the loan modification.
  • Payroll Tax Deferment: Under the CARES Act, employers may defer payment of a portion of their social security taxes to a later year. PPP borrowers are no longer excluded from this deferral.

Dane County Updates

Forward Dane

Here in Dane County, we continue to follow the Forward Dane plan for a safe reopening. Public Health Madison & Dane County are working to implement a data-driven and gradual reopening approach- more information about these metrics can be found here. Currently, Dane County remains in “Phase One”.  

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


COVID-19 Test Site Extended

Public Health Madison & Dane County have announced the extension of the free community testing site at Alliant Energy Center to June 24. 

  • Located at Alliant Energy Center: 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, Madison, WI 53713
  • Hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, from 8:00am – 4:00pm, and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:00 am – 8:00pm.
  • No appointments or pre-registration necessary
  • Drive-thru, bike-up, or walk-up
  • No ID is needed and you won't be asked for your immigration status
  • Spanish and Hmong translators are available onsite
  • For a free ride to the site, call the Public Health Transportation Line at (608) 243-0420. A transportation company will then call you to schedule the ride. It’s preferred that you wear a cloth face covering when using this service.
  • Coordinated by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and National Guard.

More information can be found here.


Madison’s 'Streatery' Program

More than 30 restaurants have started the application process to participate in the City of Madison’s "Streatery" Program. Last week, the City of Madison launched its “Steatery” Restaurant Recovery Program, aimed at helping local restaurants that have been hit hard by pandemic closures. The program temporarily allows restaurants to expand outdoor dining onto public sidewalks, on-street parking areas, or in privately-owned parking lots.

Interested businesses should reach out to the correct department below prior to setting up new outdoor seating:

Find more details about the Streatery Program and other resources to help businesses and nonprofits here


Administration Updates

Department of Health Services (DHS)

More Wisconsin Residents Can Now Qualify for Food Assistance

Yesterday the Department of Health Services announced that the income threshold was raised for the emergency food pantry program during the COVID-19 pandemic, and more households will now be able to get food through the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).

Households with incomes below 300% of the federal poverty level (FPL) are now eligible to receive a monthly share of locally grown, Grade-A foods that include meat, vegetables, fruit, juice, and more from a TEFAP food pantry. For a household of one, that income threshold is $38,280. The larger the household, the higher the income threshold. Previously TEFAP’s qualifying income threshold was 185% FPL, or $23,606 for a household of one.
You can read more here.


Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

State Campgrounds Set to Reopen June 10th

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources recently announced that state campgrounds will reopen on Wednesday, June 10 with special conditions to ensure the safety of staff and visitors. 

Some of the changes that campers and park visitors will experience beginning June 10 include automatic touchless check-in and new signs to educate visitors on recreating responsibly. Park offices will remain closed to the public. 

Visitors are reminded to practice social distancing, refrain from congregating in large groups, travel only within their home communities, and follow all existing state park rules and guidelines. Visitors are also encouraged to wear masks in situations where social distancing is difficult.

Please see here for additional details regarding reservations, restrooms, firewood, & more!


Department of Agriculture, Trade, & Consumer Protection (DATCP)

DATCP Announces Details for $50 Million Wisconsin Farm Support Program

Following extensive discussions with agricultural stakeholders, DATCP is announcing the timeline and eligibility requirements of the Wisconsin Farm Support Program, which will provide $50 million in direct aid payments to Wisconsin farmers who have experienced losses due to COVID-19.

Applications for this funding, administered by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, will be accepted starting June 15. Individual payments will range from $1,000-$3,500 and will be issued after the application period closes on June 29. Wisconsin farmers with gross income between $35,000 and $5,000,000 in 2019 may be eligible to receive a payment. Farmers are encouraged to apply as soon as possible on or after June 15 to leave time for resolving any potential issues in their application.

Eligible farmers should apply online through the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR): https://revenue.wi.gov. The application link will be live on June 15. Farmers who cannot apply online may request assistance by calling 608-266-2772. Spanish- and Hmong-speaking farmers should call DOR at 608-266-2772 for assistance.


Department of Workforce Development (DWD)

Unemployment Updates

From onboarding more staff to contracting with external vendors, DWD continues to work to expand their efforts to directly assist more claimants faster, as more Wisconsinites have applied for unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To read more about the status of unemployment benefit claims in Wisconsin read DWD’s latest update here.


Updated Unemployment Benefits Claims Status

Date Range

Claims Allowed*/ Paid

Claims Denied

Claims in Process

(Includes claims awaiting wage verification, adjudication, etc.)

March 15 – May 30, 2020




*Includes weeks with BAR or serving waiting week if benefit year started pre-Act 185 implementation.


Updated Unemployment Numbers



March 15 -

May 30, 2020

Unemployment Applications Received**


Weekly Claims Received**


Weekly Claims Paid


Total Benefits Paid

(including FPUC and PUA)


FPUC Benefits Paid


PUA Applications Received


PUA Benefits Paid


UI Calls Received- Week of May 30, 2020


**Neither applications nor claims received equate to a specific number of individuals. Preliminary counts updated daily at: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/covid19/public/ui-stats.htm


Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Update

DWD has began issuing determinations and payments for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) applicants on May 21. Those who are eligible for PUA will be notified via USPS as well as in their claims portal. For eligible applicants, a link will go live in the claims portal that will allow weeks to be claimed for benefits. DWD has received over 90,000 PUA applications since April 21 and has dedicated staff processing these determinations. DWD will continue to onboard additional staff over the coming weeks.

A new PUA-specific hotline has been established to help constituents complete their PUA claims and to provide general information related to the PUA program only. Those calling for other reasons will not be assisted via this hotline as those staffing the phones are trained exclusively in PUA.

PUA Hotline: (608) 318-7100


“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. While Act 185 waives this rule for communications pertaining to the current public health emergency, starting tomorrow this so-called “50 Piece Rule” goes back into effect and I will be unable to distribute these e-newsletters. As such, this is my last e-update of the year.


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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