COVID-19 Community Update #2                                        March 27, 2020

Friends and Neighbors, 

As you know, this week Governor Tony Evers and Department of Health Secretary Andrea Palm issued Emergency Order #12, or the Safer at Home Order. I hope you and your family are staying safe and healthy, and following the necessary health guidelines during this time.

The Safer at Home Order is a vital step taken to curb the spread of COVID-19 in our state, and most importantly to save lives. Based on projections by the Department of Health (DHS) without this order Wisconsin was projected to have 22,000 cases and 440-1,500 deaths by April 8th. These numbers are both unacceptable and frightening. Serious action was needed in order to move Wisconsin off of this path, and Governor Evers did the right thing by ensuring that all non-essential operations cease and we each stay at home and safe.

While this is a tough situation for all of us, I commend Governor Tony Evers for his issuance of the Safer at Home Order. This order ensures that we are each taking the utmost precautions during this time to help save lives. Returning to our normal day-to-day activities will first require collective action-- we cannot end this public health crisis without proactive steps being taken by each and every one of us. Together, we have the power to change the course. 

Please read below for more information on the Safer at Home Order and other helpful resources during this difficult time. I will be sure to keep you updated with more details!

Stay safe & healthy!


In Service,

Melissa Sargent
State Representative
48th Assembly District

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The Safer at Home Order

The Safer at Home Order requires all individuals in the state of Wisconsin to stay at home or at their place of residence, with limited exceptions. Individuals who are using shared or outdoor space other than their home or residence, must, at all times and to the extent possible, maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from another person. Individuals do not need to maintain social distancing between family members in a single living unit or with other household members.

All individuals may leave their home or residence for a number of essential activities and functions including health and safety, such as picking up medications, visits with health care providers; obtaining groceries and food, buying gas or pet food, and other activities necessary to maintain the home or residence; outdoor activities, such as walking, biking, hiking or running while maintaining social distancing (does not include contact sports such as basketball); taking care of others, including friends and pets; and the travel associated with such tasks. See Emergency Order #12 for additional information.

This order is enforceable by any local law enforcement official, including county sheriffs. Violation or obstruction of this Order is punishable by up to 30 days imprisonment, or up to $250 fine, or both. Wis. Stat. § 252.25. 

For more information about Emergency Order #12, the Safer at Home Order:


Economic Assistance

Tax Filing Deadline Extended

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue has announced that they, along with the federal government, have moved the Wisconsin tax filing deadline back from April 15th to July 15th. This move will give more Wisconsinites more time to file both their state and federal taxes, and provide necessary relief for taxpayers during this difficult time.

For more information on the state filing extension visit the Wisconsin Department of Revenue page here. Fore more information on the federal filing extension visit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) page here.


 Utilities Payment Relief

Emergency order 11 instituted by Governor Evers and the Department of Health, stops utility disconnection for nonpayment for all customers, including residential, commercial, industrial, and farm accounts. Further it:

  • Ceases the assessing of late fees to customer accounts;
  • Halts the practice of requiring deposits from customers for reconnection of service;
  • Allows deferred payment agreements for all customers who request them;
  • Removes any administrative barriers for customers establishing or reestablishing utility service; and
  • Authorizes water utilities to provide budget billing arrangements to customers. Electric and natural gas utilities are allowed to do this under current rules.

Federal Stimulus Package

This week, Congress agreed to a historic stimulus package to combat the detrimental economic effects of the COVID 19 pandemic. This 2 trillion dollar stimulus deal includes direct payments to individuals struggling from financial instability. Single Americans would receive $1,200 and married couples will receive $2,400 and would get $500 for each child under the age of 17. This money for individuals starts to phase out with those who make $75,000 or more. Those making more than $99,000 would not qualify at all. 90% of Americans will be eligible to receive full or partial payments. This stimulus package also includes $350 billion for small business loans, and $250 billion more for unemployment insurance benefits. To read more about what this stimulus package means for our state and country, read the full summary at the National Conference of State Legislature stimulus package overview.


Employment Resources

The Department of Workforce Development

The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has many resources available for those who may face employment related issues during this time. You can find more info here.

  • Unemployment Benefits: Wisconsin unemployment benefits are available to individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own. If an employer must shut down operations due to the COVID-19 outbreak and no work is available, individuals may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they meet the monetary criteria and the weekly eligibility criteria. If you are unsure of whether or not you will qualify for unemployment benefits at this time, DWD encourages you to still apply or to  reach out with questions. As a result of Governor Evers Emergency order you do not need to do a work search during the Governor's declared emergency. The Department is in the process of making the necessary updates. No action is needed on your part regarding the work search. For fast, up-to-date information and to apply for unemployment benefits, please head to https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/ui/
  • Work-Share Program: The Work-Share Program (also called Short-Term Compensation or STC), is designed to help both employers and employees. Instead of laying off workers, a qualified employer can plan to reduce work hours across a work unit. Workers whose hours are uniformly reduced under an approved Work-Share plan receive unemployment benefits that are pro-rated for the partial work reduction. You learn more about this program or apply at: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uitax/workshare.htm

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), in partnership with Governor Evers, the Small Business Administration (SBA), and local Chambers of Commerce, are working hard to provide relief for Wisconsin businesses. You can read more about their response efforts here.

  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans: The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has made available Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to assist businesses in Wisconsin affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, following a request from Governor Tony Evers. The loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills. The deadline to apply for an EIDL is Dec. 21, 2020. For eligibility guidelines, application guidance, options for application assistance and answers to frequently asked questions, visit here. For additional assistance, contact the SBA’s helpline at 800-659-2955 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT seven days a week or by email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. You can also visit their website at sba.gov/disaster.
  • Small Business 20/20: This week WEDC approved Small Business 20/20, a $5 million grant program designed to support small businesses and micro-enterprises impacted by COVID-19. Find out more here.
  • Other Wisconsin resources: Read more about other resources for businesses here.


Community Resources

Mental Health Resources

During this difficult time, there are many factors that may contribute to increased stress, anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns. It is imperative that during this time we take care of ourselves, and be sure to look out for others as well.

Fortunately there are many resources available and great community organizations working to provide assistance at this time:

  • SAMHSA: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Helpline provides 24/7 365 day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human caused-disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents of the United States and its territories:
    • Call DistressLine at 1-800-985-5990
    • Text TalkWithUs to 66746
  • NAMI: The National Alliance of Mental Health (NAMI) is offering a variety of support services, including virtual support groups. You can find more here.

Food Resources

It is vital that we work together to preserve public health and safety, while at the same time ensuring that our friends and neighbors are taken care of in light of the impacts that these shutdowns are having on our community. If you or someone you know is in need of food resources at this time please visit the following resources:

  • Dane County Human Services: For an updated list of all food availability in Dane County visit here
  • Madison General Defense Committee: If you or someone you know are in need of assistance during this difficult time, please fill out this form from the Madison General Defense Committee to request support from fellow community members here.
  • Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD): Although schools are closed, Madison Schools - MMSD is providing free and nutritious meals to kids each day at sites across the city. For information on sites and times please visit here.

Early Voting

Wisconsin's spring election is still set for Tuesday, April 7th. With the current public health emergency facing our state and nation, it is imperative that we continue to self-distance and stay safe and healthy. At the same time we must also uphold the integrity of our democracy and have our voices be heard. You can vote early and avoid the polls by: 

  • Voting Absentee By Mail: You can request a ballot be mailed to you online here. Need help obtaining a witness to sign your ballot? Reach out to: NewBridge, which provides support to older adults in Madison, has offered to help older individuals at 608-512-0000. Or the Dane County Voter ID Coalition has also started a service for people who need help finding a witness to sign absentee certificate envelopes. The coalition's phone number is 608-285-2141. 
  • Voting Early in Person: Many local municipalities also offer in-person absentee voting which means you can go to the polling location and vote early. Contact your local clerk to find your polling location and hours. 

For more information visit the Elections Commission website.


For More Information


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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