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On April 16, the Safer at Home Order was extended until Tuesday, May 26, 2020 or until a superseding order is issued. We all hope it will not have to be left in place that long.

There is a reason for the Safer at Home order – it has been proven to save lives, flatten the curve, stop our healthcare system from being overwhelmed, and prevent our state from having to be closed again weeks or months after opening. However, I recognize that the measures have and will continue to have an enormous impact on our businesses and workers across the state, and the governor is committed to opening up our economy as soon as possible.

View the Emergency Order Here. 

Sincerely,

 

JON ERPENBACH
State Senator
27th District

 

What's New in the Safer at Home Order  

There are changes including how golf courses and craft stores can operate. Additionally, there are added safe business practices. Here are a few of the changes: 

  1. Schools: Public and private K-12 schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
  2. Public libraries: Libraries may provide curb-side pick-up of books and other library materials.
  3. Golf courses: Golf courses may open, with restrictions including scheduling and paying for tee times online or by phone only. Clubhouses and pro shops must remain closed.
  4. Local parks and open space: Local health officials may close public parks and open spaces if it becomes too difficult ensure social distancing or the areas are being mistreated.
  5. Safe business practices for Essential Businesses and Operations: Essential Businesses and Operations must increase cleaning and disinfection practices, ensure that only necessary works are present, and adopt policies to prevent workers exposed to COVID-19 or symptomatic workers from coming to work.
  6. Safe business practices for retailers that are Essential Businesses and Operations: Retail stores that remain open to the public as Essential Businesses and Operations must limit the number of people in the store at one time, must provide proper spacing for people waiting to enter, and large stores must offer at least two hours per week of dedicated shopping time for vulnerable populations.
  7. Non-essential businesses: Non-essential businesses can do more things as Minimum Basic Operations, including deliveries, mailings, and curb-side pick-up. Non-essential businesses must notify workers of whether they are necessary for the Minimum Basic Operations.
  8. Arts and craft stores: Arts and craft stores may offer expanded curb-side pick of materials necessary to make face masks or other personal protective equipment (PPE).

View the Safer at Home FAQ's Here. 

 

Safer at Home is Working to Flatten the Curve

According to a model created by the Department of Health Services (DHS), Wisconsin was projected to have 22,000 infections by April 8, which would have ultimately resulted in somewhere between 440 and 1,500 deaths. However, Wisconsinites are taking the steps needed to make a difference during this pandemic. 

Wisconsin has seen as decrease in the exponential growth in the number of cases since Safer at Home was put into place.

  • Wisconsin’s rate of doubling of infections was 3.4 days in early March before Safer at Home.
  • Over the past two weeks, the rate of doubling is now approximately 12 days.

Limiting physical contact between people is the best strategy to slow the spread of COVID-19, and it is saving lives. Wisconsinites need to continue this work to keep flattening the curve.

Learn more.

 

Reminder - Protect yourself and those around you. Follow CDC and DHS guidelines to stay safe. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are able.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

The CDC has recently updated their recommendations regarding the use of cloth face coverings, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. Learn more. 

 

Resources - 

During this difficult time it is worth reminding Wisconsinites that 211 exists to help when you don’t know where to turn. 211 is a resource managed by the United Way of Wisconsin. Call 2-1-1 or visit their website.

Office of Crime Victim Services

End Abuse Wisconsin 

Disaster Distress Hotline 

Veterans Crisis Line 

Vets for Warriors 

Military One Source 

Resilient Wisconsin

Department of Corrections Helpline: The call center can be reached by members of the public Monday through Friday from 7:45am–4:30pm at (608) 240-5700.


State Senate Passed COVID Relief Bill

The Senate passed Assembly Bill 1038 to help address the COVID-19 Pandemic. Our state is facing significant challenges as we respond to COVID-19, and we need to do everything we can to provide relief to workers, families, businesses, and farmers who are suffering as a result. I am happy that both sides of the aisle were able to come together to pass this long overdue package. However, we still have a lot of work to do to pass meaningful and comprehensive legislation that supports the people who need it the most.

Bi-partisan action in the face of this pandemic and its fallout has been needed for weeks.  We still have work to do and Democrats are ready to come together with Republicans to ensure that our state is equipped to respond to this crisis, and support Wisconsinites in their time of need.

 

DWD Updated their Website with CARES Act Information

Congress passed three COVID-19 related pieces of legislation. Specifically, the bills contain provisions related to paid leave and Unemployment Insurance, including the opportunity for claimants to receive an additional $600 per week and to extend benefits to independent contractors and others who are self-employed. Similar to other states, the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor so that Wisconsin residents can take advantage of these benefits.

DWD has now updated their website to reflect these changes. You can learn more here. 

 

PSC and DPI Announce Emergency Internet Finder

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) announced a new web tool that can assist users in finding free-to-use public broadband locations in their area. These "Emergency Internet" locations are for when a user's own internet is too slow or not available. While many of the identified location buildings are closed to the public, their Wi-Fi connections remain accessible. Users should stay in their vehicles while accessing the Wi-Fi and only use it long enough to access critical services. People looking for emergency broadband locations can use the web tool here.

Learn more.

 

Governor Evers Removes Barriers to Emergency Financial Assistance for Veterans

The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) announced today that Governor Tony Evers has suspended several provisions of the Assistance to Needy Veterans Grant (ANVG) program, providing more low-income veterans access to emergency financial aid. The ANVG program provides subsistence payments and other health care grants to low income veterans who experience a loss of income.

Learn more.

 

Million Dollar Wisconsin Dairy Recovery Partnership Announced to Help Feed Wisconsinites, Benefit State Dairy Farmers

 

Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin (DFW) and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) have joined forces with the state’s leading antihunger organization, Hunger Task Force, to help provide relief to the growing numbers of underfed and unemployed by connecting milk to emergency food organizations throughout the state.

 

 COVID-19 Emergency JEM Grant Adjustments

Governor Evers has signed Emergency Order #27 (EM 27), which suspends several restrictions on the Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) grant program, providing greater flexibility for how JEM grants can be administered to help restart Wisconsin’s tourism economy. EM 27 makes it easier to advertise tourism, funds more available, and eliminates certain restrictions to make marketing resources more strategically utilized in this time of need.

Learn more.

 


 

 

Looking for additional resources? I have added a tab to my website title "COVID-19 Updates," where I have been compiling helpful resources and information. The page is updated frequently with new information. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to my office at Sen.Erpenbach@Legis.WI.Gov, or call (608) 266-6670. 

 

 


 

 Governor Evers Emergency Orders 

 

 

4/16/2020: Emergency Order #28: Safer at Home

4/14/2020: Emergency Order #27: Related to Joint Effort Marketing Administered by the Department of Tourism 

4/13/2020: Emergency Order #26: Relating to Department of Children and Families Administrative Rule Suspensions 

4/14/2020: Emergency Order #25: Additional Safety Measures Related to the DWD and Migrant Labor Camps

4/10/2020: Emergency Order #24: Relating to the Department of Transportation Emergency Overweight  Commodity Permits 

4/9/2020: Emergency Order #23: Related to the Department of Veterans Affairs Assistance to Needy Veterans Program

4/9/2020: Emergency Order #22: Related to Certain Timelines Established by the  Department of Safety and Professional Services 

4/3/2020: Emergency Order #21: Relating to the Department of Health Services Administrative Rule Suspensions and Order 

 

What Can I Do to Help 

 

Gov. Evers Announces COVID-19 Volunteer Program: Gov. Tony Evers announced that the state is seeking volunteers to support Wisconsin's healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic. Active and retired healthcare professionals and those who wish to help in non-clinical support positions are encouraged to sign up to volunteer through the Wisconsin Emergency Assistance Volunteer Registry (WEAVR)

PPE Donation/Buyback program: We are looking for companies, educational facilities and other organizations that may have personal protective equipment (PPE) that could be used in the state’s response to the COVID-19 emergency.

The state appreciates donations, and is willing to reimburse large quantities of PPE at fair market value. Please fill out the below form if you have the specific items listed below. If you have less than 50 items of any of the below items, please consider donating to local health care organizations. Sign up here: https://covid19supplies.wi.gov/donations

Update from Department of Children and Families (DCF): DCF is seeking early childhood educators to help provide child care and meet the school-age needs of Wisconsin’s essential personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are an educator who is able to serve, we’re seeking your help in providing care to Wisconsin’s essential personnel. Please fill out this survey with your information and availability so we can connect you with local service needs. By filling out this survey, you may be considered to assist in providing child care for individuals who provide essential services in Wisconsin. 

Hope House - Hope House of South Central Wisconsin provides free services to people affected by domestic violence and sexual assault in Sauk, Columbia, Adams, Juneau, and Marquette Counties. Services can be accessed by calling the 24-hour helpline at 1-800-584-6790.

During this challenging time, Hope House would appreciate donations to help us continue to support those in need, including:

- Toiletries
- Cleaning Supplies
- Hygiene supplies
- Canned and Boxed Foods

Donations can be dropped off or shipped to Hope House, 720 Ash Street, Baraboo, WI 53913. Monetary donations are also greatly appreciated and can be done online via Facebook or PayPal.

United Way - To connect potential volunteers and organizations, the United Way of Wisconsin, Serve Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Volunteer Coordinators Association created the COVID-19 Response Initiative on the Volunteer Wisconsin website.

Red Cross - the Red Cross is experiencing blood drive cancellations like no other time in recent history and their inventory is at critical levels. Their sites are taking extra precautions to make sure giving blood is safe. If healthy, please consider giving blood by calling 1-800-RedCross or going to redcrossblood.org.

WRA - Establishments around the state are offering services during COVID-19. Find a list of restaurants open for delivery/pick-up and add yours to the list here.


 
Contacting My Office

Feel free to contact me with any inquiries. Please visit my website for press releases and other Capitol updates.