COVID-19 UPDATES FOR COUNTY OFFICIALS

As issues continue to develop and change at a quick rate with COVID-19, the Coronavirus, we at the Wisconsin Counties Association (WCA) are working alongside Governor Tony Evers, the Administration, the National Association of Counties (NACo) and our general counsel, von Briesen & Roper, s.c., (von Briesen) to provide the latest resources and updates to assist county officials during this unprecedented time.

COVID-19 Daily Update: 3.30.2020

March 30, 2020

As things continue to develop and change at a quick rate, we at the Wisconsin Counties Association (WCA) are working alongside Governor Tony Evers, the Administration, the National Association of Counties (NACo) and our general counsel, von Briesen & Roper, s.c., (von Briesen) to provide the latest resources and updates to assist county officials during this unprecedented time.

COUNTY BOARD AND COMMITTEE MEETINGS-COMPLIANCE WITH OPEN MEETINGS LAW REQUIREMENTS DURING THE COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY
County governments throughout the state are facing unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the spread of the disease throughout the State of Wisconsin. A primary concern for county governments is to safely conduct county board and committee meetings in light of the ongoing public health emergency while also complying with their board rules and open meetings law (“OML”) requirements.

In conjunction with our general counsel, von Briesen & Roper, s.c., we offer the following guidance, which is based off many of the questions that county officials have asked us and von Briesen over the past few weeks.

County Board and Committee Meetings-Compliance with Open Meetings Law Requirements During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

DOL ISSUES GUIDANCE ON DEFINITIONS OF “EMERGENCY RESPONDER” AND “HEALTH CARE PROVIDER”
With the April 1, 2020, effective date of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) looming, on Saturday, March 28, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued critical new guidance defining which employees can be considered “emergency responders” or “health care providers.” You may recall that employees fitting one of these definitions are exempt from the FFCRA and thereby exempted from the paid sick leave and expanded FML requirements under the law.

Thanks to local government efforts over the past week, we are pleased to report that DOL has endorsed what we believe to be very expansive definitions to the terms, thus allowing counties to ensure that critical staff is available to continue providing all of the vital services counties provide to their citizens on a daily basis.

LATEST UPDATES FROM GOVERNOR EVERS AND ADMINISTRATION
Below please find an update from Governor Tony Evers Office with the latest happenings related to COVID-19.

3.20.2020 DHS Briefing
Governor Evers participated in today’s Department of Health Services briefing with Secretary Palm, which can be found on DHS’ YouTube.

For the most update to date information, please continue to refer to the DHS COVID-19 website.

PPE Distribution/BuyBack Program
The second round of PPE from the Strategic National Stockpile will go out this week. We encourage organizations and companies who have extra PPE to donate or sell to utilize our buyback program.

Safer at Home
As was reported this weekend, we continue to work with the legislature to encourage collaboration during this crisis. We are hopeful legislation can move quickly through the process so we can provide immediate necessary support to our local communities, workers, organizations, and businesses.

Please to continue to encourage those who can stay home to do so. #SaferAtHome. Please thank those who are working, and remember we are all in this together to slow the spread.

Important Links
Emergency Order #16: Health Care Provider Workforce
Emergency Order #15: Evictions and Foreclosures
PPE Buyback Program
Telehealth
WEDC Essential Business Request
WEDC Small Business Resources
DWD Connecting Employers to Job Seekers
DWD Apply for Unemployment Benefits
OCI Restaurant Delivery
PSC, Executive Order #11
DPI Order
FEMA Request for Protective Medical Supplies
WEDC Small Business Announcement
DOT Online Services
DOR Tax Filing Deadline

CONNECTING ESSENTIAL WORKFORCE FAMILIES TO CHILD CARE
The Department of Children and Families (DCF) has launched two new tools to help connect essential workforce families to local, safe child care. Healthcare workers and essential employees are now able to submit a request for care through the department’s updated Child Care Finder or proactively view up-to-date availability across the state using the department’s new child care map.

DCF is working with health care providers, child care centers, community organizations like YMCAs, schools, and other partners to open emergency child care centers for essential workforce families. New centers will be opened as demand for child care increases. DCF has provided guidance and resources for organizations interested in opening child care centers.

To ensure the safety of families and child care setting staff, DCF has developed a list of tips for parents to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. For any questions regarding this effort, please contact dcfmbcovid19@wisconsin.gov.