COVID-19 PANDEMIC UPDATE 3.17.2020

AT DIRECTION OF GOVERNOR, DHS ISSUES EMERGENCY ORDER #5 PROHIBITING 10 OR MORE PEOPLE FROM GATHERING

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.

DHS Issues Emergency Order #5
The afternoon of March 17, 2020, at the direction of Governor Tony Evers , the Wisconsin Department of Health Services ( DHS ) Secretary Andrea Palm issued Emergency Order #5 , which (among other things) prohibited gatherings of 10 or more people. 

The Order also listed a series of exemptions, the most important of which for counties is Exemption 5(c), which exempts “state and local government facilities, including government service centers…” 

How Will This Impact County Boards Scheduled to Meet?
There are a number of county boards around the state scheduled to meet tonight or later this week. Counties have questioned whether those meetings may proceed based upon Emergency Order #5. 

WCA General Counsel von Briesen & Roper, s.c. spoke with Attorney General Josh Kaul's office and they have indicated that they understand the intent of the Order and the Exemption is to allow the board meetings to occur. 

In other words, it is our understanding and the Attorney General’s understanding that proceeding with a meeting would NOT violate Emergency Order #5. 

Obviously, counties are encouraged to keep the meetings short and, as well, practice safe social distancing in accordance with DHS and CDC guidelines .

Please stay tuned to your email for communications from WCA and von Briesen as the COVID-19 epidemic is an extremely fluid situation.
ADDITIONAL UPDATES
The Department of Health Services (DHS) continues to provide the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 and you are encouraged to monitor the site for updated guidance as the situation continues to evolve.


You may also visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Coronavirus web resource page for more information.

QUESTIONS
As always, do not hesitate to contact WCA with questions at 866.404.2700 or von Briesen's Andrew T. Phillips at 414.287.1570.