March 31, 2020 - League of Wisconsin Municipalities - COVID-19 Update #14
COVID-19 Coronavirus Update
Explain it this way!
" To slow the spread, limit close interaction to the same 5 people TOTAL,
NOT different small groups."  #SaferAtHome
Is someone forwarding these emails to you? Do you want to subscribe? Sign up here.
League COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable Conference Calls
This call is for City/Village Officials,
including mgrs./adm. & Staff Only

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Join Zoom Meeting
Or simply Dial in 1 312 626 6799
Meeting ID: 144 756 174


Friday, April 3, 2020 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
N ote - the call in information will be different for Friday's call.

If you aren't able to connect or have a question after participating, please contact Jerry Deschane at email .

We will schedule additional calls as needed. Notice and call-in information will be provided on the League's website and in these Special Edition newsletters, which will also be sent as needed.
This just in!
A new funding opportunity from the Wisconsin Partnership Program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health will help UW-Madison researchers and community organizations, including local governments, respond to the immediate challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 Response Grant Program is a strategic, flexible, rapid-response mechanism designed to support innovative, responsive, high-impact projects that aim to improve the health of the people of Wisconsin by lessening the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through scientific, medical, or public health approaches and/or by supporting those most at risk or experiencing the greatest disparities in care. Learn more...
Invitation from the White House for State and Local Elected Officials  
On Wednesday, April 1, at 12:30 PM CST , please join Dr. Anthony Fauci ( Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases ), Larry Kudlow ( Assistant to the President for Economic Policy ), and Senior Administration Officials for a briefing call on COVID-19. Please note that Administration call participants are subject to change.

The purpose of this call is to provide State and local elected officials with up-to-date information on COVID-19 and pertinent Administration and Task Force actions. Registration instructions are below – please read the RSVP instructions in their entirety before registering. We encourage you to share this invitation with your county and/or municipal colleagues as well as public health officials. If you have a particular question you would like addressed during the call, please flag those for our team.

Wednesday, April 1 at 12:30 PM CST
Register : CLICK HERE
Note: Call-in lines are limited. Please register only if you are able to join the call. State and local leaders (especially staff) working in the same office are encouraged to register once as a group and use one call-in line (where appropriate and with proper social distancing) to maximize the number of people who can join. Upon successful registration, you will receive dial-in details to the email address you use to register. Note that multiple people cannot dial-in using the same registration information.

The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
To get a sense of what is needed locally to slow the spread from someone who has been there:

New Rochelle mayor has 'cautious optimism' as rate of positive COVID-19 cases slows

New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson told PIX11 Morning News he has a “cautious optimism” as the rate of new positive cases in the city has slowed down and more people are recovering.

“The great majority of people who tested positive have recovered,” Bramson said.

Rate of increase is moderating, New Rochelle is declining as a percentage of positive cases in the region as a whole.

Bramson believes the positive trends are connected to the city’s early measures taken with social distancing and the banning of large gatherings. Read the story...
April 1 is National Census Day!

2020 Census Operational Adjustments Due to COVID-19
The Census is adapting or delaying some of their operations to protect the health and safety of their staff and the public and make sure we get the same population counted another way. Read more from the Census here...

Share, comment and like that tomorrow is Census Day on the League's Facebook page by clicking here .

Add a 2020 Census Frame to your Facebook profile picture here .

Want to share with a sense of humor? Share this "Manitowoc Minute" video on filling out the Census form to your Facebook page from the League's page. (Note - includes instructions on how to make a Brandy Old Fashioned.)
Reminder - Gov. Tony Evers Emergency Order #15 temporarily bans foreclosures and evictions
The order went into effective March 26 and shall remain in place for 60 days.
Under Emergency Order #15 , landlords are prohibited from serving any notice terminating a tenancy for failure to pay rent. As detailed in the order, landlords are also prohibited from commencing a civil action of eviction unless certain conditions are met. 
In relation to Emergency Order #12 (Safer-at-Home) , landlords or rental property managers shall avoid entering leased residential premises unless emergency maintenance is required. 

To support homeowners, renters and affordable housing providers, WHEDA has initiated a series of actions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. WHEDA's response will include additional, innovative solutions in the days ahead. More information about WHEDA’s support and available resources can be found here .

All Emergency Orders are on the Governor’s website  here .  
Gov. Evers #SaferAtHome Shelter in Place Emergency Order

Emergency Order #12 Impact on Municipalities  (PDF) by Steve Zach, Boardman & Clark LLP 

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)
Uncertainty looms ahead of Wisconsin primary
There are five — count ‘em, five — major lawsuits in the state  about the election. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Patrick Marley put it: “Buckle up because there will be a lot of court action over Wisconsin's election in the coming days.” Let’s run through the cases, quickly: The DNC and the state party filed a suit seeking to  expand absentee voting in the state  through a variety of means, along with extending registration. As a result of that suit, the online voter registration deadline was extended until today, with a ruling pending on other aspects. Souls to the Polls filed a lawsuit  looking to delay the election , and the League of Women Voters’ state branch filed another suit to let voters  vote absentee without a witness . Those three cases were all filed in U.S. District Court and  consolidated over the weekend . Read the story in Politico...
Reminder - Elections Commission Issues Multiple Guidance Memos on Conducting the Spring Election During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Over the weekend, Wisconsin Election Commission staff issued several memos to municipal clerks on how to best conduct the spring election in the midst of a pandemic. The   public health guidance packet  for elections is posted on  WEC's website  and includes the following:

  • Checklist. This checklist was developed with the advice of a public health official to outline processes for conducting Election Day voting safely for voters and poll workers. Please review the checklist and incorporate these practices into your Election Day planning.

  • Poll Worker Health Screener. The public health official advising the WEC has suggested that on Election Day poll workers be screened to ensure that they can safely work. Attached you will find the screening questions to ask to poll workers. You may either choose to have each poll worker fill out the screener or post the screener and ask poll workers to read the questions and answer them.

  • Polling Place Signage. As is discussed in the attached checklist, it is advised that you place signs on the entrance and in relevant spots in the polling place to advise voters of procedures and enforce social distancing standards. Again, these signs were developed with the advice of a public health official. We will also be distributing printed signs to each county to be distributed to municipalities along with other supplies.  

  • Hospitalized Electors. At its March 27 meeting, the Commission voted to expand the definition of hospitalized elector to include voters in quarantine. We also worked with a public health official to discuss the recommended process to conduct the hospitalized elector process with quarantined voters. This memo to clerks outlines the recommended process and explains the expanded definition.

  • Curbside/ Drive-Through Procedures. Clerks have asked for guidance on how to conduct curbside voting in accordance with health guidance for those who are not able to enter the polling place. There have also been jurisdictions who have asked for advisement on how to conduct outdoor or “drive-through” voting. This memo to clerks outlines the recommended process and provides public heath procedures.

  • Absentee Witness Requirement. Clerks and voters have also asked for guidance on how absentee voters can have their ballot witnessed in accordance with public health guidance. This memo to clerks outlines the recommended process and provide suggested options for voters who are having difficulty meeting the witness requirement.
Election Worker Training Resources
The Local Government Center (LGC) at UW-Extension has created a ninety-minute election training that clerks can use to train new election workers. This training is free to any clerk that wishes to use it. Melissa Kono, County Extension Educator in Clark and Trempealeau Counties, created the training presentation and materials. Victoria Solomon, Green County Extension Educator, assisted with the training presentation and developed the Recruiting materials.

The resources are available  on the LGC website  so that a clerk can download it to use as required. These materials follow the Wisconsin Election Commission training guidelines. An individual can watch on their home computer or a computer at the local government office. The training is a recorded ZOOM webinar, accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation.

Election Worker Recruitment:
The Local Government Center has also developed resources that include a  sample recruitment pitch  (PDF) for clerks to use to recruit new election workers. 
Steps municipalities are taking to keep voters, poll workers and staff safe during the Spring Election.
Thanks to everyone who provided their great ideas. The responses from the survey of municipal clerks conducted by the League of Wisconsin Municipalities the week of March 23-27 is here .
Creative steps municipalities are taking to recruit enough poll workers for the Spring Election
The list is a compilation of responses the League of Wisconsin Municipalities received from a survey of municipal clerks the week of March 23-27. It can be found here .

The League's Coronavirus Elections page is here .
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
From the League's past COVID-19 Newsletters

March 30, 2020

Who is an “emergency responder” under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)? by the Federal Dept. of Labor
See the League's website here under Federal.

Are employees of a local health department or agency considered “health care providers” that may be excluded from paid leave under the FFCRA? by the Federal Dept. of Labor
See the League's website here under Federal.

March 27, 2020

March 26, 2020

Emergency Order #12 Impact on Municipalities  (PDF) by Steve Zach, Boardman & Clark LLP 

Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
Sample Employee Policy and Guidance
See the League's website here under Federal.

Governor's Emergency Powers
The scope of Governor’s emergency powers does not include suspending statutes. Read more about the Governor’s emergency powers in this recent Legislative Council Information Memorandum on: AUTHORITY OF PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS DURING A PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY

March 25, 2020

Impact on property assessment and taxation by DOR
See the League's website here.

March 20, 2020

Summary of the recently enacted Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act

HR 6201 Families First Coronavirus Response  SUMMARY  

HR 6201 Families First Coronavirus Response  Paid Sick Leave  

March 19, 2020

Wisconsin Elections Commission’s Latest Actions Regarding Spring Election Preparedness
Answer: See the League's website here .

Effect of DHS’ Order #5 on Municipalities
(Prohibitions on gatherings of 10 or more people)
Answer: See the League's website here.

Can Restaurants Providing Meals for Carry-out and Delivery Sell Alcohol?
Answer: See the League's website here .

Municipal Emergency Powers During COVID-19
Answer: See the League's website here .

Complying with the open meetings law during the COVID-19 health emergency.  
Answer: See the League's website here . Includes Wis. Dept. of Justice guidance we received March 16, 2020.

Spending to address COVID-19 and the Expenditure Restraint Program .
Answer: See the League's website here. Includes guidance we received from the Wis. Dept. of Revenue on March 13, 2020.
Continuing to conduct meetings  

New - Remote Public Meetings Toolkit  (PDF) By Dane County - March 26, 2020

The  Office of Open Government  in the Wisconsin Department of Justice has issued two advisories indicating that governmental bodies may meet remotely during the COVID-19 public health emergency and still comply with the open meetings law.  March 16 Advisory March 20 Advisory

Local Government Options for Conducting Meetings Remotely (PDF) by Curt Witynski, Deputy Executive Director, League of Wisconsin Municipalities explains the options and the Advisories. It has been shared with the other local government associations, including the Clerks Association.

Public Service Commission

Utility COVID-19 FAQs
The PSC has created a Utilities COVID-19 FAQ page on its website. 

NEW - Economic Development

Disrupted economic development: A webinar for public sector leaders
By Baker Tilly
Thursday, April 2. Details and registration here .
Massive Federal Stimulus Package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Signed into Law

Last Friday, March 27, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the  CARES Act . Provisions in the Act helpful to municipalities are summarized by the National League of Cities  here .
Reminder - Coordinating with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Updated additional guidance from FEMA here .
Includes "What Local Governments Should Do."

Note: FEMA recommends that local governments follow the guidelines for Procurement Under Grants Conducted Under Exigent or Emergency Circumstances .”

The National League of Cities CitiesSpeak blog on seeking FEMA assistance .
If you don't find what you need or if you have resources to contribute,
please email Jerry Deschane.
NEW 10 Ways You Can Do Your Part: Going the Distance Together  (PDF) By the UW-Madison Communication Collaborative for COVID19 Coronavirus Response Team (This project was initiated by the League.) 
REQUEST - Please send us your photos typifying your experience from this last week for publication in the League's May magazine

Photos will be placed in chronological order. Our goal is to provide a look back at what was happening with you and with your municipalities during these few weeks. It doesn't matter what kind of work you do in service to your community, please share a photo or two!

Photos can be from your work with the City or Village or from your personal experience.

Send your photos straight from your Smartphone in the highest resolution possible to Sandy at

Subject line should be easy for Sandy to flag: Photo for League magazine

In the body of your email, please include:

  • Municipality Name
  • Submitted by or Photo Taken by (so we can give you credit)
  • Date photo was take 
  • Short Caption - just a sentence or two explaining the photo.

We will include as many photos as we can. We will be accepting photos until April 10. You can submit more than once.
AARP WI Hosts Coronavirus Tele-Town Hall With Wisconsin Experts
On March 25, AARP Wisconsin hosted guests from the Wisconsin Department of Health services and other local organizations on a Tele-Town Hall to discuss the COVID-19 outbreak. Listen to it here and share to your networks.
Join the Facebook Politics & Government Outreach Team to learn about tips and tools that State & Local Government partners can leverage on Facebook during this unprecedented time, and have your questions answered in real time. To sign up for one of the three training sessions we are offering, click the corresponding link below:
Monday, Mar 30, 2020 3:00 – 4:00 PM CST
Wednesday, Apr 1, 2020 1:00 – 2:00 PM CST
Friday, Apr 3, 2020 11:00 – 12:00 PM CST
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Please share with any State and Local government agencies, elected officials, or their staff across the nation who may be interested.   
In the News

Nearly 60% of municipalities don't have enough poll workers ahead of April 7 election
Nearly 60% of Wisconsin's municipalities have reported a lack of enough poll workers to staff the April 7 election — amounting to a shortage of more than 6,900 poll workers — due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbeak.

Of the 1,320 municipalities to report poll worker shortages as of Monday, 111 have reported they do not have enough poll workers to staff even one polling place, according to a new memo from the Wisconsin Elections Commission. Read the story...

Evers urges lawmakers to convene as state readies for surge in patients
The state is still preparing for a sharp influx of patients, both those who need acute care and those who have symptoms and need to be isolated to avoid spreading the illness, said Evers and state Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. Wisconsin is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to set up field hospitals to accommodate the overflow if existing hospitals fill to capacity.

“We are headed into the worst of this and the need is only going to get greater,” Evers said. Read the story...

Getting answers: How do I report a non-essential business that is still open? (Note - this is being messaged differently in different jurisdictions.)
Viewers are contacting WKOW and posting to social media about business that have remained open, even though they say those businesses are non-essential.

To report a business you believe should not be open, Gov. Evers' Safer at Home order instructs people to contact their local law enforcement agency.
A list of businesses that can remain open, a link to the full order and contact information if you want a  clarification about your business, are HERE .

If people are worried about their work environment -- for instance, if you feel like it isn't safe or people are not social distancing -- then the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development says you should contact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
OSHA's contact information is  HERE . Read the story...

Mayors take the lead on COVID-19 action
"Every state is in a different stage," he said at the news conference. "I am confident that the decisions that we have made in Idaho, over the past few weeks and months, have been solidly grounded in the advice for epidemiologists and our infectious disease experts."

Conflicts between mayors and governors continued to play out in Florida, too, where GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis said last week he had no intention of calling for a statewide stay-at-home order.

In Miami, Republican Mayor Francis Suarez, who tested positive for the coronavirus and is posting daily video diaries on Instagram from his quarantine, issued a stay-at-home order the night before. "The sooner we take action, the sooner we can return to normalcy," Suarez said. Read the story...
We go to work for you. Please stay home for us!

We know that you have been working hard to keep your community safe and services available. Thank you!

You can download this hot off the press "We go to work for you" graphic as a PDF here .

This work is the result of the League's partnership on messaging with UW Madison that we initiated March 16. Stay tuned for more.
Please consider sharing Facebook posts from the Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services Facebook page to your own Facebook page. Scroll down their page to see what they've posted.

Copy and paste this explanation of #SaferAtHome into your posts:

To slow the spread, limit close interaction to the same 5 people TOTAL, NOT different small groups."  #SaferAtHome
Reminder - Small Business & Downtown Support

The relatively new Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation General Resources for Businesses is here.

League's Small Business and Downtown Resources includes this and other resources.
COVID-19 is a virus that has not previously infected humans and information about its rate of spread and its effects is still largely unknown, which makes it incredibly important to be highly cautious in dealing with the current situation. 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services will continue to provide the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19. You are encouraged to monitor the site for updated guidance as the situation continues to evolve.

Want to share relevant and credible information to your Social Media?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Facebook & on Twitter (Scroll down to see more recent posts.)

The Wisconsin Dept of Health Services (DHS) on Facebook & on Twitter.

And the League's social media: