March 19, 2020 - League of Wisconsin Municipalities - COVID-19 Update #5
COVID-19 Coronavirus Update
League COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable Conference Call
This call is for City/Village Officials, including mgrs./adm.
& Staff Only

TODAY Thursday, March 19 , 2020 - 4:00-5:00 p.m.

We are limited to 150 lines through Wisline at this time.

Call: 1-855-947-8255
Passcode: 5574 824#

Please connect by landline if possible, DO NOT PUT US ON HOLD and, if you can and are not speaking, mute your phone to minimize background noise.

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 will be provided on the League's website and in these Special Edition newsletters, which will also be sent as needed.
Reminder - Important Recommendation!  
Track any spending related to the COVID-19 Pandemic

On the March 18, 2020 call with the White House, it was recommended that local governments track all expenses, including personnel, for possible reimbursement. The White House has not issued any guidance on which categories of spending will potentially qualify for reimbursement.

This is an All America Effort that is "Locally Executed, State Managed & Federally Supported."
There are three Frequently Asked Questions today

Wisconsin Elections Commission’s Latest Actions Regarding Spring Election Preparedness
On March 18 the Wisconsin Elections Commission met and authorized WEC staff to spend up to $200,000 on additional supplies needed for absentee voting, including envelopes and labels. WEC staff has located a supplier of envelopes and plans to purchase 500,000 more for distribution to municipalities that need them.

The commission took the following additional actions regarding the April 7 Spring election:
--WEC staff is directed to develop best practices related to minimizing potential viral transmission during election processes.
--WEC urgently requests the Governor and DHS to help secure a supply of hand sanitizer and other sanitation resources for our clerks and polling places.
--WEC encourages clerks to recruit and train additional poll workers in advance of the election.
--WEC encourages all Wisconsin voters to request an absentee ballot thru and to return the ballot by mail.
--WEC directs all municipal clerks to accommodate in-person absentee voting and registration as required by state law making any changes needed based on local circumstances to the location, hours and processes used.
COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) and Guidance on Procedural Changes for Care Facility Absentee Voting and Polling Place Relocation (Updated)

WEC FAQs on Absentee Envelope Issues and Options COVID-19 -- 3/18/2020

WEC Supplemental FAQs on Absentee Voting and COVID-19 – UPDATED 3/18/2020    

Effect of DHS’ Order #5 on Municipalities
(Prohibitions on gatherings of 10 or more people)
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services’  order  prohibiting mass gatherings of 10 or more persons contains several exemptions, some of which provide local governments with flexibility in handling government operations during the public health emergency. Exemptions of note for municipalities include:

Exemption # 1 – Transportation
Mass transportation.

Exemption # 5 – Government
Law enforcement … and any facility used to respond to natural disasters or public health emergencies.

State and local government facilities, including government service centers, unless prohibited elsewhere in [the] order or another order.

Some municipalities have expressed uncertainty regarding whether they can choose to be more restrictive than the order. The answer is yes. Local government facilities are exempted, but municipalities may still elect to put in place best practices to contend with the public health emergency they are currently facing. The order provides that voluntary cancellation, closure, or limitations on size of gathering beyond the requirements in the order are permitted. Additionally, the Exemption # 5 language “unless prohibited elsewhere in [the] order  or another order ” (emphasis added) allows municipalities to issue orders that are more restrictive than DHS’s order regarding local government facilities and makes the exemption subject to the municipal order. The Governor released this  FAQ  further explaining Exemption # 5.

Despite the exemptions for government facilities, the League is aware that many communities are taking actions to limit gatherings in government facilities, including exploring alternatives such as teleworking, virtual or electronic meetings (in conformity with Open Meetings Law  requirements ), and emergency leave policies for employees. Social distancing and sanitizing practices may also be used for those employees reporting to work, during any physical meetings of governmental bodies, and for members of the public visiting government facilities (to the extent applicable).

Can Restaurants Providing Meals for Carry-out and Delivery Sell Alcohol?
The League has received several questions relating to whether alcohol can be delivered by restaurants that are open for take-out or delivery service.

The answer depends on the facts. With very limited exceptions, that are not applicable here, Wisconsin law requires that sales of alcohol take place in face-to-face transactions at the licensed premise. Wis. Stat. §§ 125.01, 125.272, and 125.51(6). A restaurant with a class “B” beer license can sell beer to consumers for off-premise consumption. If the restaurant also has a “class B” liquor license, it can sell wine in original bottles or containers for off-premise consumption. Sec. 12.51(3)(a). If the municipality has an ordinance authorizing it, the restaurant can also sell intoxicating liquor in original packages or containers. Sec. 125.51(3)(b). Again, sales must take place face-to-face at the licensed premise, so a restaurant delivering food cannot deliver alcohol. Restaurants selling alcohol with carry-out food must ensure the sale takes place at the licensed premise so curbside delivery is not allowed unless there is a parking space or other outside area designated as part of the licensed premise.  
Frequently Asked Questions
From past COVID-19 Newsletters

Municipal Emergency Powers During COVID-19
Answer: See the League's website here . Includes the fact that we are working with the Governor's office to clarify the emergency powers provision.

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.

COVID-19 Information for Election Officials   (Including a  sample news release  encouraging absentee voting)
Please Share this to your own Facebook page!
Click here to share this IMPORTANT SURVEY ON BEHAVIOR from the League's Facebook page to your own page.

No matter where you are this is an IDEAL WAY TO Help your residents BEAT COVID-19 BOREDOM - COMPLETE A SURVEY ON THE CORONAVIRUS

A direct link to the survey >> b

URGENT - Please fill out and share this survey with everyone! It doesn't matter if you are not in Wisconsin, you can still fill it out.

The League has initiated this project with the UW on COVID-19 and we need your help.
If you don't find what you need or if you have resources to contribute,
please email Jerry Deschane.
Are we taking this seriously?
Jerry Deschane's Local Perspective Blog
On a scale of 1-10, how seriously are we taking the Covid-19 Pandemic? On Wednesday, a city administrator told me he went to pick up a to-go order at a local bar/restaurant the night before and found the bar open, with a crowd of folks lined up elbow to elbow. Meanwhile, three Wisconsin counties are reporting “community spread” cases of the illness. Community spread means so many people have the virus in one area that it is now spreading from people within the county; it was not brought in from Italy, China, or a cruise ship. No counties had community spread two days ago; there are three counties today. How many will there be in a week? Are we taking this seriously enough? Read the full blog...
CDC Interim Guidance for
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Guidance as of 3/15/2020

Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities. Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals.

Recommendations for  schools, institutes of higher learning, or businesses  are available.
State issues emergency guidance on remote notarization
Read the article here...
Also posted to our COVID-19 Resource page under Legal Documents & Information/General
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.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Coronavirus web resource page is a good place to look for more information.

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.
Stay well!

You can suggest your own Meme using Curt's photo by commenting on it on the League's Facebook page.

As we say on the League's COVID-19 webpage "We know that you feel the responsibility is on your shoulders to inform and protect your community. You are an important part of that community, so please also take care of yourselves and your families!"

CDC Guidance on Preventing the Spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Homes and Residential Communities. This guidance for people who are known to have the virus, but since it is our understanding that people can have it and be asymptomatic, it seems like good guidance for all.