Hamilton Consulting has created this website to direct clients and colleagues to the latest information on how Gov. Tony Evers, Wisconsin state agencies, and the Legislature are responding to COVID-19. Please keep in mind that as the situation continues to evolve quickly, the Hamilton Consulting team will try to keep this page as updated as possible. If you have any additional questions, please contact a member of the Hamilton Consulting team.
Current number of cases in Wisconsin (updated by Department of Health Services daily)
Wisconsin hospital admissions and equipment availability (from Wisconsin Hospital Association)
Status of Badger Bounceback reopening criteria (Department of Health Services)
Table of Contents
Executive & Emergency Orders
Health Care & Insurance
Economic Development & Workforce
Federal Legislation & Guidance
State & Federal Resources
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Resources
Wisconsin Response Timeline
Executive & Emergency Orders
Legislative Council Table of Emergency Orders
Emergency Order #1 Statewide Mask Requirement
Executive Order #82 Declaration of Public Health Emergency
Emergency Order #36 Opening retail with maximum five customers, opening drive in theaters. (Malls remain closed.)
Emergency Order #35 Suspending emergency rules related to Medicaid, allowing more telehealth services.
Emergency Order #34 Allowing all nonessential businesses to open for curbside dropoff. The order also allows for contactless rental of outdoor recreational equipment.
Emergency Order #33 Suspending rules requiring retail signatures for receipt of alcohol and cigarettes.
Emergency Order #32 Alternative care facility at State Fair Park
Emergency Order #31 Reopening plan
The “Badger Bounceback Plan” is Gov. Evers’s phased approach for dialing back the Safer at Home order and reopening the Wisconsin economy. Safer at Home remains in place. DHS will determine when the state can begin Phase 1, then when Wisconsin can advance to the next phase.
- Mass gatherings up to 10 people
- Restaurants reopen with social distancing requirements
- Additional operations of other non-essential businesses
- K-12 schools resume in-person
- Child care resumes
- Mass gatherings up to 50 people
- Restaurants at full operation
- Bars and nonessential businesses reopen with social distancing requirements
- Post-secondary education operations resume
- All business activity resumes with minimal protective and preventative measures.
- More protective measures for vulnerable populations.
Under the order, “the state must show progress or advancement” in testing, tracing, tracking, personal protective equipment, and health care capacity. The order sets an ultimate testing goal of 85,000 tests per week but otherwise does not set numerical benchmarks. The criteria for movement between phases are a “downward trajectory” in a 14-day period of symptoms and cases.
The order also states that DHS may set localized orders, though supplemental documents note that “metrics will be applied on a statewide basis.”
“Badger Bounce Back” Plan
Emergency Order #30 Suspending rules for water system, septic service, and wastewater treatment operators
Emergency Order #29 UW System rule suspension
Emergency Order #28 Extending Safer at Home until May 26, loosening some restrictions after April 24. *Invalidated by Supreme Court decision
Emergency Order #27 Tourism
Adjusts timelines for tourism marketing grant applications under the Department of Tourism.
Emergency Order #24 Emergency overweight commodity permits
Emergency Order #23 Assistance to Needy Veterans program
Emergency Order #22 Department of Safety & Professional Services flexibility related to fire departments, construction services, physical therapists and certified public accountants.
Executive Order #74 Moving the spring election date to June 9, 2020 and calling the Legislature into special session to address the election date. Voters may continue to request absentee ballots until then and those already submitted will be counted. Local elected office terms are extended until the results of the June date are finalized.
Emergency Order #21 Making changes to EMS/EMT licensing rules, home health services, nurse aid training programs, and narcotics treatment programs, among other health facilities rules.
Emergency Order #20 Revising EO 16, related to health care provider licensing
Executive Order #73 Calling for a special session of the legislature to make election changes for the April 7 election
Emergency Order #19 Information sharing among first responders and health officials.
Emergency Order #18 Suspending certain Department of Children and Families rules
Emergency Order #17 Suspending Department of Natural Resources rules so that dairy farmers may dispose of unused milk
Emergency Order #16 Health care provider credentialing
Effective immediately, the order:
- Allows health care providers with a license issued by another state to practice in Wisconsin. Within 10 days of beginning to practice in Wisconsin, providers must obtain a temporary Wisconsin license, which lasts for 30 days after the conclusion of the public health emergency.
- Expands the ability of physicians to practice telemedicine in Wisconsin.
- Provides more flexibility for physician assistants to practice to the extent of their experience, education and training.
- Allows nurses close to graduation to help with COVID-19 treatment.
- Suspends some practice restrictions for advanced practice nurses.
- Provides the Department of Safety & Professional Services flexibility to eliminate licensing fees as needed.
Emergency Order #15 Temporary ban on evictions and foreclosures
Effective immediately and remains in effect for 60 days.
Emergency Order #14 Extending emergency transportation permits to assist with grocery supply efforts
Extends permits until April 11.
Emergency Order #13 Minor work permits
Exempts employers from certain requirements when hiring 14 and 15 year olds during the public health emergency.
Emergency Order #12 – Safer at Home
Effective 8:00 a.m. Wednesday, March 24 through Friday, April 24, the order directs all individuals in Wisconsin to stay at home. Persons may leave their home to:
- Obtain health care
- Obtain necessary supplies
- Engage in outdoor activity complying with social distancing requirements
- Perform work at essential business operations
- For any safety reasons
The order also directs all non-essential business and operations to cease. Essential businesses to remain open include the federal guidance on essential workforce and:
- Health care and the health care supply chain
- Food supply chain
- Other stores that sell groceries and medicine
- Restaurants and bars for take out and delivery only
- Building management and maintenance
- Transportation services
- Communications services
- Child care, in accordance with emergency order #6
- Charitable and social services
- Financial institutions and services
- Other “critical trades” as defined in the order
- Mail services
- Professional services, including legal and insurance services
- Manufacturing of critical products and industries
Businesses are encouraged to consult https://wedc.org/essentialbusiness/ to determine if they are considered an essential operation eligible to remain open.
All forms of non-essential travel are prohibited.
Essential government functions, including first responders and emergency management and the Legislature, remain open.
Safer at Home FAQs
Emergency Order #10 – Providing Department of Public Instruction flexibility.
Emergency Order #9 – Suspending admissions to state prisons.
Emergency Order #8 – Updating the mass gathering ban.
Emergency Order #7 – Waiving work search requirements for unemployment insurance.
Effective March 12, 2020, unemployment insurance claimants are no longer required to complete the ordinarily required four work search actions per week to be eligible for benefits. The order also ensures that claimants who are otherwise eligible but out of work due to COVID-19 are eligible for benefits.
Emergency Order #6 – Restricting the size of child care settings.
Effective 8 a.m. Thursday, March 19, 2020, child care settings may not operate with more than 10 staff and 50 children present. The order directs parents to practice social distancing to the extent possible during pick up and drop off. The order also asks providers to prioritize families of health care and essential service providers. (Department of Children & Families guidance.)
Emergency Order #5 – Prohibiting mass gatherings of 10 people or more. (Supersedes previous emergency order)
Emergency Order – Prohibiting mass gatherings of 50 people or more.
Executive Order #72 – Declaring a public health emergency.
The order directs the state Department of Health Services to lead the response, including by suspending provisions of administrative rules that would hinder response actions or increase the health threat. The order directs all state agencies to assist as appropriate. Additionally, the order declares a period of economic disruption and directs the Department of Trade, Agriculture & Consumer Protection to enforce prohibitions against price gouging.
- Legislature v. Evers lawsuit – The Wisconsin Supreme Court has invalidated Gov. Evers’s Safer at Home Order.
- COVID-19 Bill: SB 932/AB 1038 (Act 185)
Passed Assembly April 14, passed Senate April 15, signed into law April 15
Legislative Council summary of Act 185 provisions’ expiration dates
Gov. Evers statement on Act 185
LFB summary memo
Hamilton Consulting summary
- Republican Legislature’s proposed bill and comparison to Gov. Evers’s previous proposals
- Assembly Republicans letter to Gov. Evers on federal funding priorities.
- Gov. Evers’s proposed bills
- Letter from Democratic legislators to legislative leadership.
- Other legislation introduced to address COVID-19:
- LRB 6434/2 Shielding Wisconsin businesses, schools, universities, and other entities from the threat of lawsuits alleging liability for COVID-19 exposures. Coalition Memo
- LRB 6176 Exempting from penalty businesses that remain open during COVID-19 (Rep. Cody Horlacher, R-Mukwonago)
- LRB 5830 Clarifying the taxpayers will not be penalized for filing taxes under the new deadline from the executive branch – July 15, 2020 (Sen. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield)
- SB 906/AB 1034 Waiving the one week waiting period for unemployment benefits during the public health emergency (Sen. Andre Jacque, R-De Pere & Rep. Teig Pronschinske, R-Mondovi)
- SB 911/AB 1033 Allowing departments to hire or re-hire retirees to protective service or corrections positions during the current emergency period without having to suspend their pension payments through WRS over the next year (Sen. Andre Jacque, R-De Pere & Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls)
- SB 912 Postponing local board of review meetings to review objections to local assessments during a public health emergency (Sen. Andre Jacque, R-De Pere)
- SB 913 Requiring the Department of Health Services to consider audio-only mental health therapy as telehealth eligible for coverage in Medicaid. Also requires health insurers to provide coverage. (Sen. Andre Jacque, R-De Pere)
- SB 914 Public meetings during a state of emergency (Sen. Andre Jacque, R-De Pere)
- SB 915 Providing reciprocal licensing with other states (Sen. Andre Jacque, R-De Pere)
- SB 923/AB 1037 Legislative authority in times of emergency (Sen. David Craig, R-Big Bend & Rep. Shae Sortwell, R-Two Rivers)
- SB 926 Giving municipalities flexibility to extend property tax due dates during a public health emergency (Sen. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield)
- SB 927/AB 1035 Exempting medical equipment used to treat COVID-19 from the Unfair Sales Act (Sen. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield & Rep. Jim Ott, R-Mequon)
- SB 928 Allowing health care providers to practice at the top of their individual training, education and experience and allowing providers from other states to practice in Wisconsin (Sen. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield)
- SB 930 Extending the deadline for contributions to colleges savings accounts during the public health emergency (Sen. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield)
- SB 931 Alcohol delivery during a public health emergency (Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee)
- Senate Resolution 7 Acknowledging and condemning that the Communist Party of China misled the world on the coronavirus and standing in solidarity with the Chinese people
- Voter Protection Package (Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee)
- Legislative Fiscal Bureau & Legislative Council resources:
- March 24 Senate floor period postponed. Senate may meet in extraordinary session at a later date to finish final business of 2019-20 session. (Legislative Council memo on reviving legislation in extraordinary session.)
- Possibility for Legislature to meet virtually. Senate President Roger Roth letter.
- Legislation in other states – National Conference of State Legislatures and Kaiser Family Foundation
Health Care & Insurance
Office of the Commissioner of Insurance
- OCI urges Wisconsinites who have lost their health insurance coverage at any point this year to visit HealthCare.gov to enroll in healthcare coverage that works for them.
- OCI bulletin on Wisconsin COVID-19 legislation
- On April 9, OCI issued guidance for workers who lose their employer-provided health care coverage. OCI is encouraging laid off employees to seek coverage through HealthCare.gov during the 60-day special enrollment period after they become unemployed. FAQs for employers.
- United HealthCare and Anthem are among insurers who have waived all out-of-pocket costs for treatment of COVID-19.
- OCI issued guidance for medical malpractice insurers, requesting insurers work to remove barriers to issuing timely coverage for telehealth and for providers temporarily authorized to work in Wisconsin.
- OCI issued guidance on transitional health plans, following guidance issued by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. OCI is allowing insurers to renew transitional health plans as long as the policies come into compliance with the Affordably Care Act by Jan. 1, 2022.
- OCI issued guidance on business interruption insurance during COVID-19.
- OCI issued guidance clarifying and encouraging small employers who have reduced employee hours to less than 30 hours per week to voluntarily continue to offer health care coverage to employees. OCI is also encouraging insurers to work with employers to provide the option of continuing dental, vision, and prescription drug benefits when offered as separate policies to employees whose hours have been reduced.
- OCI is making temporary changes to requirements for online continuing education courses.
- Another bulletin from OCI:
- Encourages insurers to offer flexibility to insureds who are incurring economic hardship. Accommodations will not be viewed as violating insurance laws.
- States that no regulatory filings will be deemed automatically approved after 30 days.
- Encourages electronic filings.
- OCI has issued corporate governance guidance to insurers on annual meeting requirements and is offering flexibility on regulatory filing deadlines. March 15 bulletin. Open for public comment until April 14.
- The state Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) has issued a bulletin requesting health plans to remove barriers to testing and treatment of COVID-19. OCI requested insurers:
- Review their preparedness for issuing information and timely access to services to insureds, including making information available on their websites.
- Waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 tests and related visits.
- Ensure telehealth programs are robust and able to meet increased demand.
- Ensure adequacy of provider networks to handle increased demand.
- Expedite prior authorization.
- Cover immunization for COVID-19 in the event it becomes available.
- Provide flexibility on prescription drug supply and early refill limitations.
- Many Wisconsin insurers are waiving members’ coronavirus testing costs, including Alliance of Health Insurers members Anthem and United HealthCare.
Department of Health Services
- DHS launches “You Stop the Spread” multimedia campaign.
- After the Supreme Court invalidated Safer at Home, DHS submitted, then later withdrew, a scope statement to begin emergency rulemaking on COVID-19.
- Under Emergency Order #35, DHS has suspended rules to ensure that Medicaid members maintain eligibility. The rule suspension is consistent with requirements for receiving additional Medicaid funding under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The order also allows nurses to bill Medicaid for overtime; suspends prior authorization for some drugs; suspends number of refills and supply for some prescriptions; allows telehealth within mental health and substance use disorder treatment programs.
- DHS submitted a federal waiver request to make changes to the Medicaid program in response to COVID-19. The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has approved the 1135 wavier request.
- DHS numbers show that Safer at Home is working. Wisconsin’s rate of doubling of infections has increased from an initial 3.4 days to 12 days.
- Gov. Evers joined several other governors in requesting the federal government open a special enrollment period on the Affordable Care Act exchange.
- DHS has created a Wisconsin Emergency Assistance Volunteer Registry to recruit volunteer health care providers.
- DHS has announced increased contact tracing capabilities.
- DHS has begun a Resilient Wisconsin initiative to help Wisconsinites deal with adversity related to COVID-19 and the economic shutdown.
- Gov. Evers has issued an emergency order on appropriate COVID-19 information sharing among first responders and health officials.
- DHS is encouraging patients and providers to use telehealth during the public health emergency.
- An update to the Joint Finance Committee from DHS projects that Medicaid enrollment and expenditures will increase significantly in the next quarter.
- DHS guidance on domestic and international travel.
- ForwardHealth provider news and resources on COVID-19.
Economic Development & Workforce
- Department of Workforce Development (DWD) submitted a grant application for Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program and is currently awaiting federal approval.
- Gov. Evers has announced a $75 million small business grant program funded by federal CARES Act dollars
- Emergency rule on work search actions, availability for work, and work available for people filing claims with the unemployment insurance program during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation reopening guidelines for businesses
- Republican legislators have asked the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to start pre-approving unemployment insurance applications, citing the need to speed up the process of getting benefits to those out of work.
- Legislative Council issue brief on unemployment insurance during COVID-19
- DWD has begun emergency rulemaking to require employers to notify laid-off employees of unemployment insurance availability. Currently, employers must post notices about unemployment insurance in the workplace. (Scope Statement 018-20, public hearing April 23)
- Legislative Council memo on special unemployment benefits for employees affected by the public health emergency.
- DWD has issued a scope statement to begin rulemaking implementing federal guidance on administering unemployment insurance during the pandemic period. The scope statement also includes modifications to work search requirements ordered by Gov. Evers in emergency order #7. (Scope Statement 013-20)
- Unemployment insurance work search requirements waived. (Emergency order #7)
- Unemployment insurance claimants who are otherwise eligible but out of work due to COVID-19 are eligible for benefits. (Emergency order #7)
- Gov. Evers and DWD are looking to work with the Legislature to repeal the one week wait for unemployment insurance benefits.
- DWD is encouraging employers to utilize the Work-Share Program and reduce employee hours as an alternative to laying off employees
- Gov. Evers requested funding from the Small Business Administration (SBA) for Economic Injury Disaster Loans. The program provides up to $2 million in financial assistance to businesses with 500 or fewer employees. SBA approved the loans on March 20.
- WEDC Small Business 20/20 Program. A $5 million dollar grant program that will allow businesses with 20 or less employees the ability to apply for a $20,000 grant that can be put toward regular expenses like payroll and rent.
- WEDC task force to help small businesses. (More information to come.)
- Gov. Evers has also directed WEDC to work with other agencies in creating a longer-term economic recovery unit.
After various court rulings and controversy between the governor and legislature, Wisconsin’s April 7 election to elect a Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice and select a Democratic presidential candidate, as well as local offices, proceeded with few changes to in-person voting and absentee voter requirements. April 7 election results.
- Before election results were released, on April 13 a group of Milwaukee-area residents filed a class action lawsuit against the Legislature and the Wisconsin Elections Commission seeking a partial revote for the April 7 election and election changes for Wisconsin’s remaining elections in 2020. (Plaintiffs’ press release)
- On April 6, Gov. Evers issued Executive Order #74, moving the spring election date to June 9, 2020 and calling the Legislature into special session to address the election date. Voters may continue to request absentee ballots until then and those already submitted will be counted. Local elected office terms are extended until the results of the June date are finalized. Legislative leaders immediately filed an emergency petition for original action and motion for temporary injunction with the Wisconsin Supreme Court to block the governor from moving the election (memo in support of the filings). Later the same day, the Supreme Court approved the Legislature’s motion, reinstating in person voting for April 7.
- On April 3, Gov. Evers called for a special session of the legislature to make changes for the April 7 election, including: Making the election mail-in only, sending ballots to all registered voters who have not yet requested one, and extending the time for ballots to be received to May 26. The legislature gaveled in and out of the session without taking up any legislation.
- Gov. Evers has deployed the National Guard to help at polls on election day.
- Several lawsuits filed related to elections during COVID-19. Legislative council memo on federal court actions. Hamilton Consulting summary of pre-election litigation
- Three cases consolidated by a federal judge. Ruling: No change in election date, but absentee ballots may be received until April 13; absentee ballots may be requested until 5 p.m. on April 3; waived absentee voting witness requirement. The judge’s amended order notes that results will not be made public until April 13. After a federal appeals judge declined to take up the case, Republicans appealed directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. The night before the election, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the district judge’s ruling. The decision says absentee ballots must be postmarked by April 7 and received by April 13. Ballots delivered in person must be delivered on April 7.
The state Department of Justice, representing Gov. Evers, had submitted a brief asking that the court again extend the deadline for requesting an absentee ballot and relax witness signature requirements, among other recommendations, while still keeping in person voting on April 7.
- The Democratic National Committee has filed a lawsuit seeking to move the mail-in registration deadline and waive voter ID requirements during the pandemic. A federal judge extended the deadline to request a mail-in ballot to April 2.
- The League of Women Voters has filed a lawsuit seeking to waive the witness signature requirement on absentee ballots during the pandemic.
- Another lawsuit filed by Souls to the Polls, Voces de la Frontera and Black Leaders Organizing for Communities argues that minority voters will be disenfranchised if the Wisconsin Elections Commission does not move the April 7 election date.
- The City of Green Bay has filed a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Elections Commission, Gov. Evers, and DHS Secretary Andrea Palm, seeking to move the election date and switch to mail-in voting only. A federal judge dismissed the case on March 27.
- The Republican Party of Wisconsin has asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to intervene in Milwaukee and Dane counties, where clerks have said voters may note their status as “indefinitely confined” to avoid voter ID requirements. A Supreme Court order barred election officials from giving such advice.
- Gov. Evers called on the Legislature via Twitter to send absentee ballots to all Wisconsin voters. Legislative leadership said this would not be logistically feasible in time for the April 7 election. Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald statement. Assembly GOP statement.
- On March 22, a large group of local officials sent Gov. Evers and legislative leadership a letter asking for options to make holding elections easier on municipalities and voters in the midst of COVID-19.
- The governor’s office is currently working with the Wisconsin Elections Commission and local election officials on obtaining sanitizing supplies to keep polling sites clean, obtaining more absentee ballots, recruiting poll workers, and addressing other issues related to the unusual circumstances of these elections.
- Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) & Rep. Jonathan Brostoff (D-Milwaukee) have released a legislative package of measures to address elections during a public health emergency.
- Gov. Evers initially maintained that he would not move the date of the April 7 elections in Wisconsin. The governor and other state and local officials encouraged voters to request absentee ballots. Legislative leaders indicated they agreed with the governor’s decision not to move the election date.
- PSCW further extended the utility shut-off moratorium for only residential customers until October 1.
- PSCW extended the utility shut-off moratorium for only residential customers until September 1.
- The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) awarded $1 million in telehealth grants to Wisconsin health centers.
- PSCW has opened a docket to ensure safe, reliable and affordable access to utility services during the public health emergency (comments due April 10). Under a second docket, PSCW will investigate how to treat utility costs to address COVID-19 for accounting purposes (comments due April 3).
- PSCW has directed water, electric, and natural gas utilities to suspend disconnections for nonpayment during the public health emergency. Utilities must make reasonable attempts to reconnect services where service has been disconnected.
- Gov. Evers suspended several utility related rules, giving PSCW flexibility to address the public health emergency. PSCW then directed utilities to:
- Stop utility disconnection for all customers, including commercial and industrial.
- Cease assessing late fees.
- Allow deferred payment agreements for customers who request them.
- Remove administrative barriers to establishing service.
- Authorize water utilities to provide budget billing arrangements.
- On Sept. 14, the Gov. Evers and the Department of Tourism announced the Tourism Relief to Accelerate Vitality and Economic Lift (TRAVEL) stimulus grant program. This $8 million effort to provide much-needed support to the tourism industry.
- Gov. Evers announced $5 million COVID-19 Cultural Organization Grant Program on Sept. 3.
- Beginning May 11, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation will offer pilot programs for online driver’s license renewal and probationary licenses without road tests.
- Emergency Order #24 allows the DOT to issue and waive fees for emergency overweight commodity permits, expanding Emergency Order #14.
- DOT is issuing COVID-19 Relief Effort Supply Permits for trucks operating on Wisconsin highways to exceed normal weight limits, waiving the fees for transportation of inventory to supply grocery retailers, and waiving truck driver hours. Emergency Order #14 extends these permits to April 11.
- The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance offered guidance to restaurants regarding insurance coverage for delivery drivers in the extraordinary circumstances of the public health emergency.
- The Department of Trade, Agriculture & Consumer Protection is allowing gasoline sellers to sell gasoline with high Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) through the month of April. Normally, high RVP gas may not be sold in the summer.
- Wisconsin Department of Revenue released guidance on audit and collection during COVID-19. Among other measures, the guidance:
- Reminds taxpayers that if they cannot pay their entire tax bill at once, they can file an installment agreement. Taxpayers that already have an installment agreement, but are unable to meet the obligations under that agreement, may request a temporary suspension in payments.
- States that DOR generally will not start new field audits on small businesses during the public health emergency.
- Wisconsin’s Department of Revenue matched the federal government by extending the state tax filing deadline to June 15.
- The Department of Trade, Agriculture & Consumer Protection has approved an emergency rule banning late fees for missed rent payments due to COVID-19.
- DATCP has begun rulemaking on updating Wisconsin’s price gouging enforcement in light of the COVID-19 pubic health emergency.
Wisconsin courts remain operational but with reduced calendaring.
- The Wisconsin Supreme Court has convened a task force to look at court operations during the pandemic. Task force report
- Validity of current State Bar membership cards extended until September 30, 2020.
- Subject to certain exceptions, all proceedings in the courts of this state are to be conducted via remote audio-video technology if practicable. (Supreme Court order, order indefinitely extending suspension of in-person proceedings)
- Wisconsin Supreme Court March 18, March 30, and April 1 oral arguments cancelled. April oral arguments will be live streamed.
- State courts administrative offices closed until at least April 3. (March 17 press release)
- Some appellate filing deadlines extended and other filing procedures amended. (Supreme Court order, extended order)
- Nonemergency motions to the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court are discouraged through April 3. (Supreme Court order)
- Many individual circuit courts have issued emergency orders related to COVID-19. (See COVID-19 tab at https://www.wicourts.gov/.)
- The Supreme Court has also temporarily increased the number of credits from on-demand programs that lawyers may use to satisfy CLE requirements.
- Civil and criminal jury trials are suspended until May 22.
- The Supreme Court has postponed bar admissions ceremonies through May and instituted temporary procedures for admission to the bar.
- The Supreme Court has established a temporary rule for the remote administration of oaths at depositions via remote audio-visual equipment. (Rule extended until May 22.)
- The Supreme Court will hold a public hearing on May 1 (with written comments open until April 24) and its interim rule to temporarily suspend statutory deadlines for civil jury trials due to the pandemic.
- LRB memo: Prisoners released due to COVID-19
- The Department of Corrections suspended admissions to all state prisons to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
- Gov. Evers announced an additional $30 million of federal CARES Act dollars will be directed toward supporting early care and education providers.
- The Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed to take a case between religious schools and the Dane County Public Health Director. In addition, the Court gave the petitioners a temporary injunction, meaning the ban on in-person K-12 classes may not be enforced.
- On August 28, new original action lawsuit was filed with the Supreme Court, against Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Dane County Public Health Officer Janel Heinrich.
- On August 26, a lawsuit was filed with the Wisconsin Supreme Court against the Dane County Public Health Officer Heinrich for closing schools to in-person attendance for children grades 3-12.
- Public Health Madison and Dane County ordered all schools in Dane County to begin the school year with grades 3 through 12 virtually. Emergency Order #9, which contains the virtual school mandate goes into effect Aug. 24.
- The Department of Health Services (DHS) released Guidelines for the Prevention, Investigation, and Control of Covi-19 Outbreaks in K-12 Schools in Wisconsin.
- Gov. Evers announced $46.6 million for K-12 schools through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER Fund), established under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
- The Department of Public Instruction has released guidance (Education Forward) and Reopening School Buildings Risk Assessment Tool for schools on reopening safely.
- In emergency order #5, Gov. Evers ordered all Wisconsin schools closed.
- Gov. Evers also directed the Department of Public Instruction to suspend rules related to hours of public instruction, student teacher assessments, and other general flexibility to address COVID-19.
Federal Legislation & Guidance
Federal guidelines for states reopening
COVID “3.5” Legislation
- $310 billion more for Paycheck Protection Program
- $60 billion Small Business Administration disaster assistance loans and grants
- $75 billion to hospitals
- $25 billion for testing
Coronavirus Relief Act (CARES Act)
- Direct one-time payments to Americans making up to $99,000 per year
- $500 billion corporate liquidity fund
- $377 billion aid for small businesses
- Boosts maximum unemployment benefits
Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo on state Coronavirus Relief Fund
Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo on CARES Act
Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo on CARES Act rebate
Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo on Coronavirus Relief Fund monies under the federal CARES Act
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
- 10 days paid leave benefits for workers (capped at companies with 500 or more employees; employers with fewer than 50 employees can apply for a waiver)
- Unemployment benefits
- Free testing
FFCRA FAQs from the U.S. Department of Labor
Legislative Fiscal Bureau summary memos – FFCRA, FFCRA modifications
State tax changes from CARES and FFCRA (Legislative Fiscal Bureau)
IRS Guidance on HSAs
- IRS Notice 2020-15 says reduced-cost or free COVID-19 testing or treatment won’t prevent individuals from making or receiving health savings account contributions. Individuals covered by high deductible health plans will not lose eligibility to make or receive health savings account contributions if their plan permits pre-deductible COVID-19 testing and treatment without cost sharing. More information.
Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce
- The guidance includes chemicals, commercial facilities, communications, critical manufacturing, emergency services, energy, financial services, food and agriculture, government, health care, information technology, transportation systems, and water and wastewater systems as essential.
State & Federal Resources
Center for Disease Control
Federal Department of Health & Human Services
Federal Department of Justice
All State Government Resources
Wisconsin Department of Health Services
Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
Wisconsin Department of Trade, Agriculture & Consumer Protection
Public Service Commission of Wisconsin
Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions
Wisconsin Department of Children & Families
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
University of Wisconsin System
Wisconsin PPE Donation/Buyback Program
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Resources
More information from WMC at https://www.wmc.org/home/coronavirus-covid-19-business-resource-center/.
Wisconsin Response Timeline
July 30, 2020. Gov. Evers issues Executive Order declaring Public Health Emergency and requiring face coverings statewide
July 23, 2020. Gov. Evers announces a directive for state agencies to identify $250 million in additional savings for the current fiscal year (FY 20-21).
June 17, 2020. Gov. Evers announces $46 million for K-12 schools and $37 million to higher education partners
June 11, 2020. Gov. Evers announces $40 Million for hospitals.
May 21, 2020. Gov. Evers announces $100 million for long-term care, home and community based services, and emergency medical services.
May 20, 2020. Gov. Evers announces $50 million for relief for farmers, $15 million food security initiative, and $25 million rental assistance program.
May 19, 2020. Gov. Evers announces $1 billion effort to support COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, acquisition of needed supplies, emergency operations, and resources for local communities.
May 18, 2020. DHS withdraws COVID-19 emergency rulemaking scope statement.
May 18, 2020. Gov. Evers announces a $75 million small business grant program funded by federal CARES Act dollars
May 14, 2020. Gov. Evers approves scope statement for DHS to begin rulemaking to address COVID-19.
May 13, 2020. Wisconsin Supreme Court invalidates Safer at Home order.
May 11, 2020. The 60-day emergency period declared by the governor expires.
May 11, 2020. Gov. Evers issues Emergency Order #36, opening retail with maximum five customers and opening drive in theaters.
May 8, 2020. Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation releases reopening guidelines for businesses.
May 5, 2020. Wisconsin Supreme Court hears oral arguments in case challenging Safer at Home order.
May 4, 2020. Gov. Evers releases plan to boost testing capacity.
May 1, 2020. Assembly leaders send a letter requesting a meeting with Gov. Evers.
May 1, 2020. Gov. Evers announces community testing sites.
April 30, 2020. Wisconsin receives 230,000 N95 masks and a decontamination system from Federal Emergency Management Agency.
April 30, 2020. Assembly committee holds public hearing on WMC Back to Business plan.
April 28, 2020. Most state parks reopen, with some limitations.
April 27, 2020. Gov. Evers issues Emergency Order 34, allowing all nonessential businesses to open for curbside dropoff. The order also allows for contactless rental of outdoor recreational equipment.
April 24, 2020. Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce releases its “Back to Business” plan.
April 21, 2020. The Legislature files a petition for original action with the Wisconsin Supreme Court, seeking an injunction of the extension of the Safer at Home order.
April 20, 2020. Gov. Evers lays out his plan for reopening Wisconsin’s economy in Emergency Order #31, the “Badger Bounce Back” plan.
April 16, 2020. Gov. Evers directs DHS Secretary Palm to extend the Safer at Home order to May 26 (Emergency Order #28)
April 15, 2020. Wisconsin Senate meets to pass COVID-19 legislation. Gov. Evers signs the legislation into law. Gov. Evers joins Michigan and Pennsylvania in asking for federal resources to address the state’s estimated revenue shortfall.
April 14, 2020. Wisconsin Assembly meets to pass COVID-19 legislation.
Legislative Reference Bureau: The first 30 days of the COVID-19 public health emergency in Wisconsin
April 9, 2020. Gov. Evers closes some state parks and issues Emergency Order #22, providing Department of Safety & Professional Services flexibility related to fire departments, construction services, physical therapists and certified public accountants.
April 7, 2020. Wisconsin spring election – read more in the Elections section above.
April 3, 2020. Gov. Evers calls for a special session of the legislature to make changes for the April 7 election.
April 1, 2020. Marquette Poll asks Wisconsin voters about COVID-19.
March 31, 2020. Gov. Evers requests from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) a federal disaster declaration for the entire state of Wisconsin; the entire Wisconsin congressional delegation joined his request. FEMA granted the request on April 4.
March 31, 2020. Gov. Evers announces that Wisconsin has received a second phase of personal protective equipment from the Strategic National Stockpile. The governor also announced the opening of isolation facilities in Madison and Milwaukee, along with guidance for other municipalities to open their own facilities.
March 30, 2020. Gov. Evers announces a public-private partnership with several Wisconsin businesses to increase laboratory testing capacity.
March 27, 2020. Gov. Evers issues Emergency Order #15, temporarily banning evictions and foreclosures, and Emergency Order #16, providing flexibility for health care provider scope of practice and credentialing.
March 26, 2020. Gov. Evers launches Wisconsin’s personal protective equipment donation/buyback program.
March 26, 2020. Gov. Evers delivers the Democratic weekly radio address on his Safer at Home order. Assembly Speaker Vos gives the GOP weekly radio address on the Wisconsin response to COVID-19.
March 24, 2020. Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul joined other state attorneys general in asking President Trump to fully utilize the Defense Production Act to prioritize production of medical equipment to fight COVID-19.
March 25, 2020. Legislative leaders hold a media availability on COVID-19 response.
March 24, 2020. Gov. Evers issues “Safer at Home” order, directing all individuals in Wisconsin to stay at home, limiting non-essential travel, and ceasing all non-essential business operations. DHS & Gov. Evers media briefing.
March 23, 2020. Gov. Evers announced via Twitter that he will issue on Tuesday, March 24, a “Safer at Home” order, closing non-essential businesses (modeled after federal essential workforce guidance). DHS & Gov. Evers media briefing. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos & Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald statement.
March 22, 2020. Gov. Evers suspends several utility related rules.
March 21, 2020. Gov. Evers and Wisconsin Emergency Management ask the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist the state in obtaining protective medical supplies for first responders.
March 21, 2020. Legislative leaders respond to Wisconsin’s COVID-19 response, thanking health care workers and the Evers administration for their efforts. According to Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald, Senate President Roger Roth, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos & Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, “further shutdown of business in Wisconsin is unnecessary.” Another message from Gov. Evers urges Wisconsinites to stay home.
March 21, 2020. Department of Corrections suspends admissions to state prisons. Department of Revenue extends tax filing deadline.
March 20, 2020. Gov. Evers updates emergency order #5, banning mass gatherings of 10 people or more and specifically closing salons, tattoo parlors, etc.
March 19, 2020. Gov. Evers delivers the Democrats’ weekly radio address on COVID-19. Assembly Speaker Vos delivers the Republican weekly radio address on COVID-19.
March 18, 2020. Gov. Evers issues emergency order #7, waiving work search requirements for unemployment insurance, and emergency order #6, restricting the size of child care settings to no more than 10 staff and 50 children.
March 18, 2020. WEDC announces Small Business 20/20 grant program and requests funding for Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans. SBA approved the loans on March 20.
March 17, 2020. Gov. Evers and DHS issue emergency order #5, prohibiting mass gatherings of 10 or more. DHS media briefing.
March 16, 2020. Gov. Evers and DHS issue an emergency order prohibiting mass gatherings of 50 or more. DHS & Gov. Evers media briefing.
March 12, 2020. Gov. Evers issues executive order #72, declaring a public health emergency. Gov. Evers media briefing.
March 6, 2020. OCI issues a bulletin requesting health plans remove barriers to testing and treatment of COVID-19.
See News Clips for the latest press coverage on COVID-19 in Wisconsin.