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Wisconsin COVID Legal Updates: April 9, 2020

Wisconsin COVID Legal Updates: April 9, 2020

April 9 saw Governor Evers publish more guidelines and orders in response to the continued growth of the COVID-19 pandemic in Wisconsin. One such measure ordered the temporary closure of 40 state parks, starting at the end of the day on April 9. The Evers Administration cites overcrowding, litter, and vandalism as recent problems in the parks, and so has ordered them closed until further notice to help flatten the curve. Parks in the southcentral Wisconsin area that are closed include:

  • Aztalan State Park near Lake Mills
  • Blue Mound State Park in Blue Mounds
  • Capital Springs State Recreational Area in Madison
  • Cross Plains State Park
  • Dells of The Wisconsin River State Natural Area near Wisconsin Dells
  • Devil’s Lake State Park near Baraboo
  • Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area near Lodi
  • Governor Dodge State Park in Dodgeville
  • Governor Nelson State Park in Waunakee
  • Lake Kegonsa State Park in Stoughton
  • Mirror Lake State Park in Baraboo
  • Natural Bridge State Park near Prairie du Sac
  • New Glarus Woods State Park in New Glarus
  • Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area near Sauk City
  • Rocky Arbor State Park near Wisconsin Dells
  • Sauk Prairie State Recreational Area between Baraboo and Prairie du Sac
  • The Mackenzie Center near Poynette
  • The Pewit’s Nest State Natural Area in Baraboo
  • Tower Hill State Park in Spring Green
  • Yellowstone Lake State Park near Blanchardville

Wisconsin is also partnering with FEMA and the Army Corp of Engineers to build an alternative care facility (ACF) on Wisconsin State Fair Grounds. The Army Corp of Engineers will contract with local companies to build the facility, which will help cope with the onset of COVID-19 in the Milwaukee area, the area in Wisconsin that has been hardest hit by the pandemic. Details on the patient capacity and estimated time of completion have not yet been released.

Another order from Governor Evers, Emergency Order #22, gives the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services more leeway and flexibility to adapt to new challenges it faces during the public health emergency. This order address new issues faced by fire departments, construction services, and physical public accountants, and several other professions. In particular:

  • Fire departments have more time to file for the “2 percent fire dues program”, which significantly affects a fire department’s operational budget. Fire departments are given greater discretion to postpone inspections or public fire training to focus on responding to the health crisis.
  • Testing deadlines for CPAs have been extended due to closed testing centers.
  • Face-to-face requirements for physical therapists are temporarily suspended.
  • DSPS can also create guidelines to limit paper plan submission requirements for contractors in construction fields to further prevent face-to-face contacts and stopping the spread of COVID.

Finally, Governor Evers reiterated options available for churches looking to celebrate the Easter season while adhering to social distancing. The Governor’s Safer-At-Home order does list religious services as essential. However, in-person religious services are limited to 10 people. The Governor has recommended holding services online, or in a parking lot with congregants staying in their cars. Alternatively, churches may have ceremonies attended by fewer than 10 people, or by more than 10 people if groups of no more than 10 are completely separated into different rooms.

As always, this s a fluid situation with imminent change likely. Stay safe out there, and keep checking back for more information changes as they happen