I hope that you and your family are staying safe, remaining home when possible and following the federal guidelines the CDC has outlined. In short, these are unprecedented times. I and my office remain committed to working with Governor Evers and his administration on issues related to COVID-19, and are staying abreast of the rapidly-changing policies his office has been putting forth.
Governor Evers Loosens Restrictions on Some Businesses
Today, Governor Evers announced that he is loosening restrictions on some non-essential businesses throughout the state, specifically dog groomers, repair services, taxidermy, outdoor recreational rentals, and car washes. Now, these businesses are allowed to operate curb-side drop-off of goods or animals for the purpose having them serviced, repaired, or cared for by the business. Social distancing requirements are still in place, and all monetary transactions must be made by phone or online. You can read the full emergency order here.
While it’s promising to see that the governor has chosen to relax some of these restrictions on our local businesses, it remains unclear as to why these particular industries were chosen when others were not. Regardless, as we work to find answers and towards a sensible solution for our region, I commend all of you who reached out to the governor’s office and asked that he begin making common sense changes that can help our businesses during these unprecedented times. As I’ve said before, opening the door just a crack – in a safe way – can help our local businesses weather the storm until it’s passed.
Paycheck Protection Program Applications
Beginning today, the Small Business Administration resumed accepting Paycheck Protection Program applications. The Paycheck Protection Program, funded through the CARES Act and subsequent federal relief, gives businesses loans that are forgivable, given the business continues to pay its employees. For more information on the Paycheck Protection Program and to apply, visit the Small Business Administration website here.
Brown County Seeing Surge in Cases
Brown County now has more than 800 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with more than 400 of these cases being employees of meatpacking facilities within the county. On Sunday, JBS closed its Green Bay facility due to an outbreak there. At a media briefing today, Wisconsin’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ryan Westergard reiterated that there is no evidence to suggest that it is unsafe to eat meat from JBS or other facilities that have had an outbreak.
Resources for Farmers
While self-employed farmers do not qualify for pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA), there are a number of programs, like the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster loans, that can help Wisconsin farmers. The UW Extension has put together a list of resources for farmers dealing with COVID-19 – you can access the list here.
For those of you who follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you know that I’m making every attempt at getting take-out lunch or dinner for me and my family. While local bars and restaurants are not allowed to host patrons during this time, many great local establishments are providing hungry customers with delivery or take-out options.
My office has worked to compile a list of area establishments providing such offers and published it on my website, RepSteineke.com.
If you are a restaurant owner or know of a business that is missing from this list, please let me know at [email protected]. We will do our best to keep it current.
Thanks for joining me in this effort to help our small businesses!