City of Madison Actions on Coronavirus: Updated March 24
The City of Madison has been working around the clock since before the first Dane County case on February 5th to slow the transmission of the COVID-19 virus and protect our community. We are actively coordinating with school, county, state and federal agencies to respond to the latest information and developments.
Below are brief updates on the status of some of our efforts as of March 23rd. Expect more details in the coming days as our incredibly dedicated staff continue to work on these issues
On Tuesday, March 17, Governor Evers issued a "Safer at Home" directive today, and I will do the same at the City. We will provide more details soon.
COORDINATED GOVERNMENT RESPONSE
We continue to work closely with our county, state, and federal partners to coordinate efforts on the ground relating to immediate response to COVID-19. Together, we're navigating difficult challenges from transportation of critical employees across sectors to coordination of childcare for such workers to structures in support of homeless individuals and families. In addition to such collaboration, we're engaging regularly with the Governor's Office as well as our federal delegation on advocating for timely and critical needs such as support for workers, families, and business; personal protective equipment to keep our healthcare systems up and running; and flexibility in funding to support critical services to limit the severity of COVID-19 impacts on our community. While we are merely in the early days of community spread, we are fortunate to have close working relationships and strong communication across levels of government. Please know that we are working closely with our colleagues around the clock to respond to the continued and growing challenges that this pandemic has brought upon our community.
We are encouraging anyone who is able, to vote early or absentee to avoid congestion at the polls on Election Day, April 7. You can register to vote online through March 30th at myvotewi.gov. You can request an absentee ballot before April 2nd from the City Clerk’s Office. Early voting is available until April 3. As of March 23, we have moved to curbside early voting only. People can vote without leaving their vehicle.
MADISON PUBLIC LIBRARIES-
To protect the safety of employees and the general public, our public libraries are closed. Library book drops will be closed, and customers are urged to keep library materials until libraries reopen. Due dates of checked out materials will be extended, and holds will be retained at libraries until libraries reopen. The library's databases, online magazines and newspapers and downloadable audiobooks and eBooks collections are also accessible 24/7 with a library card.
The 2020 Census is here. As we practice social distancing, please take the opportunity to complete the census, now, from the comfort of your home. It is critical that all Madison residents are counted. Census data determines how more than $675 billion in federal funds are distributed to communities across the country for healthcare, affordable housing, childcare, education, transportation, and more. That’s over $2,000 per person for Madison and Dane County every year. You can fill it out online at my2020census.gov, by phone, or by mail – all without having to meet a census taker.
The economic impact to area workers and business, small and large, has been heavily felt over the past week. We continue to advocate for resources to businesses across size and sector, as well as workers at the state and federal levels.
Because this pandemic will have such a negative impact on the incomes of many families, I call on all landlords to put a moratorium on evictions and non-renewals for anyone impacted by COVID-19.
Additionally, we have been contacted by residents about delaying property tax installment payments without penalty. The payment process for property taxes, including penalties for late payments, is established in state law. Local taxing jurisdictions, including the City of Madison, cannot change payment dates or waive penalties for late payments without action by the state. We have been in contact with the state at all levels urging action to provide this short-term relief to affected property tax payers in response to this public health and economic emergency.
As we await state and federal support, we're partnering closely with the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce (GMCC) and other economic development partners to provide regular communication about COVID-19 updates, best practices for business to stay afloat during these difficult times, and a wide range of resources available to the business community. This information is kept up-to-date on our Economic Development Business Information COVID-19 webpage. Further, GMCC has created a virtual portal for employers to submit questions relating to community response, guidance from local, state and federal authorities, available assistance for affected businesses, and more. The City of Madison and Public Health Madison & Dane County are partnering with GMCC to get answers to the critical questions that continue to arise amongst local business owners. The FAQ portal is open to the public and we encourage you to submit your questions.
PEOPLE IMPACTED BY HOMELESSNESS
We are working hard with the county and partner community organizations to reduce crowding in homeless shelters, and provide food and shelter for our homeless to make sure they are prepared and protected. Almost 100 hotel rooms have been secured to help carry out proper social distancing for families and singles experiencing homelessness in our community. We are also placing hand washing stations at 6 locations around town including salvation army, the Beacon, Safe Haven, Peace Park, Central Library and the Top of State street. Other options are being looked at with state and county partners.
FOOD ACCESS AND DISTRIBUTION
During this public health emergency, the City of Madison is focused on making sure our most vulnerable residents continue to have reliable access to food. City staff have been working diligently to organize, collaborate, and communication with various food resource providers across sectors and geographies to ensure that efforts to maintain food provisions are synchronized, informed and efficient. We are doing our part to identify the needs and concerns of providers and residents and are constantly analyzing and assessing our capabilities to support our residents.
- Madison Metropolitan School District - Neighborhood Food Sites: https://www.madison.k12.wi.us/mmsd-covid-19-neighborhood-food-sites
- SSM Health Meals on Wheels: https://www.ssmhealth.com/health-at-home/community-health-resources/meals-on-wheels
- NewBridge Madison: https://newbridgemadison.org/
- Independent Living – Evening Meals on Wheels: https://www.independentlivinginc.org/evening-meals-on-wheels.html
Emergency Food and General Resources
2-1-1 Wisconsin: https://211wisconsin.communityos.org/
- Madison-area food pantries are constantly providing updated information on hours to United Way Dane County 2-1-1 staff
- 2-1-1 also serves as a vital connection point for other critical resources
COVID-19 UPDATES, FAQ & COMMUNITY HOTLINE
We encourage you to stay up-to-date on this issue by following Public Health on Twitter @PublicHealthMDC and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/publichealthmdc .
- Public Health Madison Dane County COVID-19 Website: https://www.publichealthmdc.com/coronavirus
- City of Madison COVID-19 Website: https://www.cityofmadison.com/health-safety/coronavirus
- Employeenet info re: COVID-19: https://www.cityofmadison.com/employeenet/coronavirus
IF YOU ARE UNWELL
As the number of cases in the United States increase, there is an increased focus on providing accurate information to community members with questions about COVID-19. If you have questions about COVID-19 or are considering being seen for possible COVID-19 at a clinic, urgent care, or the emergency department, please call your health care provider first. Another resource is UW Health COVID-19 hotline at 608-720-5300.
As we progress through this very challenging time, I appreciate your support and understanding. Working together, we are doing our best to protect our most vulnerable, our families, our workers and our community.