This post will be updated periodically with information about COVID-19, and the resulting local closures, changes, and news as it breaks. Scroll down for older information.
Tuesday, March 17
- Updated 9:45 pm. An update on voting. This afternoon, Governor Evers demurred to say he would cancel the April 7 general election and spring presidential primary, with all the local offices on the ballot. “How long do we potentially leave offices not filled because we haven’t had a general election?” Evers pointed to absentee ballots as the solution. And a quick PSA: If you aren’t already registered to vote, tomorrow is the deadline to register vote online or by mail. You can still register to vote after tomorrow’s deadline, but you will have to do so in-person. After you’ve registered, you can request an absentee ballot at myvote.wi.gov. (Related news: Absentee voting encouraged among COVID-19 outbreak)
- Updated 9pm. Top-line state news is that the state has ordered a moratorium on gatherings of ten people, which became effective 5pm tonight. Governor Evers said in a press call that guidance for local law enforcement on how to enforce the moratorium was forthcoming. This order includes schools, stadiums, meeting halls, bars, fitness centers, places of worship, and many more. Here’s what’s exempted from the order: Restaurants (may only serve take-out or delivery options), mass transit, schools when acting as non-instructional places, childcare locations, food panties and shelter facilities, hotels and motels, office spaces, hospitals and healthcare facilities, government facilities, gas stations, etc.
- Updated 9pm. Some City of Madison transportation updates. Street parking rules are being relaxed, so on-street metered parking and time-limit parking won’t be enforced, effective 8am on Wednesday, March 18 through April 5th. City of Madison buses will have some changes starting next Monday: reduced service, and a cap of 15 passengers/bus. (Related news: city workers are demanding workplace protections.)
- 2:00 pm. 72 people have tested positive in Wisconsin, with 1038 negative tests. There are 19 positive cases in Dane County.
- 1:00 pm. UW-Madison libraries are closing, effective tomorrow (Wednesday, March 18).
Monday, March 16
- 7:00 pm. Many City employees will be allowed to work from home. Metro bus service is continuing with reduced operating and service levels. Additionally, all city employees will be granted two weeks of Emergency Leave time for COVID-related absences, and can borrow against 2020 sick-leave balances.
- 6:00 pm. Madison Public Libraries are closed, effective tomorrow (Tuesday, March 17).
- 3:28 pm. The Dane County Sheriff’s Office announces temporary adjustments to operations at the Dane County Jail. All visitation and in-jail programming is suspended, and inmates with work releases are not permitted to leave, until at least April 1. In addition, probation and parole hearings are being conducted via video conferencing, jail medical staff are screening anyone being booked into jail, and “any current inmate showing signs of illness is being quarantined in a segregation wing and monitored by jail medical staff.”
- 3:13 pm. Madison Public Library closed more libraries today due to staffing shortages. Currently open libraries are: Central Library, 201 W. Mifflin St, and Sequoya Library, 4340 Tokay Boulevard.
- 2:16 pm. Some City of Madison workers are petitioning for worker protections against the coronavirus. The petition asks for safety masks and disinfecting materials, and guarantees for full pay and benefits if employees need to stay home to care for themselves or others. It was reportedly emailed to Mayor Rhodes-Conway and the Common Council today.
- 12:09 pm. Dane County Executive Joe Parisi has declared a state of emergency. This “enables the full allocation of county resources be available to ensure the continuation of core county services in the midst of the pandemic,” and orders “all county departments [to] track expenses related to efforts to protect the public and prevent the spread of COVID-19” in anticipation of federal relief becoming available.
- 11:37 am. The City of Madison is preparing as many staff as possible to work from home, and preparing to cancel “nearly all committee meetings” and establish teleconferencing options, says Mayor Rhodes-Conway. The library board plans to meet tomorrow (Tuesday) to discuss how to proceed.
- All MMSD schools are closed, effective Monday. There are twelve pick-up sites for take-home breakfast and lunch. Meals will be distributed from food trucks stationed outside of the school buildings. Pick-up times are limited to a 45-minute window starting at either 11, 12, or 1:00, depending on the site.
- Dane County has suspended eviction hearings from today until Friday, April 17. This only applies to cases that have not yet been heard. If your case has already been heard and the landlord has a court order to evict, the sheriff can still evict you. Landlords may also still file new eviction cases.
- Those facing eviction difficulties can get help from the Dane County Eviction Defense Project by calling 608-620-2002 or by emailing email@example.com. You can also call the Tenant Resource Center at 608-257-0006.
Sunday, March 15
- Public Health Madison & Dane County issue a county-wide order to close schools and stop gatherings of 50 or more people effective Monday. Retail food establishments must operate at half their seating capacity to provide for social distancing. Long-term care facilities must restrict most visitation and implement active screening of residents. Libraries are exempted from the order.