Emergency Steps Eyed to Help Wisconsin Deal With Outbreak

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Tony Evers was expected to issue an executive order Wednesday to speed up unemployment benefits for workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as he meets with legislative leaders to discuss a more far-reaching emergency plan to help all of those struggling due to the outbreak.

The coronavirus pandemic has shuttered schools, colleges, universities, bars, restaurants and other businesses across the state, country, and world. Health officials are urging people to stay at home and avoid contact with others in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

The order waiving requirements to get unemployment benefits was expected as Evers was scheduled to talk Wednesday with Republican legislative leaders about emergency action that can be taken to help those hardest hit by the pandemic. Evers on Tuesday called on the Legislature to waive a one-week waiting period to receive unemployment compensation insurance.

Evers has ordered a statewide ban on all gatherings of more than 10 people and closed all bars and restaurants except for delivery and pickup orders. Some bars ignored the order, while others were laying off employees in anticipation of the massive drop in business.

Not all bars and restaurants were heeding the order to close. The Saloon on Calhoun in Brookfield was open Tuesday, St. Patrick’s Day, with around 30 people in the bar, WITI-TV in Milwaukee reported.

Violating the order could face up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine, but enforcement is up to local law enforcement agencies, said Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul in a statement.

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