Superior considers relief as state extends Safer at Home order
City officials announced a package of relief measures they will put before the City Council.
Helping people and businesses in Superior affected by COVID-19 pandemic is the goal behind a package of proposals that will head to the City Council in coming weeks.
Mayor Jim Paine announced April 16, the Superior Coronavirus Relief Package, a $667,000 package to help Superior remain stable during and after the pandemic.
“Even if a business hasn’t fully shut down, many, many businesses are suffering in this economy due to the effects of this pandemic,” Paine said. “On top of that, I felt very strongly that we needed to serve everybody in this community.”
The relief package would waive all late fees for wastewater, storm water, recycling and landfill fees for the remainder of 2020 to allow property owners to pay what they can, when they can, Paine said. This could save citizens and businesses up to $100,000, he said.
The Council will consider the waiver April 21.
After discovering the city’s allocation of an emergency Community Development Block Grant would be about $417,000, officials put together a package of proposals that the Council will consider in May or June to help people in need, Paine said.
The emergency grant would:
- Allocate $250,000 to a rental assistance program serving families with low to moderate incomes who have been impacted by the pandemic. This program will allow tenants to catch up on back rent or pay future rent and would be administered by Northwest Wisconsin Community Services Agency.
- Allocate up to $50,000 to house people experiencing homelessness who require isolation due to potential exposure to COVID-19.
- Allocate at least $117,000 to nonprofits in Superior that have either responded to the pandemic or been affected by the pandemic and its economic fallout.
More immediate help could be available for small businesses and will be considered by the Council on April 21, including waiving business license fees and creating an emergency grant program.
Paine said waiving the business fees will cost the city about $70,000.
Councilor Keith Kern has been working on a plan to reallocate $80,000 from the city’s Small Business Grant Program to create emergency grants for small businesses affected by the pandemic and Safer at Home order signed by Gov. Tony Evers, Paine said.
“This crisis is unprecedented in living history,” Paine said. "Hundreds of businesses and thousands of citizens struggle daily to make ends meet with little or no income and an uncertain future. It is the duty of this community and its leaders to respond with urgency to provide what relief we can.”
Evers extends Safer at Home order
The governor's order was extended Thursday, April 16 with some changes:
- Public libraries may provide curbside service for books and other library materials.
- Golf courses may open again but scheduling and paying for tee times can only be done online or by phone. Clubhouses and pro shops must remain closed.
- Non-essential businesses will now be able to do more things, including deliveries, mailings and curbside pickup. They must notify workers of whether they are necessary for the minimum basic operations.
- Arts and craft stores may offer expanded curbside pick-up of materials necessary to make face masks or other personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Aesthetic or optional exterior lawn care or construction is now allowed under the extended order, as long as it can be done by one person.
- Essential businesses and operations must increase cleaning and disinfection practices, ensure that only necessary workers are present and adopt policies to prevent workers exposed to COVID-19 or symptomatic workers from coming to work.
- Retail stores that remain open to the public as essential must limit the number of people in the store at one time, must provide proper spacing for people waiting to enter, and large stores must offer at least two hours per week of dedicated shopping time for vulnerable populations.
Public and private K-12 schools will remain closed through the end of the 2019-20 school year.
People are strongly encouraged to stay close to home, not travel to second homes or cabins, and not to travel out-of-state if it is not necessary.
“Before we lift Safer at Home, the steps of testing and more robust public health measures must be in place,” said Andrea Palm, Department of Health Services secretary-designee. “These steps will help us reduce the risk of a second wave of the virus. If we open up too soon, we risk overwhelming our hospitals and requiring more drastic physical distancing measures again.”
The changes in the extended order go into effect on Friday, April 24. The order will remain in effect until 8 a.m. May 26.
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