Wisconsin governor issues new emergency order, provides flexibility for first responders, other professions

Coronavirus

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers sits for an interview with The Associated Press Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, saying that Foxconn Technology Group, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer, could still qualify for up to $3 billion in state tax credits in Wisconsin if it makes changes to its deal with the state to reflect current plans for a plant that’s under construction. Evers said Thursday. “If we have a deal that is reflective of what they are doing, it’s logical that they will get the credits,” “But if they don’t, that’s a whole different deal.” AP photo/Scott Bauer)

MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) – Governor Tony Evers has issued Emergency Order #22 to position the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services to continue providing its critical services by giving it flexibility to adapt to the new environments and circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Gov. Evers, the DSPS covers a range of service areas and constituents, including fire departments, construction services, physical therapists, and certified public accountants – all of which have faced new challenges as a result of this public health emergency.

“I cannot think of a single aspect of life that COVID-19 has not touched. The longer this goes on, the more people are struggling,” said Gov. Evers. “We need to take steps to alleviate stress where we can, so individuals can focus on more immediate needs and not worry about administrative deadlines and time constraints. We need the flexibility in state government to adapt to the situation at hand and prioritize efforts that will help us better protect health and safety.” 

Currently, Gov. Evers says fire departments must work even harder to keep employees well while continuing to provide for the community. The latest Emergency Order provides fire departments with funding for equipment, training, and other operations. Fire departments now have until June 1, 2020, to file.

The order also gives fire departments greater discretion to postpone inspections to public fire education training so they can focus more of their energy and effort on immediate health and safety needs.

Gov. Evers says the order also “streamlines the construction process for critical structures so that we have the spaces we need to provide healthcare to those suffering from COVID-19.” Specific time limits for conducting inspections and issuing permits on non-critical buildings have also been suspended, “making it easier for DSPS and partnering municipalities to adjust to changing processes and prioritize critical buildings, such as isolation centers.”

Other elements of the order:

  • Extend exam deadlines for certified public accountant candidates, since most testing centers are currently closed.
  • Some face-to-face requirements for physical therapists and physical therapy assistants are temporarily suspended. This enables them to use technology to evaluate performance and patients during the public health emergency.
  • Enable DSPS to take more steps to better protect staff and customers. With in-person interaction discouraged, the order gives DSPS the authority to limit paper plan submission by contractors in a variety of construction fields.

“The world is changing, and we can change with it,” said DSPS Secretary-designee Dawn Crim. “This order positions us to prioritize and facilitate critical work. It also enables us to extend the flexibility that our customers and constituents need right now. That way we can all focus on what is most important and do everything we can to keep our fellow Wisconsinites safe.”

Emergency Order #22 is available here

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