The Latest: Unemployment claims continue to skyrocket

Photo courtesy MGN.
Photo courtesy MGN.(KKTV)
Published: Mar. 24, 2020 at 2:50 PM CDT
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The Latest on the coronavirus outbreak in Wisconsin (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

The number of people filing for unemployment in Wisconsin continues to skyrocket.

The Department of Workforce Development reports that on Monday, more than 21,000 people filed claims. That is the largest single day total since the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent orders to close schools and businesses to slow the pandemic’s spread.

Gov. Tony Evers is ordering even more businesses to close starting on Wednesday.

Last year on the same day, there were just over 1,400 claims. The total this year for Monday was 15 times higher.

On Sunday, there were nearly 11,000 claims compared with less than a thousand a year ago.

Evers wants the Legislature to waive a one-week waiting period for people to receive unemployment benefits. That could be applied retroactively, if the Legislature would agree. Lawmakers have not said if or when they would take up such a proposal.

Between March 17 and Monday there were more than 95,000 claims made compared with 4,700 a year before.


10:56 a.m.

Gov. Tony Evers issued an order Tuesday closing businesses deemed to be nonessential, ordered no gatherings of any size and placed restrictions on travel across Wisconsin for a month in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Evers’ order has numerous exceptions, including for hospitals and other health care facilities, grocery stores, bars and restaurants offering delivery and carry out food, airports and other businesses offering essential services.

The order takes effect at 8 a.m. Wednesday and is to run through April 24, but could be altered, ended or extended.

Evers said he didn’t want to have to issue such an order, but “folks need to start taking this seriously.” The goal of the order, which many other states have also issued, is to slow the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak so doctors and nurses are not overwhelmed with patients.

Under the order, Wisconsin residents will be able to go to the doctor and obtain medicine, leave home to care for family members and obtain necessary food and supplies, including pet food.

Other businesses allowed to remain open include pharmacies, gas stations, banks, laundries and dry cleaners, hardware stores, churches, funeral homes and media outlets.


6:05 a.m.

Organizers of the music festival that draws hundreds of thousands of people to Milwaukee’s lakefront each summer has postponed the event for the first time in its 52-year history.

Summerfest was scheduled to run from June 24 to 29 and June 30 to July 5. But because of the uncertainty over the coronavirus, Milwaukee World Festival has cut the event to nine days across the first three weeks in September.

The new dates are Sept. 3 to 5, Sept. 10 to 12 and Sept. 17 to 19.

Organizers have not yet said whether the main acts already scheduled will be available in September, including Justin Bieber, Chris Stapleton and the Dave Matthews Band.

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