Volunteer guidance in accordance to Safer at Home
Governor Evers issued Emergency Order #12 – Safer at Home on March 24, which instructed Wisconsin residents to remain in their homes, except for performing multiple types of essential activities or for essential businesses and operations. Those leaving their homes should at all times, and as reasonably as possible, maintain social distancing of at least six (6) feet from any other person consistent with social distancing requirements.
It is crucial that people comply with this emergency order to help slow the spread of COVID-19 here in Wisconsin. Individuals that have symptoms of COVID-19 or have had exposure to those that have them should not be leaving their homes and those leaving their homes need to practice social distancing everywhere they go.
In addition to following these protocols, there are critical needs developing in communities due to the closure of schools, businesses, or community organizations, and the need for individuals to remain in their homes, particularly senior citizens and vulnerable populations. These needs will likely continue to develop over the coming weeks.
In order to respond to community needs, human service operations have been allowed to continue and organizations that provide charitable and social services are specifically listed as essential businesses in Emergency Order #12. These organizations include businesses and religious and secular nonprofit organizations that are providing food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, people with disabilities, and for individuals who need assistance as a result of this public health emergency.
Department of Health Services recommends that volunteer organizations implement safety measures such as social distancing, frequent handwashing, and implement their guidance for business and employers for responding to COVID-19 where applicable.
Moreover, some groups of people are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. Adults over the age of 65 and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions, such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, and HIV, may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19. DHS recommends that these individuals stay home when possible and consider remote volunteer activities.
There are many ways that individuals can help with these needs, including remote or in-home service opportunities, donations of food and supplies, and targeted in-person volunteer service.
For information on ways in which you can help others impacted by the spread of COVID-19, please visit the COVID-19 Response Initiative on Volunteer Wisconsin at www.volunteerwisconsin.org and/or check with local organizations for projects that they have not yet added to the state website.
Those interested in serving from home can provide assistance in many ways, such as helping out on one of several projects over the phone or computer, making different items for others, or finding ways to check-in on neighbors or those potentially in need.
Those interested in donating food, supplies, or blood should check on Volunteer Wisconsin and with local agencies regarding current needs and for protocols to safely donate these items.
Those interested in doing in-person volunteering for activities such as meal/food distribution, delivery of needed supplies to homes, childcare for healthcare and other critical workers, or other projects should only volunteer if they or the people they live with are not showing symptoms of COVID-19 and they are able to follow all social distancing requirements.