Everyday life has changed with the worldwide pandemic and this includes government on all levels. Lake Geneva City Hall has complied with ever-changing safety regulations. The front desk in city hall has basically been closed, with the exception of a clerk or two at an external hallway window, set there for questions and to restate all the applications, permits, and court dates that will be postponed until after regulations are lifted. Lake Geneva City Council members, and all committee and commission members, have changed the layout of what a meeting looks like. The officials all sit a little more spaced out and the public seating has changed to a maximum of ten visitors in the room, spaced six feet apart. Any more attendees will be placed in different rooms around the city hall and the meeting will be live-streamed to them. The council chambers are being utilized for all meetings to make them all televised to the public on local channel 25. The city called a special meeting last Thursday, March 19th, for an emergency proclamation, and to appoint the mayor chief executive officer for the city, with more power. More restrictions keep coming, however, everyone is trying to roll with the punches. As this is being written, Governor Evers announced that a “shelter in place” would, henceforth, be the rule of Lake Geneva’s days and nights for some time to come.
The Spring 2020 Election is coming with or without the virus.
How will voting be handled? This is an issue many voters are wondering about. The Coronavirus has created fear and thrown challenges into everyday life, with all the closings, social distancing, and one state after another, including Wisconsin, going into “lockdown” mode. The Lake Geneva City Hall has tried to create a safe and convenient space for early voting and registration, but on April 7, 2020, the ten-person limit on any gatherings is inevitably going to be surpassed, and can that really be stopped from happening? The only current voting location in Lake Geneva is the little space at the city hall in the building inspector’s lobby, with only one voting booth. Legally, voting cannot be stopped. The election must go on. City hall’s everywhere across the nation are urging everyone to vote early or vote by mail. Absentee voting can be requested easily online at myvote.wi.gov.
During this time of uncertainty, the merchants of Lake Geneva are trying to be there for the community and still offer their goods and services while keeping their employees employed. The Lake Geneva Public Library is offering free Wi-Fi if you pull into one of the stalls in front of the library. No password needed, just accept the terms and conditions and it is available 24/7. Many local restaurants are offering online and phone ordering along with delivery, curbside and inside pick up. Drive ups are still open at fast-food chains, along with mobile ordering. The Cheese Box is offering a care box that is available for pick up or can be shipped so you can enjoy some comfort food with your family and friends. This is also a great time to get back to basics and read. Dust Bunny Books is launching an Instagram store where you can place an order online and buy titles for you to enjoy with your children. Clear Water Outdoor is offering private shopping by appointment to encourage people to continue to shop locally. It would appear that the big box stores (like Target and Wal-Mart) will be open all the time because they also act as grocery stores. This element in the Coronavirus odyssey may be the most damaging to small businesses with all the rules established for dealing with the prevention of this disease.