The Network Effect
The Chamber has a virtual portal for employers to submit questions relating to COVID-19 and its impact on business. Submit questions by visiting and entering the event code #ASK4BIZ (or simply click here to go directly to the page). Questions can also be submitted via email at Responses are posted at

Good evening --

Here are the latest updates on the COVID-19 outbreak and our organizational efforts to inform and ensure an effective community response.

Today's highlights include a preview of this week's Lunch(UP)date, newly announced changes to the Paycheck Protection Program and the latest in the Chamber's video series designed to offer hope and encouragement to the community.


Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP) President & CEO Jason Fields will be our guest this Thursday, Feb. 25, for the next Lunch(UP)date, the Chamber program presented by Perkins Coie where you can take a break and enjoy lunch while staying curious, connected and informed.

For this week's program, Fields will join us for a wide-ranging conversation about his experiences and the opportunities and challenges ahead in his new role.

Register for this free event here. If you have any questions for Fields or the Chamber, please submit them at


Today, President Joe Biden announced several changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) aimed at providing relief to small and minority-owned businesses. Those changes include:
-- Instituting a 14-day period, starting Wednesday, Feb. 24, during which only businesses with fewer than 20 employees can apply for relief through the PPP;
-- Revising the loan calculation formula to help sole proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed individuals – many of which are women and people of color – receive more relief, and establish a $1 billion set-aside for businesses in this category without employees located in low- and moderate-income areas;
-- Eliminating an exclusionary restriction that prevents small business owners with prior non-fraud felony convictions from obtaining relief through the PPP;
-- Eliminating an exclusionary restriction that prevents small business owners who are delinquent on their federal student loans from obtaining relief through the PPP; and
-- Ensuring access for non-citizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents by clarifying that they may use Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers to apply for relief.
The latest round of PPP funding opened last month, and the deadline remains March 31. Visit here for more information.

To understand more about how these changes could benefit you, we recommend working with your bank. If you have other questions, please send them to and our staff and team of regional partners will work to get you an answer.


Last spring, with the entire business community still in relief mode, the Chamber began creating content designed to offer hope and encouragement.

To that end, we have released the second video in a series of short vignettes called: “For You. For Us. Forward.” (The first video can be found here.)

The voices you hear are taken from our Lunch(UP)date broadcasts. The dates remind us of the pandemic’s duration and all that we have endured as a community.

The collective message is a reminder that we rely on each other. That we are intertwined. The Madison we aspire to be – that we can be – is on the horizon. In the darkness, there is light.

This new video is designed to be shared, so we hope that you will do so by sharing, liking and retweeting the posts from our FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram pages.


Thousands of Wisconsinites are being notified by the state Department of Workforce Development (DWD) about a new federal requirement that they must provide documentation to continue receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). The requirement was included in the federal Continued Assistance Act passed in late December.
Under the new law, the federal government requires that people seeking PUA benefits send proof of employment or self-employment (or planned start of employment or self-employment) for the year before their PUA application date. Anyone who fails to provide proof will be required to repay PUA benefits received for the week of Dec. 27, 2020, or later.
Acceptable forms of documentation include:
-- Employment: Paycheck stubs, earnings and leave statements showing the employer's name and address, and W-2 forms.
-- Self-employment: Business licenses, tax returns, business receipts and signed affidavits from persons verifying the individual's self-employment.
-- Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, and educational/religious organizations: Documentation provided by the organization and signed affidavits from persons verifying the individual's attachment to such organizations.
-- Proof of the planned commencement of employment: Letters offering employment, statements/ affidavits by individuals (with name and contact information) verifying an offer of employment.
-- Proof of the planned commencement of self-employment: Business licenses, written business plans or a lease agreement.
To submit the required proof of employment, claimants may now upload their documentation directly to their portal here. Individuals unable to upload documents may mail or fax them, with instructions included in the notice letter they receive.


For a full archive of previously shared resources, visit

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