|The Chamber has launched a virtual portal for employers to submit questions relating to COVID-19 and its impact on business. Responses are posted at madisonbiz.com/covid19faq.
Submit questions about the CARES Act, Gov. Evers' "Badger Bounce Back" plan, availability of assistance for your business and more by visiting Slido.com and entering the event code #ASK4BIZ (or simply click here to go directly to the page). Questions can also be submitted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 the Chamber's plan for recovery, new criteria for reopening the economy, Capitol Hill insights from Sen. Baldwin and how Greater Madison businesses are helping the state increase its testing capacity.
Today, the Chamber released its Recovery Agenda focused on reopening the economy and accelerating the recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak. The agenda offers strategies to provide immediate relief to businesses and workers, provide targeted assistance to industries that are uniquely affected and temporarily ease regulations to reopen our economy and accelerate our recovery.
Our economy is an engine made up of many interconnected mechanicals that we must start and operate in a specific order. The Chamber is committed to restarting our local businesses and driving our economy forward while mitigating health and safety risks to our workforce and families.
View the full Recovery Agenda .
PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM UPDATE
This afternoon, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the $484 billion Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which provide emergency funding to bolster the Paycheck Protection Program. After weeks of negotiations, congressional leadership reached a deal with the White House. The House of Representatives will vote on the bill as early as Thursday morning.
Some highlights include:
- $321 billion for the depleted Paycheck Protection Program, with $60 billion set aside for underbanked businesses
- $60 billion for the SBA's depleted Economic Injury Disaster Loan program
- $75 billion for hospitals
- $25 billion for COVID-19 testing, with $11 million going to states
On Friday, April 17, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin discussed the latest on federal relief, reopening and recovery efforts in response to the COVID-19 outbreak during the latest edition of Lunch(UP)date, the Chamber’s weekly program where participants can take a break and enjoy lunch while staying connected, curious and informed.
With available funding having run out late last week for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, Baldwin anticipated Congress would come to an agreement to authorize additional funds, which it did today. She anticipates another federal relief package in early May.
Baldwin also addressed what she sees as positive signs in the outbreak response, including more available testing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and "Safer at Home" helping to flatten the curve. However, she noted the "staggering" unemployment impact and need for contact tracing and more widespread testing as evidence that more needs to be done to assist in the recovery.
View the full recording here. See the full archive of Lunch(UP)date recordings here.
Register here for our next Lunch(UP)date this Friday, April 24. Our speaker will be announced soon.
"BADGER BOUNCE BACK" PLAN
On Monday, Gov. Tony Evers announced his "Badger Bounce Back" plan. “Badger Bounce Back” does not modify or supersede the “Safer at Home” order, but it provides a framework for lifting business restrictions and starting to reopen the economy. The emergency order can be found here.
Key metrics under the plan include a 14-day downward trajectory of illnesses, healthcare system capacity to treat patients beyond crisis care, testing availability for all who are symptomatic, increased contact tracing efforts, and sufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other needed supplies.
Restrictions will be lifted in three phases, with guidance on each phase shown on pages 5-6 of the plan. Child-care facilities and K-12 schools fully reopen in phase one. Determining when to move on to the next phase will be based on a reevaluation of gating criteria, with further details still to be announced.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Wisconsin Ready initiative, an element of Badger Bounce Back, will include a RESTART 72 grant program for small businesses, as well as a “multi-sector taskforce to advise on dialing (the) economy back up.” The Chamber supports bringing together experts and stakeholders from key industries to help implement a comprehensive strategy for restarting the economy, a position that Chamber staff communicated to the Governor’s team late last week.
The full plan is available here, with the plan in brief available here.
GUIDANCE ON NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES
Under Gov. Tony Evers’ updated “Safer at Home” order, non-essential businesses will now be able to provide more services as Minimum Basic Operations, including curbside pickup. Non-essential businesses must notify workers of whether they are necessary for Minimum Basic Operations.
Specific requirements for curbside pickup are at the bottom of page 18 and top of page 19 of the order. They include having operations performed by only one person in a room or confined space at a time, goods being purchased online or by phone prior to pickup, and not requiring a signature from the customer.
If you believe your business is essential and has not been included in the order, you may request a designation as essential by submitting this form (Note: If you have trouble loading the form, you may need to exempt WEDC's website in your pop-up blocker).
"SAFER AT HOME" COVERAGE
The Cap Times recently spoke to several local officials to gauge how the Governor's extended "Safer at Home" order would affect Greater Madison's economy and various community services.
Chamber President Zach Brandon said while the pain we are currently feeling is ultimately for the greater good, there needs to be a clear road map to bringing the economy back as business restrictions are lifted.
Read the full story here.
PARTNERSHIP TO INCREASE TESTING CAPACITY
There has been a significant increase in the state’s lab testing capacity for COVID-19 through a public-private partnership announced by Gov. Tony Evers in late March. Working with the Wisconsin Clinical Lab Network, the state has grown the number of labs performing COVID-19 tests from eight to 36 in the last month.
The partnership includes lab support, test processing and equipment sharing from organizations including Epic, Exact Sciences, Promega and UW Health, who all work with the Wisconsin Clinical Lab Network to share knowledge, resources and technology to bolster Wisconsin’s testing capacity.
For more information on the statewide COVID-19 response, click here or here.
For a full archive of previously shared resources, visit madisonbiz.com/covid19.
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