The Network Effect
The Chamber has a virtual portal for employers to submit questions relating to COVID-19 and its impact on business. Responses are posted at

Submit questions about face covering requirements, the Forward Dane reopening strategy, availability of assistance for your business and more 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

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, the latest efforts to close the gap in childcare coverage, and the impact of recent COVID spikes and Public Health actions on local businesses.


Today, Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) sent a letter to licensed establishments in Madison – and copied all licensed food and drink establishments in Dane County – about a change in enforcement procedures, moving away from a policy of education first and now shifting to financial penalties for non-compliance.

According to the letter, PHMDC will partner with the City of Madison Police Department on this effort, with violations carrying a penalty of up to $1,000 per violation. The letter states: "An establishment with an occupancy capacity of 100 is required under the Order to limit indoor capacity to 25%, which is 25 people. Thus, if this establishment is found to have 100 people inside, they face a potential forfeiture of $75,000 plus court costs and fees. In addition, any establishment holding an alcohol beverage license may also be subject to an enforcement action against their alcohol beverage license up to and including suspension or revocation."

This enforcement change raises many questions that we are working to clarify, including if this is limited to businesses located in the City of Madison. The Chamber continues to advocate for education first and that PHMDC provide guidance that is clear, data-driven and devoid of politics.


Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Chamber has been in regular contact with Public Health, local elected officials and other stakeholders to share our positions on key issues and advocate on behalf of the business community for a safe, effective reopening strategy.

Following a recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Dane County, largely centered around an infection increase in those aged 18-22, some have suggested that UW–Madison students should be sent home or that downtown Madison is unsafe. This careless rhetoric has already proven harmful to downtown businesses and contradicts guidance from leading national experts Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx about how to best control the spread of the virus.

The Chamber continues to engage with our partners in the public and private sector to ensure we support local businesses and offer them needed resources. That includes everything from working to lift up childcare opportunities to keep our workforce intact (see below) to communicating insights and analysis gleaned from conversations with Public Health about the Forward Dane reopening plan.

For more about Forward Dane and the Chamber's advocacy relating to business reopening, check out this story from Cap Times, as well as upcoming coverage from NBC 15.


New Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) Superintendent Dr. Carlton Jenkins will be our guest this Wednesday, Sept. 16, for the next Lunch(UP)date, the Chamber's weekly program where you can take a break and enjoy lunch while staying connected, curious and informed.

During this week's program (presented by Perkins Coie), we will discuss the start of the new school year, how MMSD is addressing the unique challenges presented by the pandemic, and the facilities and operating referenda going before voters in November.

You can submit in advance any questions you may have for Dr. Jenkins or the Chamber at

Register here.


Following the announcement by the City of MadisonMadison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) and United Way of Dane County that they were creating a Child Care Scholarship Fund, we called for employers, foundations and the community to donate to the fund to support Greater Madison families and help close the childcare gap.

Just days after the announcement, several organizations have already stepped up to give back. We are thankful for the leadership of American Family InsuranceM3 InsuranceMGE Foundation, Madison-Kipp Corp.6AM MarketingGroup Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin, UW–Madison and others who have contributed to date.

The Child Care Scholarship Fund has a goal of raising $400,000 to provide need-based scholarships for approximately 150 children to attend full-time childcare. This ambitious effort is an important foundation to build upon, but we will need more help to reach our collective goal.

To donate, click here.

Read Chamber President Zach Brandon’s column about the fund in the Wisconsin State Journal. Find additional coverage in the Cap Times here and an editorial from WISC-TV here.


For a full archive of previously shared resources, visit

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