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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 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 ask@madisonbiz.com. Responses are posted at madisonbiz.com/covid19faq.

Good evening --

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

Today's highlights include a preview of this week's Lunch(UP)date, relief for restaurants and a recap of our latest Virtual Industry Meeting.

LUNCH(UP)DATE: CREATIVE ECONOMY

Business leaders in Greater Madison's creative economy will join us this Thursday, April 22 for our 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.

This program will feature conversations with Madison Children's Museum President & CEO Deborah Gilpin, Frank Productions CEO Joel Plant and Big Top Sports and Entertainment COO Conor Caloia about the unique challenges facing their industries and the future outlook for events and gatherings as we head into summer with a more vaccinated – and healthier – population. If you have any questions for our guests or the Chamber, please submit them at ask@madisonbiz.com.

Register for this free event here.

RESTAURANT REVITALIZATION FUND

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced key details for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), which was established by the American Rescue Plan Act to help restaurants, food stands, caterers, taverns, bakeries, breweries, wineries, distilleries and other eligible businesses stay open.

The RRF will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses by March 11, 2023.

The SBA is not yet accepting applications for the RRF, but the application launch date will be announced soon. Ahead of the application launch and over the next two weeks, the SBA will establish a seven-day pilot period for the RRF application portal and conduct extensive outreach and training on how to apply, where to apply and other application requirements. Following the pilot, the application portal will be opened to the public, with the first 21 days prioritizing reviewing applications from small businesses owned by women, veterans, and individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged.

For full program details, click here.

VIRTUAL INDUSTRY MEETING RECAP

Last week, the Chamber hosted the latest in our Virtual Industry Meeting (VIM) series, as biotech leaders assessed their current needs and shared projections for the three phases of responding to the COVID-19 outbreak: relief, reopening and recovery.

Most participants said they have expanded over the past year or more, whether through hiring, physical space or both. Some are looking to add more staff long-term, as well. Lab-based jobs have remained in person as many have focused on issues related to the pandemic and response, though with their staffs increasingly vaccinated, many are discussing broader return-to-work plans.

Some attendees said they face challenges with supply chains and overseas shipments, with border security in other countries having changed. Another challenge mentioned is not being able to conduct on-site training and support for R&D programs, with one leader saying they have been working with companies to do video monitoring and transfers of technology instead.

The Chamber has also convened lenders, manufacturers, developers and commercial property owners, hoteliers, retailers, business membership organizations, and leaders in the non-profit sector, banking and finance, healthcare, health and wellness, legal and accounting services, education, child care, construction, design, insurance, technology, healthtech, arts, culture, entertainment and sports as part of our Virtual Industry Meeting series to help inform our advocacy. Please continue to share with us any policy ideas and recommendations.

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For a full archive of previously shared resources, visit madisonbiz.com/covid19.

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