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

Submit questions about Gov. Evers' "Safer at Home" order, 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:


At this moment, Congress is continuing to negotiate the CARES Act, a $2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package. While a number of provisions have been publicly agreed to, a significant portion of the bill has not yet been finalized and released. We will continue to monitor the debate and share further updates as they become available.
While subject to change, key business provisions of the legislation that have been agreed to thus far include:
  • Four months of extended UI benefits, with the maximum payment increased by $600 per week for workers, including those who are self-employed or gig workers.
  • $150 billion to hospitals and health systems, including Medicare payment increases
  • $150 billion for local governments
  • Small Business Administration
    • The Keeping American Workers Employed and Paid Act authorizes $350 billion worth of 100 percent guaranteed SBA loans through a new Paycheck Protection Program.
    • Businesses with 500 or fewer employees, self-employed workers, gig workers, and 501c3 and 501c9 organizations are covered.
    • If the employer maintains its payroll, then the portion of the loan used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent and utilities would be forgiven.
    • The proposal would be retroactive to Feb. 15, 2020 to help bring back workers who may have already been laid off.
    • The maximum loan amount would be equal to 250 percent of the employer’s average total monthly expenses but would not exceed $10 million.
    • Loans would be available immediately through more than 800 existing SBA-certified lenders.
    • The maximum loan amount for SBA Express loans would be increased from $350,000 to $1 million. Express loans provide borrowers with revolving lines of credit for working capital purposes.
    • The bill would expand eligibility for entities suffering economic harm due to COVID-19 to access SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), while also giving SBA more flexibility to process and disburse small dollar loans.
    • The bill would allow businesses that apply for an EIDL expedited access to capital through an Emergency Grant, an advance of $10,000 within three days to maintain payroll, provide paid sick leave and service other debt obligations.
    • The package also includes $17 billion for SBA to assist borrowers with six months of principal and interest payments for all SBA-backed business loans.
Current appropriations summaries are available from Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Vice Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).


This week, In Business magazine posted a series of features on the COVID-19 outbreak and what it means for businesses and their workers. Included is an interview with Chamber President Zach Brandon, who shared what the Chamber is hearing from businesses, as well as what our organization is doing to support them.

Among the initiatives Zach discussed are the Chamber's new virtual portal for employer questions (which can be submitted at using the event code #ASK4BIZ or simply by clicking here), tips for supporting local businesses and concerns raised by employers during a recent Chamber-hosted virtual meeting of more than 400 participants.

You can read the full story here. See the complete In Business series here.


Chamber Vice President Kevin Little will join leaders from the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center at UW–Madison and Dane Buy Local for a local business resource panel tomorrow (March 26) at noon, hosted by Mid-West Family Broadcasting. The discussion will focus on tips and resources for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, and Kevin will address Chamber initiatives and collaboration with government, business and community partners.

Register here.


For a full archive of previously shared resources, visit

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