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 our next Lunch(UP)date, relief for operators of shuttered venues and a recap of our latest Virtual Industry Meeting.


We will release the results of our Spring 2021 Business Survey Thursday, March 25, on the next Lunch(UP)date, the Chamber program (presented by Perkins Coie, with support from Accelerate Sponsor Baker Tilly) where you can take a break and enjoy lunch while staying curious, connected and informed.

The program will also feature a conversation among survey partners, including several area chambers and business membership organizations, about the data and what they are hearing from businesses. The results of the survey will be used to inform policymakers about current business challenges and continue a predictable path forward balancing the needs of health, the economy and public confidence.

Register here.

In addition, on Thursday, April 1, we welcome UW–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank and UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone to Lunch(UP)date for a conversation about where we are and where we’re going relating to the issues, opportunities and partnerships on both campuses. You can register for that program here.

Submit in advance any questions you may have for any of our guests at


To align with updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Madison & Dane County has amended Emergency Order #14. According to the amended order, fully vaccinated individuals do not need to maintain six feet of physical distancing or wear a face covering when:

-- In an enclosed space where all individuals in the enclosed space are fully vaccinated; or

-- In an enclosed space with individuals from a single household who are not fully vaccinated and are not at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease, as defined by the CDC.

For businesses, this means that if all members of a workplace are fully vaccinated, they may gather together without face coverings and physical distancing, provided that the office is an enclosed space without the possibility that an unvaccinated person could enter without permission. However, businesses must continue to adhere to all gathering requirements and capacity restrictions outlined in the order.

Get answers to this and other related questions on our COVID-19 FAQ page here. Submit questions by visiting and entering the event code #ASKBIZ (or simply click here to go directly to the page). You can also email questions to

People are considered fully vaccinated at least two weeks after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna) or at least two weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson).


Starting April 8, operators of live venues, live performing arts organizations, movie theaters and others may begin applying for relief through the $15 billion Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) Grant program. The program was included in the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act signed into law on Dec. 27.

Eligible applicants may qualify for SVO Grants equal to 45 percent of their gross earned revenue, with $10 million as the maximum amount available for a single grant award. Two billion dollars is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees.

Funds may be used to cover expenses including payroll and administrative costs, rent and utility payments, and state and local taxes and fees. To be eligible, applicants must have been in operation as of Feb. 29, 2020 and not have received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan on or after Dec. 27, 2020.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) recommends that potential applicants start gathering documentation showing their employee count and monthly revenue in order to calculate the average number of qualifying employees they have had over the prior 12 months. The FAQs provide guidance on how to determine employee count on page 6.

Specifically, entities are encouraged to obtain a Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS) number so they can then register in the System for Award Management ( Other identifiers, such as an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number or Employer Identification Number, cannot be used. Entities that have or receive a DUNS number should immediately begin registering in as the SAM registration may take up to two weeks after submission.

The SBA will host a webinar about the application process on Tuesday, March 30, from 1:30-3 p.m. CT. You can register for that program here.

For additional SVO program details, click here.


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

Most attendees said they haven't experienced significant business interruption, though some have seen changes including office consolidation with many staff members working remotely. Liability protections are a significant focus for some, particularly around issues such as on-site vaccinations, and participants also said they’re adjusting to new regulatory changes.
Several said there is an eagerness from their clients to move on to the “next normal” (as it was termed by American Family Insurance Chair and CEO Jack Salzwedel during this year's IceBreaker), something they hope will be helped by increased vaccine eligibility. In most cases, part of their own transitions involves adjusting remote work policies, with challenges ahead in making sure returning to work is done safely.

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, technology, biotech, 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.


For a full archive of previously shared resources, visit

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