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 afternoon --

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


Today, Gov. Tony Evers issued a “Safer at Home” order that takes effect at 8 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday, March 25) and goes until 8 a.m. on Friday, April 24, or until a superseding order is issued. The order defines what is considered to be essential business and essential travel. See the full order here.

Individuals are still allowed to leave their homes to perform tasks essential to maintain health and safety such as seeing a doctor or obtaining medicine, get food or other supplies necessary for staying at home, care for family members or others in another household or perform work for essential businesses and operations.

Essential businesses under the order include, but are not limited to:

--Any business or worker identified by U.S. Homeland Security as critical infrastructure workers
--Health care operations, including home health workers
--Critical infrastructure
--Fresh and non-perishable food retailers, including grocery and convenience stores
--Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food and goods
--Restaurants, for takeout and delivery
--Bars, for carryout sales
--Pharmacies and healthcare facilities
--Child care facilities, with some limitations
--Gas stations and auto repair facilities
--Financial institutions
--Professional services such as legal and accounting, insurance and real estate
--Manufacturing, distribution and supply chain for critical products and industries
--Building and construction trades
--Transportation providers
--Shipping, logistics and delivery services
--Retailers of office supplies and other supplies needed to work from home
--Laundry businesses, dry cleaners and services necessary for maintaining the safety, sanitation and essential operation of a residence
--Hardware stores
--Hotels and motels
--Educational institutions, for distance learning only
--WEDC-designated businesses (see below)

The order stipulates that businesses may carry out the minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business's inventory, preserve the condition of the business's plant and equipment, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits and other related functions, as well as minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees being able to work remotely from their residences.

Businesses explicitly closed include:
--Salons and spas
--Places of amusements such as museums, bowling alleys, playgrounds and movie theaters

Businesses may not engage in door-to-door solicitation and, to the extent possible, should telework and conduct virtual meetings. Gatherings of people that aren't part of your household are prohibited, unless explicitly permitted.

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 troubled loading the form, you may need to exempt WEDC's website in your pop-up blocker).

We understand that not every business is defined by a clear, bright line. If you are unable to get answers from the order or other resources listed above, submit your questions to us via (enter event code #ASK4BIZ or click here) or email us at so we can advocate on your behalf.


Tomorrow (March 25) at 3:00 p.m., the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is co-hosting a webinar featuring Chamber Director of Business Development Nikki Javurek – as well as state and local officials, business leaders and other experts from across the region – sharing updates on the impact of COVID-19 on Wisconsin businesses. Topics include emerging initiatives, mechanisms for funding relief measures and more.

Register for this free webinar here.


For a full archive of previously shared resources, visit

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