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The Chamber has a virtual portal for employers to submit questions relating to COVID-19 and its impact on business. Responses are posted at madisonbiz.com/covid19faq.

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


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 new statewide face covering requirement and a recap of our most recent Virtual Industry Meeting.

LUNCH(UP)DATE WITH CHAMBER LEADERS

Jessica Cavazos, President and CEO of the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County, and Camille Carter, President of the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce, will be our guests this Thursday, Aug. 6, 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), the two leaders will share the latest information on how Black and Latino businesses are doing and discuss the road to an accelerated recovery.

Register here. You can submit in advance any questions you may have for Cavazos, Carter or the Greater Madison Chamber at ask@madisonbiz.com.

STATEWIDE FACE COVERING REQUIREMENT

A statewide face covering requirement is now in effect for individuals age five and older when indoors or in an enclosed space (other than a private residence) and other people are present in the same room or space.​ The emergency order issued by Gov. Tony Evers expires on Monday, Sept. 28.

The order defines an enclosed space as "a confined space open to the public where individuals congregate, including but not limited to outdoor bars, outdoor restaurants, taxis, public transit, ride-share vehicles, and outdoor park structures."

The state order preempts any less restrictive local orders already in place, though local governments are allowed to issue more restrictive orders. The language of this order mostly aligns with the Public Health Madison & Dane County indoor face covering order, which remains in effect.

Exceptions to the state order are made for certain activities such as while eating or drinking, while obtaining a service that requires the temporary removal of the face covering, when necessary to confirm an individual’s identity or when engaging in work where wearing a face covering would create a risk to the individual, as determined by government safety guidelines.

The full emergency order is here, and an FAQ document about the order is here.

In addition, Public Health recently clarified that businesses and workplaces may post self-made signs at their entrances informing those entering the property about the face-covering requirement as an alternative to the signage made available by Public Health. Visit the Public Health face-covering page to also see their suggestions on how to discuss masks with customers, information about enforcement, social media graphics and a fact sheet about using face coverings in the workplace.

If you have questions about the order or other issues impacting your business, please continue to submit them through our Q&A portal here and our staff and team of regional partners will work to get you an answer. All responses are posted on our website here.

VIRTUAL INDUSTRY MEETING RECAP

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

Initially, many participants transitioned to all virtual and have remained at least somewhat virtual for services including fitness classes, check-ins and physician visits, though services such as more interactive therapies have been harder to replicate virtually. In most cases, small groups have been welcomed back into physical locations and studios.
 
For fitness centers specifically, several said the biggest challenge they face is the perception that gyms are higher-risk, which has impacted their membership and in-person attendance. Other attendees said they are dealing with paying rent on office spaces that are being used minimally or not at all. To help address these kinds of issues, several participants received assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and found it helpful, especially since the program requirements were updated.

The Chamber has also convened lenders, developers, commercial property owners, manufacturers, hoteliers, retailers and leaders in legal and accounting services, education, child care, construction, design, insurance, 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.

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

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