Join Login COVID-19 Updates

Photo by Richard Hurd

COVID-19

Updated: 3/3/2021, 11:42 a.m.

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.

To submit or vote up questions, visit Slido.com and enter the event code #ASK4BIZ or simply click here to be directed to that page. Questions can also be submitted via email at ask@madisonbiz.com.

To view businesses’ reopening plans that have been shared through our portal, click here.

To participate in the #JustAsk campaign, print this flyer (English or Spanish) and display it in your business to encourage customers to #JustAsk about policies and procedures being implemented to reduce risks to their health and safety.

To learn more about resources available to small businesses, click here.

To view the Chamber’s agenda for reopening the economy and accelerating our recovery, click here.

To view the second video in the Chamber’s “For You. For Us. Forward.” series, click here.

To learn more about community resources that Greater Madison businesses are offering, click here.

To sign up for regular COVID-19 updates, click here.

Jump to topics:
#JUSTASK CAMPAIGN
BUSINESS REOPENING BEST PRACTICES
CHILD CARE SCHOLARSHIP FUND
COLD-WEATHER STREATERY GUIDELINES
COVID-19 BUSINESS SURVEY: SPRING 2021
COVID-19/RECOVERY UPDATE ARCHIVE
DANE COUNTY COVID-19 DASHBOARD
DEFINING CLOSE CONTACT
ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOANS UPDATE
EMPLOYER NOTIFICATIONS
FOR YOU. FOR US. FORWARD. (PART 2)
GOVERNOR’S BUDGET: BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
HELPFUL RESOURCES
HOW TO SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES
LIABILITY PROTECTIONS
LUNCH(UP)DATE ARCHIVE
LUNCH(UP)DATE WITH JASON FIELDS
MAKING THE DIFFERENCE
OSHA GUIDANCE ON PREVENTING WORKPLACE SPREAD
OSHA GUIDANCE ON WORK-RELATED COVID EVENTS
PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE REQUIREMENTS
PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM CHANGES
PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM TAX DEDUCTIONS
PAYING IT FORWARD TO HEALTH CARE HEROES
PHASE 1B VACCINATION GROUPS
PUBLIC HEALTH LOOSENS RESTRICTIONS, UPDATES FORWARD DANE
PUBLIC POLICY RESPONSE PLAN
QUARANTINE RECOMMENDATIONS
SE NECESITA AYUDA (HELP WANTED)
SHARE YOUR STORY
SHUTTERED VENUE OPERATORS GRANT
SMALL BUSINESS PANDEMIC SUPPORT GRANT PROGRAM EXPANSION
STATE LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
UNEMPLOYMENT NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENT
VACCINATION INFORMATION COLLECTION
VIRTUAL INDUSTRY MEETING RECAP
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
WEDC PPE PORTAL

PUBLIC HEALTH LOOSENS RESTRICTIONS, UPDATES FORWARD DANE
On Tuesday, Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) issued Emergency Order #14, which increases capacity for restaurants, bars, and indoor and outdoor gatherings, and updates school protective measure policy requirements, among other changes. The new order goes into effect Wednesday, March 10, at 12:01 a.m.

In addition, PHMDC today released an updated version of its Forward Dane plan to guide future health orders. The plan moves away from specific value thresholds with a stated effort to provide more flexibility to adapt measures more rapidly.

EMERGENCY ORDER #14

Changes in the new order include:

— A gathering inside where food or drink is offered or provided is limited to 150 individuals, up from 25 individuals. A gathering inside where food or drink is not offered or provided is limited to 350 individuals, up from 50 individuals. Individuals must maintain six feet physical distancing and face coverings are required.

— A gathering outside is limited to 500 individuals (previously 100 at outdoor gatherings with food or drink and 150 at outdoor gatherings without food or drink). Individuals must maintain six feet physical distancing, and face coverings are required at gatherings of more than 50 individuals.

— Restaurants may open up to 50 percent (previously 25 percent) of their capacity, and tables are no longer limited to individuals from the same household or living unit, providing six feet of distancing is maintained between customers who are not members of the same household or living unit.

— Taverns may open up to 25 percent of their capacity. Previously, indoor seating at taverns was not permitted.

— The school protective measure policy requirements were updated and includes items about employee face coverings and distancing, distancing for students, and student groupings.

— Sports must follow the gathering requirements of the order outlined above. Previously, sports that cannot maintain physical distancing at all times were limited to 25 individuals indoors, and 100 individuals outdoors, not including employees.

Provisions that remain unchanged include:

— Face coverings are required in enclosed buildings, while driving with people who are not part of your household, and outdoors at a restaurant or tavern. The types of face coverings allowed was updated to reflect new CDC recommendations.

— Businesses continue to be limited to 50 percent of approved building capacity and must have written cleaning and hygiene policies in place.

— Provisions for continuing education and higher education institutions, industry-specific requirements, healthcare, public health, human service, infrastructure, manufacturing, government, and religious entities and groups remain unchanged.

Read the full order here.

For a comparison of what is allowed under the previous order versus the new order, click here.

FORWARD DANE UPDATE

Under this revised plan, Public Health orders will take into consideration new sets of measures that emphasize vaccine distribution and uptake. Specific thresholds will be removed from measures with a stated goal to provide more flexibility.

Data that will be assessed within this tool include measures such as percent of Dane County population that is at least partially vaccinated, percent of key populations with disproportionately poor COVID outcomes fully vaccinated, variant strains as predominant version of virus in community, case count with two-week trend, and time from specimen collection to public health contact tracing interview.

To determine future orders using these new measures, PHMDC will be looking for consistent progress in three core vaccine measures:

— Percent of Dane County population that is fully vaccinated (two doses for vaccines requiring two doses; one dose for single-dose vaccines);

— Percent of Dane County population that is at least partially vaccinated; and

— Percent of Dane County population aged 65-plus that is at least partially vaccinated.

According to the plan, “The current trajectories and models… are converging on a summer 2021 timeline for a potential ‘return to (a version of) normal’… We could see extreme loosening or dissolving of many pandemic restrictions sometime in summer 2021.”

These measures will be monitored weekly and progress will continue to be reported via the weekly Data Snapshot and Data Notes blog post.

Read the full plan here.

The Chamber has long advocated for microtuning and ensuring there is equilibrium with our orders that protects public health and our economy while rebuilding public confidence. We are encouraged by declining case counts and growing vaccination rates. While we must all remain vigilant with precautions to prevent spread, it is great to see a path that could bring extreme loosening or even dissolving of restrictions in the months ahead. We look forward to continuing to support our local leaders with data, input and policy ideas as we work to accelerate our economic recovery.

If you have additional 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.

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COVID-19 BUSINESS SURVEY: SPRING 2021
This week, in partnership with several area chambers and business membership organizations, we sent a new survey to Greater Madison businesses asking for information regarding current business operations, challenges and potential opportunities in the months ahead. This is the third survey we have shared since the beginning of the pandemic, and the information we have collected has been vital to our advocacy with elected and public officials at all levels of government.

Note that only one person from each organization received this communication. If you received this survey, please take the time to complete it before 5 p.m. on Monday, March 8 so we can continue to effectively advocate on your behalf for a predictable path forward balancing the needs of health, the economy and public confidence.

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LIABILITY PROTECTIONS
Last week, Gov. Tony Evers signed into law Special Session Senate Bill 1, which includes COVID-19 liability protections – retroactive to March 1, 2020 – for businesses, individuals and schools, a provision the Chamber supported. The bill overwhelmingly passed the Senate and Assembly last month.

Under the law, businesses, individuals and schools are not liable for “the death of or injury to any individual or damages caused by an act or omission resulting in or relating to exposure, directly or indirectly, to the novel coronavirus identified as SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 in the course of or through the performance or provision of the entity’s functions or services.” However, liability protections do not apply “if the act or omission involves reckless or wanton conduct or intentional misconduct,” such as intentional violation of public health orders.

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DANE COUNTY COVID-19 DASHBOARD
More than 17 percent of Dane County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the latest data compiled by Public Health Madison & Dane County. More than 10 percent of residents are fully vaccinated.

Positive cases have declined recently in Dane County, with the 14-day average down to 88 new cases per day, compared to 168 new cases per day at the beginning of the year. Hospitalizations are also down, with 37 hospitalized countywide in the past week. See the full dashboard here.

Combined with the newly available Johnson & Johnson vaccine, if these trends continue, we are hopeful they will yield positive results for businesses, our community and the ongoing easing of regulations. The Chamber will continue to advocate for the alignment of public health, the economy and public confidence.

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LUNCH(UP)DATE WITH JASON FIELDS
Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP) President & CEO Jason Fields joined us last week for Lunch(UP)date, the Chamber program presented by Perkins Coie where you can take a break and enjoy lunch while staying connected, curious and informed.

A Milwaukee native who served his hometown in the legislature for 12 years, Fields said he was drawn to Greater Madison because he believed he could add value to one of the top regions in the country. In representing an eight-county region with a mix of urban, suburban and rural communities, he emphasized the importance getting out and listening to everyone and communicating an intent to work together to solve problems.

Fields said his first 100 days are focused on building partnerships and empowering and strengthening our region. One prominent accomplishment on that front is partnering with the Milwaukee Bucks and The Lonely Entrepreneur to connect Wisconsin Black entrepreneurs with skill-building tools and resources to help them advance their businesses.

View the full recording of Lunch(UP)date here.

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VACCINATION INFORMATION COLLECTION
Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) is collecting preliminary information from employers and organizations that might employ workers that will be eligible for vaccination as part of Phase 1B starting soon, pending sufficient vaccine supply from the federal government.
 
Groups in Phase 1B include education and childcare; public-facing essential workers including public transit, grocery stores and food and agriculture; non-frontline health care personnel; and people living and working in a congregate living facility.
 
If you believe your business has employees that fall into these groups, PHMDC is asking that you designate one person from your team to fill out this form. When it is time for your group to be vaccinated, they will contact your organization with instructions on how your staff can individually register for a vaccination.

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PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM CHANGES
This week, President Joe Biden announced several changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) aimed at providing relief to small and minority-owned businesses. Those changes include:

— Instituting a 14-day period, as of Wednesday, Feb. 24, during which only businesses with fewer than 20 employees can apply for relief through the PPP;

— Revising the loan calculation formula to help sole proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed individuals – many of which are women and people of color – receive more relief, and establish a $1 billion set-aside for businesses in this category without employees located in low- and moderate-income areas;

— Eliminating an exclusionary restriction that prevents small business owners with prior non-fraud felony convictions from obtaining relief through the PPP;

— Eliminating an exclusionary restriction that prevents small business owners who are delinquent on their federal student loans from obtaining relief through the PPP; and

— Ensuring access for non-citizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents by clarifying that they may use Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers to apply for relief.

The latest round of PPP funding opened last month, and the deadline remains March 31. Visit here for more information.

To understand more about how these changes could benefit you, we recommend working with your bank. If you have other questions, please send them to ask@madisonbiz.com and our staff and team of regional partners will work to get you an answer.

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FOR YOU. FOR US. FORWARD. (PART 2)
Last spring, with the entire business community still in relief mode, the Chamber began creating content designed to offer hope and encouragement.

To that end, we have released the second video in a series of short vignettes called: “For You. For Us. Forward.” (The first video can be found here.)

The voices you hear are taken from our Lunch(UP)date broadcasts. The dates remind us of the pandemic’s duration and all that we have endured as a community.

The collective message is a reminder that we rely on each other. That we are intertwined. The Madison we aspire to be – that we can be – is on the horizon. In the darkness, there is light.

This new video is designed to be shared, so we hope that you will do so by sharing, liking and retweeting the posts from our FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram pages.

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PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE REQUIREMENTS
Thousands of Wisconsinites are being notified by the state Department of Workforce Development (DWD) about a new federal requirement that they must provide documentation to continue receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). The requirement was included in the federal Continued Assistance Act passed in late December.

Under the new law, the federal government requires that people seeking PUA benefits send proof of employment or self-employment (or planned start of employment or self-employment) for the year before their PUA application date. Anyone who fails to provide proof will be required to repay PUA benefits received for the week of Dec. 27, 2020, or later.

Acceptable forms of documentation include:

— Employment: Paycheck stubs, earnings and leave statements showing the employer’s name and address, and W-2 forms.

— Self-employment: Business licenses, tax returns, business receipts and signed affidavits from persons verifying the individual’s self-employment.

— Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, and educational/religious organizations: Documentation provided by the organization and signed affidavits from persons verifying the individual’s attachment to such organizations.

— Proof of the planned commencement of employment: Letters offering employment, statements/ affidavits by individuals (with name and contact information) verifying an offer of employment.

— Proof of the planned commencement of self-employment: Business licenses, written business plans or a lease agreement.

To submit the required proof of employment, claimants may now upload their documentation directly to their portal here. Individuals unable to upload documents may mail or fax them, with instructions included in the notice letter they receive.

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GOVERNOR’S BUDGET: BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Last week, Gov. Tony Evers announced economic development plans as part of his 2021-2023 Executive Budget, including:

— Providing the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) with $200 million to assist small businesses in recovering from the pandemic, including assistance with job retention and rehiring;

— Providing more than $29 million for workforce development initiatives, including $8 million for pandemic recovery grants to local workforce development boards, and $10 million for the Fast Forward program supporting training for individuals, businesses, and organizations affected by the pandemic; and

— Creating a $100 million venture capital fund under the direction of the WEDC to jumpstart innovation and startup growth coming out of the pandemic. This fund of funds investment program will require that at least 20 percent of the total funds under management be invested in minority-owned or women-owned firms or in businesses located in underserved areas.

The Governor’s full budget proposal was introduced Feb. 16 and can be found here.

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VIRTUAL INDUSTRY MEETING RECAP
The Chamber recently hosted the latest in our Virtual Industry Meeting (VIM) series, as business membership organizations assessed their current needs and shared projections for the three phases of responding to the COVID-19 outbreak: relief, reopening and recovery.

The participants were united in their determination to provide vital services and resources to their members. That includes assisting with business plans and financing options, including the latest phase of the Paycheck Protection Program.

Most attendees said they are looking to return to in-person events, conventions and conferences by summer or fall, though they acknowledged that plans could change quickly. Several said public and consumer confidence will be critical to the success of their members, who are cautiously optimistic about the coming months.

The Chamber has also convened lenders, manufacturers, developers and commercial property owners, hoteliers, retailers, 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, 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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STATE LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
In February, Gov. Tony Evers vetoed Assembly Bill 1, a broader COVID relief package. In addition, shortly after the state Assembly passed Senate Joint Resolution 3 to put an end to his statewide face covering requirement, the Governor issued a new order to immediately reinstate the requirement and keep it in effect until March 20.

Following these actions, a mask requirement remains in effect statewide unless overturned by subsequent legislative action or a ruling by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. (Regardless of what happens at the state level, Dane County’s mask order is still in effect.)

The Chamber opposed SJR3 because face coverings are a scientifically proven mitigation strategy that protects public health and builds public confidence that businesses can be frequented safely. In AB1, the Chamber supported liability protections for businesses, individuals and schools but opposed a prohibition on businesses from being able to require COVID-19 vaccinations for employees.

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PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM TAX DEDUCTIONS
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) awarded forgivable tax-free loans to businesses facing financial losses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because that money was not taxed as income, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Revenue Ruling 2020-27, determining that expenditures paid with those funds are not tax deductible under current federal and state laws.

In January, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which effectively reversed the IRS determination. The appropriations act includes the COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020, which provides for the full deductibility of ordinary and necessary business expenses that were paid with a forgiven or forgivable PPP loan.

In Wisconsin, the Department of Revenue (DOR) decided to follow the original IRS determination that expenditures paid with PPP funds are non-deductible. Without legislative correction, the result would be an estimated $450 million in taxes on PPP recipients.

In response, legislative Republicans drafted an amendment to align the state with federal action, making PPP expenses tax-free. The final bill, Assembly Bill 2, passed both the Senate and Assembly and was signed into law by the Governor on Feb. 18.

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PHASE 1B VACCINATION GROUPS
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has announced the groups included in Phase 1B distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine:

— Education and childcare;

— Public-facing essential workers including public transit, grocery stores and food and agriculture;

— Non-frontline health care personnel; and

— People living and working in a congregate living facility.

Missing from this list are additional private-sector employees recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be part of Phase 1B, including workers in manufacturing. Populations currently eligible for vaccination include frontline healthcare workers, residents of long-term care facilities, police and fire personnel, and individuals age 65 and older.

For more on vaccine eligibility and availability, click here.

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OSHA GUIDANCE ON PREVENTING WORKPLACE SPREAD
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released guidance to employers on mitigating and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. Separate guidance is applicable to healthcare and emergency response settings, and OSHA has additional industry-specific guidance.

This guidance contains recommendations, as well as descriptions of mandatory safety and health standards. Included are recommendations for implementation of workplace prevention programs in the workplace, as well as details relating to:

— Separating and sending home infected or potentially infected people;

— Implementing physical distancing;

— Installing barriers;

— Use of PPE; and

— Improving ventilation.

OSHA will update this guidance over time to reflect developments in science, best practices and standards. View the full guidance here.

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SHUTTERED VENUE OPERATORS GRANT
As part of the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act signed into law on Dec. 27, operators of live venues, live performing arts organizations, movie theaters and others may soon receive relief through the $15 billion Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) Grant program.

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 is not yet accepting applications for the SVO grant, though they recommend 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 (SAM.gov). 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 SAM.gov as the SAM registration may take up to two weeks after submission.

For additional SVO program details, click here.

For a brief webinar about the program, visit here.

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SMALL BUSINESS PANDEMIC SUPPORT GRANT PROGRAM EXPANSION
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi has announced an additional $4 million in funding for the county’s Small Business Pandemic Support Grant Program, bringing total funding since the program began to $14.8 million.

Through the program administered by Dane Buy Local, new funds will be targeted to Dane County small businesses hit especially hard during the pandemic, including restaurants, retail stores, independent contractors, the service industry, gyms, fitness facilities and dance studios. Since the program was announced last April, 2,700 local businesses have received an average grant of $4,000.

Business owners can get information and apply for a grant here.

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MAKING THE DIFFERENCE
In collaboration with local designers UnderBelly, the Chamber recently launched “Greater Madison: Making the Difference” to tell the stories of area businesses that have taken extraordinary steps to solve the challenges posed by COVID-19.

Most recently, we highlighted Catalent, a global company manufacturing pharmaceuticals and biologics right here in Madison. When the pandemic hit, their local facility was contracted to immediately begin developing vaccines and therapeutics to help in the fight against COVID-19.   

We previously highlighted the efforts of EpicDelve, Midwest Prototyping, UW–MadisonTeel Plastics and American Family Insurance as part of this series. Stay tuned to The BEAM and our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram pages for more stories about businesses that are Making the Difference.

We encourage you to share these stories and support local leadership. If you have your own story to share, send it to Director of Business Development Nikki Javurek.

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QUARANTINE RECOMMENDATIONS
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued updated quarantine recommendations that have also been adopted by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

This guidance clarifies that, while the safest option is for people to quarantine for 14 days after close contact with someone who has COVID-19, there are additional options available for those who have had close contact but do not have symptoms:

— Quarantine for 10 days, then continue to monitor symptoms for four additional days; or

— Quarantine for seven days and get tested on day six or seven of your quarantine. End quarantine once your test comes back negative and then continue to monitor symptoms until 14 days after your last exposure.

Additional information can be found here.

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DEFINING CLOSE CONTACT
With Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) having announced they are moving to a crisis model of contact tracing and no longer able to follow up with everyone who has tested positive for COVID-19, in order to limit spread at home or in the workplace, it is critically important to understand what constitutes “close contact” with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Public Health has released guidance about understanding close contact and outlined potential scenarios, including scenarios such as “the repeat chit chatter,” “the hugger” and “kitchen co-workers” that may be particularly relevant to workplaces.

To see additional PHMDC scenarios and guidance, click here.

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EMPLOYER NOTIFICATIONS
Public Health Madison & Dane County recently announced that their case investigators will no longer call employers to inform them of employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, due to the current high number of residents with positive tests.

According to Public Health, individuals testing positive are responsible for notifying their employer and working with their employer to identify other employees, clients or customers they may have had close contact with during their infectious period. Case investigators will continue to notify employers of employees who test positive and work in schools, child care, health care and congregate living settings.

Employers are being advised to consider anyone who had close contact with a positive employee as exposed and that these individuals should quarantine for 14 days after the last contact with the positive employee. For additional procedures to follow when an employee tests positive, click here.

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OSHA GUIDANCE ON WORK-RELATED COVID EVENTS
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released guidance to employers on how to report in-patient hospitalizations and deaths resulting from work-related cases of COVID-19, as well as the requirements for doing so.

Employers are only required to report in-patient hospitalizations to OSHA if the hospitalization “occurs within twenty-four (24) hours of the work-related incident.” Employers must report a fatality to OSHA “if the fatality occurs within thirty (30) days of the work-related incident,” and that fatality must be reported within eight hours of knowing both that the employee has died and that the cause of death was a work-related case of COVID-19.

Work-related COVID events can be reported by calling the nearest OSHA office, calling the OSHA 24-hour hotline at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) or by electronic submission.

See the full OSHA reporting guidance here.

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UNEMPLOYMENT NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENT
As of Monday, Nov. 2, Wisconsin employers must notify employees of the availability of Unemployment Insurance (UI) at the time of separation from employment (e.g., by email, text message, letter, providing printed poster in person or by mail). Providing this notice does not necessarily mean employees will meet the requirements of Wisconsin UI eligibility laws.

For more information about the requirement, including suggested language and resources to provide to employees, click here.

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COLD-WEATHER STREATERY GUIDELINES
The City of Madison has extended to April 14, 2021, its Streatery Program, which was launched last year to allow expanded outdoor dining to assist restaurants that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. However, colder weather will present new challenges in maintaining outdoor dining while also abiding by Public Health orders.

City Fire Inspection has issued fire safety guidelines for heaters and tents while reminding operators that tents and propane heaters cannot be used together; many restaurants will have to choose one or the other to get through the season. The City has also released cold-weather guidelines for sidewalk cafes and cafes in the parking lane, as well as guidelines for private property.

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CHILD CARE SCHOLARSHIP FUND
Following the announcement by the City of MadisonMadison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) and United Way of Dane County that they were creating a Child Care Scholarship Fund, we called for employers, foundations and the community to donate to the fund to support Greater Madison families and help close the childcare gap.

Just days after the announcement, several organizations stepped up to give back. We are thankful for the leadership of American Family InsuranceM3 InsuranceMGE FoundationMadison-Kipp Corp.6AM MarketingGroup Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin, UW–Madison and others who have contributed to date.

The Child Care Scholarship Fund has a goal of raising $400,000 to provide need-based scholarships for approximately 150 children to attend full-time childcare. This ambitious effort is an important foundation to build upon, but we will need more help to reach our collective goal.

To donate, click here.

Read Chamber President Zach Brandon’s column about the fund in the Wisconsin State Journal. Find additional coverage in the Cap Times here and an editorial from WISC-TV here.

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#JUSTASK CAMPAIGN
The Chamber recently released a Spanish-language version of the flyer for #JustAsk, a collaboration between the Chamber and Public Health encouraging people to feel comfortable inquiring about the steps businesses are taking to enhance their safety.

Along with balancing the needs of our health and the economy, bolstering public confidence is a critical component to reopening Greater Madison. In addition to participating in #JustAsk, businesses can also share reopening plans through this portal so we can aggregate best practices by industry type and socialize them with businesses and the broader community.

You can print and display the Spanish-language #JustAsk flyer here. The English version can be found here.

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ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOANS UPDATE
On June 15, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) began accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and EIDL Advance applications from qualified small businesses and U.S. agricultural businesses.

Applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. For agricultural businesses that previously submitted an EIDL application through the streamlined portal, SBA will process these applications without the need for re-applying.

The EIDL program offers up to $2 million in assistance to small businesses to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills. However, these loans are not intended to make up for lost profits or to be used for expansion.

The CARES Act affords the opportunity to get up to a $10,000 advance on an EIDL. This advance will be forgiven, and small businesses may receive an advance even if they are not approved for a loan.

Eligible small businesses can apply here. For a list of recommended documents and required forms as part of the application process, click here.

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SHARE YOUR STORY
We have long said that Greater Madison is a place that solves global challenges. Now we are actively collecting stories of businesses that have taken extraordinary steps to solve the global challenge posed by COVID-19.

If you have a story to share, please contact Director of Business Development Nikki Javurek.

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BUSINESS REOPENING BEST PRACTICES
As we reopen our economy, we are committed to helping businesses take the steps necessary to ensure the health and safety of their workers and customers. To that end, we are launching a portal to aggregate reopening best practices by industry type, socialize them with businesses and the broader community, advocate on your behalf with local government officials and bolster public confidence in this reopening phase.

Some resources you can consult for examples of reopening procedures and protocols include guidelines from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (general and industry-specific), Wisconsin Safety Council (Returning to Work) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Reopening Guidance and Business FAQ).

Share your reopening plans here.

With our economy on the cusp of reopening, your participation is important as we work to meet this unprecedented challenge. Please contact us with any questions.

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WEDC PPE PORTAL
As part of the Wisconsin Ready plan, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is working to identify manufacturers to supply Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other materials to businesses as they reopen. 

Businesses looking for PPE can search for masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and shields. Manufacturers of PPE can list themselves as a supplier by filling out a profile on the site.

Learn more here.

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PAYING IT FORWARD TO HEALTH CARE HEROES
A coalition of community partners – led by UW HealthUnityPoint Health – MeriterThomas Bradley InsuranceFood FightFearing’s Audio Video Security and Madison Originals – has started Paying it Forward to Health Care Heroes, a new initiative designed to assist restaurants and health care workers impacted by the outbreak.

The initiative enables you to:

–Make a donation to your favorite restaurant and identify that you want your contribution to go toward Health Care Heroes.

–The restaurant will turn your donation into $15 gift certificates, the approximate price of a meal.

–These gift cards will be delivered to UW Health and UnityPoint Health – Meriter, who will then distribute the gift cards to Health Care Heroes as their shift ends.

Donate here.

You can read more coverage about the initiative from the Wisconsin State Journal and In Business magazine.

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PUBLIC POLICY RESPONSE PLAN
The Chamber is continuing to advise all levels of government on the development of a public policy response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

We’re looking for immediate needs that will help employers and workers. Ideas have ranged from helping the newly unemployed with emergency unemployment insurance (UI) benefits; specific ways to help shuttered businesses; ways to help businesses with HR issues or health and safety concerns; or any additional challenges you are facing from COVID-19.

Ideas can be related to issues including funding, taxes, licensure, temporary loosening of some agency rules and more. Proposals will be shared with policymakers on an ongoing basis.

Fill out the form here.

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SE NECESITA AYUDA (HELP WANTED)
With regular updates and resources being provided for businesses relating to the COVID-19 outbreak, we want to ensure these communications are accessible to all.

If you have experience in language translation around business and government and would be able to assist with this need, please contact Director of Business Development Nikki Javurek.

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VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
United Way of Dane County has set up a webpage devoted to providing information about opportunities to volunteer safely during this time of need. Opportunities include food deliveries, child care, serving meals, transporting needed supplies and much more.

Check out a list of volunteer options here.

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HOW TO SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES
It is important that we continue to support local businesses to strengthen our economy and be there for our friends and neighbors. Here are just a few ways you can do so:

Tip well. Tip more if you are able to do so. Service workers make much of their living on tips, and your generosity can help make up for fewer people ordering food or buying services.

Keep those tickets. If you bought tickets for a local charitable or arts event that was later canceled, consider not asking for a refund, or tell the organization to keep the money you paid for your ticket as a donation.

Buy gift cards. Purchasing gift cards and gift certificates for yourself and others is a great way to support local businesses now while frequenting them at a later date.

Seek virtual options. You can browse and order items from local businesses, including many retailers, online as an alternative to in-person shopping.

Shop for friends, family and neighbors. When shopping, consider asking those who are vulnerable or less mobile if you can purchase anything for them.

Get delivery or takeout. Call restaurants directly or use an aggregated order and delivery service like Madison’s own EatStreet.

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HELPFUL RESOURCES
We strongly encourage you to consult these helpful, regularly updated resources as you implement your business’s infectious disease emergency response (IDER) plans:

CDC: COVID-19 Main Page
CDC: Situation Summary
CDC: Resources for Businesses and Employers
CDC: General Business Frequently Asked Questions
CDC: Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers
CDC: Preventing Spread in Communities
CDC: Print Resources
DHS: COVID-19 Information
PHMDC: COVID-19 Main Page
City of Madison Civil Rights: Mask FAQ

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LUNCH(UP)DATE ARCHIVE
February 25, 2021 – MadREP President & CEO Jason Fields
February 11, 2021 – Public Health Madison & Dane County
January 21, 2021 – PHMDC Pandemic Operations Section Chief Doug Voegeli
January 7, 2021 – Madison College President Dr. Jack Daniels III
December 17, 2020 – Public Health Madison & Dane County
December 3, 2020 – United Way of Dane County President & CEO Renee Moe
November 19, 2020 – Destination Madison President & CEO Deb Archer and MadREP President Paul Jadin
November 12, 2020 – NAMI Dane County Executive Director Anna Moffit (presentation)
November 5, 2020 – UnityPoint Health – Meriter CEO Sue Erickson
October 8, 2020 – U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher
October 1, 2020 – 365Nation CEO Henry Sanders
September 16, 2020 – MMSD Superintendent Dr. Carlton Jenkins
August 27, 2020 – SSM Health Wisconsin Regional President Damond Boatwright
August 20, 2020 – WISC-TV & Madison Magazine Editorial Director Neil Heinen
August 13, 2020 – Gov. Tony Evers and WI Tech Council President Tom Still
August 6, 2020 – Black Chamber President Camille Carter and Latino Chamber President Jessica Cavazos
July 23, 2020 – DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman
July 16, 2020 – Chancellor Rebecca Blank
July 9, 2020 – Public Health Madison & Dane County
June 11, 2020 – U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan
May 19, 2020 – County Executive Joe Parisi and Public Health Director Janel Heinrich
May 6, 2020 – MMAC President Tim Sheehy
April 29, 2020 – WEDC Secretary Missy Hughes
April 24, 2020 – UW Health CEO Dr. Alan Kaplan
April 17, 2020 – U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
April 9, 2020 – SBA Wisconsin Director Eric Ness
April 2, 2020 – Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway

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COVID-19/RECOVERY UPDATE ARCHIVE
March 1, 2021
February 22, 2021
February 15, 2021
February 8, 2021
February 1, 2021
January 11, 2021
December 14, 2020
December 7, 2020
November 30, 2020
November 16, 2020
November 9, 2020
November 2, 2020
October 26, 2020
October 19, 2020
October 5, 2020
September 14, 2020
August 24, 2020
August 10, 2020
August 3, 2020
July 20, 2020
July 13, 2020
July 6, 2020
June 29, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 15, 2020
June 8, 2020
May 26, 2020
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April 29, 2020
April 27, 2020
April 23, 2020
April 21, 2020
April 16, 2020
April 14, 2020
April 10, 2020
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April 8, 2020
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April 3, 2020
April 2, 2020
April 1, 2020
March 31, 2020
March 30, 2020
March 27, 2020
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March 24, 2020
March 23, 2020
March 20, 2020
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March 17, 2020
March 13, 2020

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