Congress has approved $350 billion in emergency loans for small businesses to help them keep workers employed. In fact, if small businesses maintain or later restore their payrolls, they may not have to repay some — or possibly any — of the loan. Here’s a guide and checklist from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to help your small business through the process.
Review the full Emergency Order #12 'Safer at Home' order, issued on Tuesday, March 24.
Visit WEDC.org to review a list of essential business categories, all of which are allowed to continue operations in accordance with the Governor’s Order. Companies that self-identify as essential based upon the definitions in the link do not need to take any further steps. If a business is performing essential functions not included in the approved categories, it may request to be designated as essential by submitting the form at the bottom of webpage. Those requesting this designation will need to explain why they feel they are essential.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved Wisconsin’s request for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to access low-interest federal disaster loans. Under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, businesses may qualify for up to $2 million in loans to cover losses resulting from the pandemic. View more resources on WausauChamber.com/SBA-Resources.
Message from the Chamber:
The Greater Wausau Chamber of Commerce's President and CEO, Dave Eckmann, recorded this message for members, reinforcing the Chamber's role in our community during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Greater Wausau Chamber of Commerce fills a unique role as an organization in our community. The Chamber serves as the connecting piece between businesses of all types, government entities, educational institutions and the not-for-profit sector. These connections will be tested in the coming weeks due to the necessary measures which have been put into place, and those which will follow, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) across our country.
We are actively monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and continuously evaluating options for all of our upcoming programs and events. Our primary concern is for the safety of our members and the community.
Joan Theurer, the Director of the Marathon County Health Department, has pulled together a guide for preparing your workplace for COVID-19. Additional resources are available on Marathon County's website.
The team at the Greater Wausau Chamber of Commerce is poised to assist our members and others in the community to help soften the blow that will impact our community and families. The Chamber is not an expert in this health crisis, but we are able to uniquely connect, coordinate and convey critical information to the business community and our partners in an effort to inform and guide. Because this virus knows no geographic boundaries, our office is reaching out to our chamber peers in Merrill, Stevens Point, Marshfield and Wisconsin Rapids to explore ways in which we can support each other.
Members of the Chamber are encouraged to post available temporary positions to WausauChamber.com through their MIC (Member Information Center) account. Non-members are welcomed to share temporary job openings by contacting the Chamber’s marketing manager, Brian Otten at 715-848-5947.
The Greater Wausau Chamber of Commerce provides a Childcare Connection resource in an attempt to serve those whose childcare options have been impacted by measures mandated to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). This resource is intended to serve as the connecting piece between businesses of all types and those who can provide childcare.The Chamber has compiled a list of local restaurants who are offering take-out and/or delivery options.
Best practices for businesses:
Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and the Wisconsin Safety Council share this list of best practices for the business community:
- Ban in-person meetings (internal or external) and employee convenings (formal or informal) of any size. Employee communication handled virtually wherever possible.
- Employees scanned regularly on-site for body temperature (contingent on availability of scanning devices, which are in short supply due to acute global demand).
- Immediate workflow audit that removes instances of employees being within 6’ of each other.
- Reduction of on-site work hours to minimum needed to sustain operations.
- Staggered shifts and work hours to minimize on-site human presence at a given time.
- Staggered use of all shared spaces, including bathrooms, breakrooms and lunchrooms.
- Staggered facility entry and exit procedures.
- Mandatory work at home for all employees except those necessary for baseline production and logistics functions.
- Sanitary processes implemented throughout facility (soap, hand sanitizer, single-use gloves, doors propped open, hands-free capabilities, no shared food).
- Blue tape marking of surfaces that receive frequent human contact; disinfection of these surfaces multiple times daily.
- International travel ban – business and personal.
- Domestic business travel ban except for critical operations (with senior management approval). Domestic personal travel requires employee to self-quarantine for 14 days and be symptom-free before returning to work.
- Any employee returning from a Level 2 or 3 CDC travel country must self-quarantine for 14 days and be symptom-free before returning to work.
- No deliveries except those that support production activities or emergency building maintenance.
- No visitors (including suppliers and customers) except those approved by senior management.
- Employees must immediately report symptoms associated with COVID-19 exposure.
- Employees must report contact with any person who tests positive for COVID-19; employee must subsequently self-quarantine for 14 days and be symptom-free before returning to work.
The North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board and its Job Center want both businesses and workers to know about available resources.
As businesses are forced to lay off workers due to closures or limited work hours, workers should consider filing for Unemployment Insurance through the Department of Workforce Development. Unemployment Insurance, or UI, is a monetary benefit to eligible employees who experience job loss. To learn more about UI and how to file, visit the DWD site. On this website, workers will find information and videos on how to apply for benefits. The requirements for UI have recently changed since Governor Evers issued an Emergency Order on March 17, 2020.
Individuals are encouraged to apply for UI online. Individuals can file their claim from a home computer or a smartphone. Individuals who need assistance with accessing a computer and/or the internet can still visit a local job center; however, the COVID-19 situation has changed the way services are provided in the local job center. Job center staff must ensure the safety of staff and customers by limiting the number of individuals in the center at a given time. If the Resource Room is crowded, customers may be asked to wait outside or in their vehicle until there is adequate space to maintain social distancing. Job Centers are only providing UI and job search services at this time. It is important to check the website or call your local job center to make sure it is still open for business. Some job centers are closing its doors due to lack of staff to provide services. Do not go to the job center with a cough or fever. Instead, call the Job Center Help Desk at 888-258-9966. Job Search and other employment assistance is also available on JobCenterofWisconsin.com.
The North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board is dedicated to serving businesses and workers during this difficult time. NCWWDB will continue to engage local employers, educators and community organizations to more effectively align workforce development resources. NCWWDB is currently working with DWD to secure additional Dislocated Worker funds to assist with the ongoing crisis. As funds become available, information will be made public.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shares an Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to the Coronavirus. This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the disease.
The goal of the Small Business 20/20 program is to support small businesses and micro-enterprises adversely economically impacted by the COVID-19 Virus
The Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin is conducting a short survey with the region's non-profits. Complete the survey here.
The Marathon County Sheriff’s Department encourages residents to sign up for text alerts and notifications through their Everbridge tool.
By order of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, online registration to vote is extended until March 30, 2020, for the April 7, 2020 Spring Election and Presidential Primary ONLY.
The primary purpose of this extension is to facilitate voting by absentee ballots for those who may no longer wish to or who are unable to vote in person during the absentee voting period on or before Friday, April 3, 2020, or at their polling place on Election Day, April 7, 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Registered Wisconsin voters may request an absentee ballot. If you would like to request an absentee ballot, visit MyVote.WI.gov. If you are not registered or your name or address has changed, you will need to register or update your registration before requesting an absentee ballot.
A webinar on Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and managing a mobile workforce will be held at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, April 1. Register for the webinar here.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) has been signed into law. What does this mean for employers and businesses? Attend this complimentary attorney-led briefing to get the facts on what you need to know, including detail on:Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
Managing a mobile workforce
- Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA)
- Emergency Family & Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA)
- Tax credits (DOL & Treasury Guidance)
Benefits plan considerations
- Overview of “Safer at Home” Emergency Order
- Best practices for managing a mobile workforce
- Layoffs and other considerations
Q & A session
The presenters for this webinar are Nate Priestaf, Compliance Attorney at Ansay & Associates, C. Douglas Moran, Attorney at CarlsonDash and Christy Lyons, CEO at 4 Point Consulting.
Please help send words of encouragement to the residents of our nursing homesHelp encourage the residents of Mount View Care Center and Pine Crest Nursing Home by sending them a card! Our North Central Health Care nursing homes have been closed to visitation to protect the health and safety of our residents and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic and our residents would love to hear from you! A card, hand written note or even a drawing! We will distribute cards to our residents to remind them how much you are thinking of them and to brighten their day.
Cards can be sent to:Resident of Mount View Care Center
2400 Marshall Street,
Wausau, WI 54403Resident of Pine Crest Nursing Home
2100 E 6th Street
Merrill, WI 54452You can also find a listing of all local nursing homes across the State of Wisconsin on the Department of Health Services website at https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/guide/nhdir.pdf
Podcast: Coronavirus edition
Brian Kowalski filmed a podcast episode with Coronavirus Information Officer Judy Burrows of the Marathon County Health Department yesterday. You can view the episode on YouTube.
A brief outline of how to prepare before and respond during a pandemic by Ready.gov, official website of the Department of Homeland Security.
CDC recommended guidance for employers, including advice for developing a response plan and steps that all employers can implement now. Based on what is currently known about the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (Feb 2020)
A guide outlining key planning considerations for organizers of mass gatherings in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak, by the World Health Organization (WHO) (Feb 14, 2020)
Workforce Solutions and MBE CPAs share a FAQ for employers related to the coronavirus.
ABR Employment Services can help those who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 event with several positions available. Those interested can call the agency any time at 715.355.7711 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.The Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin has established the COVID-19 Community Response Fund to address the stress felt by local non-profits during this uncertain time. If you would like to help, please donate on the Community Foundation's site or send your donation by check to the Community Foundation office at 500 1st Street, Suite 2600, Wausau, WI 54403. Please note that it is for the COVID-19 Community Response Fund.