COVID-19 Business Resources

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges to all forms of Wisconsin businesses. Operations have been impacted through social distancing, interference with supply chains and employee availability.  We’ve compiled some of the resources available to businesses to help navigate through these difficult days.

The two primary financial assistance tools at this time are the SBA’s Emergency Disaster Loans and the newly created COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program.

Small Business Administration SBA Disaster Loans Information

On Saturday March 21 the Small Business Administration (SBA) declared all of the counties in Wisconsin an SBA Economic Disaster. The SBA is now accepting applications for disaster assistance loans for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Disaster assistance loans will be offered up to $2M. These loans are working capital loans designed to sustain your business in the way it could have existed if the disaster had not occurred (assessing your ability to pay accounts payable, payroll, paying fixed debt, and other operating expenses). These loans are not intended to be for equipment, expansion or  to cover past lost profits or make up for an already struggling business read more…


The CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) authorizes up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. All loan terms will be the same for everyone.

The loan amounts will be forgiven as long as:

  1. The loan proceeds are used to cover payroll costs, and most mortgage interest, rent, and utility costs over the 8 week period after the loan is made; and
  2. Employee and compensation levels are maintained.

Payroll costs are capped at $100,000 on an annualized basis for each employee. Due to likely high loan demand, it is anticipated that not more than 25% of the forgiven amount may be for non-payroll costs.    Any unforgiven amounts will be considered a loan.   Loan payments will be deferred for 6 months.  read more…

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is working with state agencies to provide resources for businesses and aiming to sustain and maintain what you have built. 

WEDC Business Resources

Additional resources can be found in the Wisconsin Main Street COVID Response Report. This can help with information on any of these topics:

  • About COVID-19
  • General Business Best Practices & Resources (Legal, HR, etc.)
  • Organization Strategies (Downtown Organizations)
  • Business Strategies
  • Example Marketing Materials
  • Additional Resources


The Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board has a list of online resources ranging from the Northwest Regional Planning Commission, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), the CDC, OSHA/HHS, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

WEDC Small Business 20/20 Grant Program

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)  created the WEDC Small Business 20/20 Grant Program to provide grants to targeted small businesses with no more than 20 employees.  This grant program is very selective as it requires the business have an existing loan through a Certified Development Financial Institution (CDFI) to be eligible.  Attached to this email is the list of the CDFI’s in Wisconsin.  I will note that Royal Credit Union (RCU) is a CDFI.    Here is a link to the grant program details.


Learn more about SB20/20 Grants

Community Development Financial Development

List of Certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFIs) with Contact Information

Copy of WI-CDFI-Cert-List as of 3-13-2020

Wisconsin Follows Federal Government, Extends Tax Deadline

Late last week, the federal government announced that tax deadlines were extended. This extension has now been applied to Wisconsin state taxes as well – automatically extending the deadlines to July 15 and waiving interest and penalties for taxpayers due to a President-declared disaster.

This relief is solely for income tax payments and does not require tax filers to file extension forms to be eligible for the new due date.


Wisconsin’s Shelter-In-Place: What Businesses are Essential?

Governor Tony Evers has now issued a #SaferAtHome order, which is functionally a Shelter in Place Order like the ones we have seen in New York City, California, and Illinois over the last week.

In a Twitter chain, the Governor expressed that “I know this has been difficult and has disrupted the lives of people across our state. That’s why issuing a #SaferAtHome order isn’t something I thought we’d have to do, and it’s not something I take lightly. But here’s the bottom line: folks need to start taking this seriously.” He noted that includes the closure of all “non-essential business statewide.”

The SBDC office has had several calls and emails today asking us what is an “essential business?”    While Governor Evers is expected to provide more details about what businesses are considered “essential” tomorrow (Tuesday, March 24, 2020), he has so far defined essential employees as “workers providing essential care or services in our communities… That includes folks like healthcare professionals, grocers, family caregivers, among other people whose work is critical for folks across our state.”  Beyond that description that is all that the SBDC has received.

Utility Rules Suspended to Allow Additional Flexibility

Governor Tony Evers announced a new emergency order, Order 11, which will suspend several utility-related administrative rules. The goal is to provide flexibility to utility customers so that they do not have to choose between paying utility bills and other necessities during the COVID-19 emergency.

Because of this order, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin was able to direct regulated utilities in the state to:

·     Stop utility disconnection for nonpayment for all customers, including commercial, industrial, and farm accounts. Previously this applied to residential accounts only;

·     Cease assessing late fees to customer accounts;

·     Halt the practice of requiring deposits from customers for reconnection of service;

·     Allow deferred payment agreements for all customers who request them;

·     Remove any administrative barriers for customers establishing or reestablishing utility service; and

Authorize water utilities to provide budget billing arrangements to customers. Electric and natural gas utilities are allowed to do this under current rules.

Department of Workforce Development

This site is updated regularly  with relevant information about COVID-19 as it becomes available.

Information for the public regarding DWD and the COVID-19 virus.

Information includes General Public Information

 Tavern League of Wisconsin

Governor Evers issued an Executive Order requiring all non-essential businesses to close. The order is in effect through April 24th or until the Governor lifts the order. The new order allows taverns/restaurants to continue to offer food to be delivered or picked up. The new order also allows a tavern without a food license to sell liquor to go in the original unopened package. Read more at:

Below are a couple of resources to consider for employers to prepare and prevent COVID-19 impacts on the workplace.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Federal “CARES” Act Summary

Federal CARE Act Cheat Sheet 

Below are links to various business related organizations who have compiled COVID resources:

Department of Workforce Development:
Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board:
Wisconsin Tavern league:
America’s SBDC:

Below are general links for COVID-19 information.

Governor’s site:
Wisconsin Department of Health Services:

ga('require', 'displayfeatures');