Navigating Coronavirus for Small Businesses

This page provides business owners with links to information so they may prepare for the continued spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wisconsin and plan accordingly impacts to their business operations. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) offers up to date information about the spread of the virus, and healthy habits to reduce the risk of infection. We also encourage you to view information from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

The data science group at UW-Madison is providing up-to-date tracking of COVID-19, including links to organizations across the nation that are trying to track and predict the spread of COVID-19. Read more here>>

Impacts to Your Business

Your business may be affected by COVID-19 in four principal ways, including:

  • workforce health
  • supply chain issues
  • travel advisories and restrictions
  • changes in consumer demand

While your business may be affected in any of the four areas noted, employee health is a particular concern. The CDC indicates that business owners should take the following steps with regard to employee health.

  • Emphasize staying home when sick, and proper respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning
  • Advise employees before traveling to take certain steps

Cornell University organized a set of materials to help hospitality-based businesses in dealing with COVID-19. Read more here>>



Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce with Governor Tony Evers and members of his cabinet. View here>>

The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce on how your business can withstand a global pandemic. View here>>

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce with U.S. Senator Ron Johnson on the federal government response. View here>>

The International Economic Development Council is hosting a webinar on COVID-19 impacts. March 23, 2:00pm. View here>>


The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce on small business needs. Weekly on Tuesdays at 11:00am. Register here>>

Wisconsin’s Small Business Administration Office is holding daily informational webinars  2:00pm. Register here>>

State Resources

Small Business Grants

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is creating a program to provide grants to targeted businesses throughout the state to assist small businesses that suffer losses related to the COVID-19 health emergency. The $5 million grant program will assist “smallest of the small” businesses around state.

The grants will be deployed by partnering with state’s 23 community development financial institutions (CDFIs). Applications for business assistance must be processed through the CDFIs and not WEDC.

Learn More About Small Business Grants>>

Workforce Development & Work-Share

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has created a webpage to share information about businesses impacted by COVID-19, including guidance on unemployment, employment and training, vocational rehabilitation, and equal rights.

Wisconsin’s Work-Share program is available to businesses who experience slowdowns that require a reduction in staff. Wisconsin’s Work-Share program helps Wisconsin businesses keep skilled workers on the job who otherwise would have been laid off, and helps workers remain employed with a reduced impact on wages and employer-sponsored benefits.

Work-Share is designed to help employers retain employees during slow business periods by reducing employees’ hours and allowing affected employees to file for partial Unemployment Insurance benefits (UI) to replace a portion of their reduced pay. Participating workers also keep employer-provided benefits and avoid financial challenges associated with a total loss of employment.

Learn More About Work-Share>>

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)

WEDC is providing a webpage designed to provide the latest, best information to WEDC clients and the citizens of Wisconsin on resources aimed at maintaining the vitality of the companies upon which our economy depends, including resources available to Wisconsin businesses from WEDC and other local, state and federal agencies.

Learn more here>>

Read the WEDC report ‘Navigating Through COVID-19 in Wisconsin>>

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)

DATCP has created a toolkit for farmers and agricultural businesses to help them plan and implement their response to COVID-19. Read the toolkit here>>

Business Survey Results

The Kenosha Area Business Alliance recently deployed a web-based survey to gather information and provide support to Kenosha Area employers as they navigate the COVID-19 public health emergency. The survey details how many companies are changing their business models and work environment to manage the emergency.

See the survey results here>>

Federal Resources

Federal Stimulus Package

President Donald Trump signed a federal stimulus package on March 27 to support individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19. Small business grants and aid will operate through the Small Business Association. There are also several non-business related provisions, including federal grant responsibilities, aid to health providers, and more.

The US Senate has put together another set of resource materials related to the CARES Act as it pertains to small businesses and other elements of program. Read more here>>

The United States Chamber of Commerce and the United States Small Business Administration have also provided guidance and resources to businesses impacted by the COVID-19.

SBA Disaster Loan Program

The SBA will soon be providing Wisconsin small business assistance through its disaster loan program. While no one can apply for a loan until the declaration is approved, you can get started right now with forms you’ll need and be ready to go when the portal opens.

  • Tax Information Authorization (IRS Form 4506T) for the applicant, principals and affiliates.
  • Complete copies of the most recent Federal Income Tax Return.
  • Schedule of Liabilities (SBA Form 2202).
  • Personal Financial Statement (SBA Form 413).
  • Profit and loss statements
  • Monthly sales figures (SBA Form 1368)

To see frequently asked questions about the SBA disaster loan program, click here>>

Broadband Access for Businesses

The Federal Trade Commission (FCC) is looking into programs to ensure that people and business have access to broadband services during the COVID-19 emergency.  Read more here>>

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