There is no question we are in unprecedented times – which has and will require unprecedented action. Of course, the first priority is protecting public health, but addressing the inevitable economic fallout from COVID-19 is also extremely important.
WEDA continues to work on your behalf and is engaging with policymakers, government officials and the private sector to address the economic challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic. We also remain committed to providing the latest information and resources to our members regarding the COVID-19 crisis:
“Safer at Home” Order
On Tuesday, March 24, Governor Tony Evers issued a “Safer at Home” order for Wisconsin that directs all residents to stay in their homes, except to perform essential tasks, and shuts down non-essential businesses. The order is effective at 8:00 am on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 and remains in effect until 8:00 am Friday, April 24, 2020, or until a superseding order is issued. Please CLICK HERE to read the entire order.
The order includes detailed information regarding what business are considered essential, including those identified in the U.S.Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response.
If you are unsure about whether a particular businesses is considered essential under the order, please CLICK HERE to contact the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). If a business is not included on the essential list, they can apply to WEDC to request an essential business designation.
A FAQ from Gov. Evers on the Safer at Home order can be found here.
Work with Your Existing Bank – Payment Accommodations:
As always, talk with your local bank representative that currently works with your business. See how they can work with you in addressing your needs! Banks have greater flexibility due to the guidance that regulatory agencies have provided during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Excerpt from FDIC letter to Banks on Loan Accommodations: The FDIC encourages financial institutions to provide borrowers affected in a variety of ways by the COVID-19 outbreak with payment accommodations that facilitate their ability to work through the immediate impact of the virus. Such assistance provided in a prudent manner to borrowers facing short-term setbacks could help the borrower and a community to recover. The FDIC understands that effective loan accommodation programs may involve protracted resolutions, but all should be ultimately targeted toward loan repayment. Financial institutions may want to consider addressing any deferred or skipped payments by either extending the original maturity date or by making those payments due in a balloon payment at the maturity date of the loan. When deferring or skipping payments, providing borrowers with accurate disclosures that are consistent with federal and state consumer protection laws will help to avoid any misunderstandings relative to the changes in the terms.
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance:
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved Wisconsin for low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19.
- Uses: Pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills tied to COVID-19 impact.
- Interest Rates: 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75 % for nonprofits.
- Repayment: Deferred for up to twelve months. Interest accrues during the deferred period. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
- Maximum Loan Amount: The qualifying small business can apply for a loan of up to $2 million.
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Application: Click Here
Small Business 20/20:
Small Business 20/20 Program provides grant funds to approved community development financial institutions (CDFIs). Approved CDFIs will award grants of up to $20,000 to their existing loan clients to assist with cash-flow challenges resulting from COVID-19. Businesses that are not currently CDFI clients are not eligible to access these funds, but WEDC will work to expand access to funding through other programs as more resources become available. If you have more questions, view this page on the program. A CDFI list can be found here.
- If your business is seeking funds to deal with short or long-term challenges of the COVID-19 and don’t have a current banking relationship, please reach out to your local economic development representative. They are aware of local programs available that may be available to your business. Here is a directory of our members. Search for your local contact by city or county
- CRA Network of Wisconsin – If you are seeking financing via a loan product and the above resources are not meeting your expectations, please reach out to the CRA Network of Wisconsin. The Community Reinvestment Act of Wisconsin is here to get your loan proposal in front of numerous banks via one presentation. Connect with us by email.
gener8tor is hosting emergency one-week virtual programs (March 30 – April 3) for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. These programs will feature daily webinars designed to identify, understand and help small businesses secure resources to withstand the current crisis.
Signup Deadline: March 25, 2020 at 11:59PM
Program participants will be invited to daily lunch-time webinars with experts in the following topics: Banking experts for step-by-step process on applying for SBA-eligible programs, Civic, philanthropic and state emergency relief resources, employment law experts, federal emergency relief programs. Businesses wishing to enroll in the program should sign up using the form below. SIGN UP
Legislative and Policy:
- The U.S. Congress has passed a $2 trillion COVID-19 economic recovery bill, known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The bill, which President Trump has signed into law, includes $250 billion for direct payments to individuals and families, $250 billion in unemployment insurance benefits and $500 billion in corporate aid. The legislation also includes the Paycheck Protection Loan Program, which provides $350 billion for forgivable small business loans during the COVID-19 crisis. CLICK HERE for a comprehensive overview of the bill by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
- Gov. Tony Evers issued Emergency Order 15 directing the suspension of evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 crisis.
- WEDA COVID-19 Economic Recovery Proposals – WEDA members have developed a list of high-level COVID-19 economic recovery proposals for Wisconsin policymakers to consider as they continue efforts to mitigate the unprecedented COVID-19 economic fallout.-
- The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service recently announced the federal income tax filing due date is automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. The deferment applies to all taxpayers, including individuals, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers as well as those who pay self-employment tax. More information: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus. Wisconsin income tax payment and return due dates have also been extended to July 15, 2020
- The WI Department of Revenue has announced a small business filing extension for sales and use tax returns. Returns that were due on
March 31, 2020 are now due on April 30. Returns due on April 30 are now due on June 30.
- The Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law on March 18 and goes into effect on April 2, 2020. The law focuses on paid sick leave and expanded FMLA provisions, including:
- Emergency paid sick leave: Full-time employees of employers with less than 500 employees that are unable to work due to COVID-19 are eligible for 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave. Part-time employees are eligible to receive the equivalent of the number of hours they would work, on average, during a two-week period.
- Expanded Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): The law expands the FMLA definition of employer to all employers with fewer than 500 employees, and expands the definition of a covered employee to include all employees who have worked for covered employers for at least 30 days.
Other COVID-19 Resources:
Economic and Business Resources:
- WEDC – COVID-19 Business Resources
- Wisconsin Small Business Development Center – COVID-19
- WEDC – COVID-19 Guidance for Downtown Districts & Communities
- Wisconsin DWD – Unemployment COVID-19 Public Information
- Small Business Administration – COVID-19 Information
- Institute for Business and Entrepreneurship – COVID-19: How we can help businesses