The Network Effect
The Chamber has a virtual portal for employers to submit questions relating to COVID-19 and its impact on business. Responses are posted at

Submit questions about the Forward Dane reopening strategy, CARES Act, availability of assistance for your business and more by visiting and entering the event code #ASK4BIZ (or simply click here to go directly to the page). Questions can also be submitted via email at

Good evening --

Here are the latest updates on the COVID-19 outbreak and our organizational efforts to inform and ensure an effective community response.

Today's highlights include a preview of tomorrow's Lunch(UP)date with Public Health, tonight's Ethnic Minority Emergency Grant deadline and a new Chamber series focused on helping business leaders find resiliency in the face of adversity.


Tomorrow (May 27) from 12:15 to 1:00 p.m., staff from Public Health Madison & Dane County and the Chamber will come together for our next Lunch(UP)date to answer frequently asked business questions about the Forward Dane reopening plan, its requirements, recommendations and the latest insights about next steps.

Phase One of Forward Dane took effect this morning, enabling many businesses to open at 25 percent capacity, unless they were previously authorized to operate at higher levels during Safer at Home. The order also defines mass gatherings as planned events with a large number of people in attendance and requires physical distancing procedures to be implemented, among other provisions. View the Public Health requirements for reopening, along with best practices and templates, here.

Register for Lunch(UP)date here.

We know you still have a number of questions about the plan and what it means for your business, so submit in advance any questions you may have for Public Health or the Chamber at


With businesses facing unprecedented challenges and increasingly in need of support, the Chamber has created Here to Hear, a series designed to bring together Greater Madison business leaders to seek resiliency in the face of adversity.

These intimate, confidential, peer-based conversations will be facilitated by Darcy Luoma and are open to any business leader, owner or decision-maker looking for support from their peers to discuss the obstacles they are encountering during this time.

Sign up here for the session this Monday, June 1. Sign up here for the session on Tuesday, June 9.

If your preferred event is full, please add yourself to the waitlist and we will contact you if a space opens up at that time or at another time. Contact Director of Business Development Nikki Javurek with any questions.


Tonight is the deadline to apply for Ethnic Minority Emergency Grants, a program – announced last week as part of the state's "We're All In" initiative – that provides $2 million in grants for ethnically diverse Wisconsin micro-businesses who suffered losses related to COVID-19.

The grants are aimed at sole proprietorships or businesses with five or fewer employees that have not received assistance under the state Small Business 20/20 program or federal Paycheck Protection Program. Learn more and apply here.


Last week, the Chamber hosted the latest in our Virtual Industry Meeting (VIM) series, as hoteliers assessed current needs for their businesses and shared projections for the three phases of responding to the COVID-19 outbreak: relief, reopening and recovery.

For hotels operating during the "Safer at Home" order, some experienced occupancy rates in the single digits. All agreed that guest safety and cleanliness is paramount and have taken many steps to expand cleaning procedures and reconfigure space to adapt to physical distancing guidelines. Attendees also expressed a desire and need to drive more business by amplifying that this work is being done.

While meeting and event business is limited, there is opportunity to reach leisure travelers. Participants showed strong support for Destination Madison and their destination marketing efforts, which are critical. At the same time, there is a need to prioritize business travel aimed at 2021 and beyond to help the industry recover, which will likely take many years.
The Chamber has also convened lenders, developers, commercial property owners, manufacturers, and insurance, biotech and healthtech leaders as part of our Virtual Industry Meeting series to help inform our advocacy. Please continue to share with us any policy ideas and recommendations.


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.


For a full archive of previously shared resources, visit

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