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>>

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension is providing resources for small businesses and guidance for businesses that begin reopening.

Financial assistance for small businesses and nonprofits during COVID-19
Health and Safety Best Business Practices to Reopen During COVID-19

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 hosted a webinar on COVID-19 impacts. March 23, 2:00pm. View here>>

SBA Small Business Relief Options with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Tuesday, April 28 (2:00pm) & Wednesday, April 29 (10:00am). View Here>>

The University of Wisconsin’s Institute for Business and Entrepreneurship on Restaurant Reopening. May 19 at 9:00am. 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 at 2:00pm. Register here>>

State Resources

We’re All In Initiative

Governor Tony Evers and WEDC announced the We’re All In initiative aimed at helping small businesses respond to and recover from the effects of the COVID-19 health emergency. It includes $2,500 cash grants to assist with the cost of business interruption or for health and safety improvements, wages and salaries, rent, mortgages and inventory. If you’re interested in receiving up-to-date information on the initiative and the timeline for the applications for the We’re All In Grant Program, please subscribe to daily alerts at

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 Small Business Development Center

The UW-Madison Small Business Development Center has set up a COVID-19 page where they provide information that is relevant to helping small businesses through the CARES Act and other resources. Read more here>>

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>>

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC)

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce released an employer toolkit for businesses that are balancing how to stay safe while continuing business operations. The online toolkit will help your business with the latest and most relevant information, and will provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. 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.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

The USDA has programs that can be used to provide immediate and long-term assistance to rural communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The agency published a guide on the variety of resources available at the federal, local and state level. Read the guide here>>

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>>

Safe Reopening

As states continue to seek ways to safely reopening portions of the economy, there are resources for businesses on how to do so.

Ten Steps All Workplaces Can Take to Reduce Risk of Exposure to Coronavirus

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) created guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID-19. Read more here>>

Opportunity Insights has created an online tool that includes data visualization features for some key economic indicators as economies begin to reopen. Learn more about how COVID-19 has impacted your community and the state. Find the tool here>>

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