March 19, 2020

COVID-19 resources

There’s plenty of information available to businesses about how they can best respond to the coronavirus pandemic. We hope our members will find these resources helpful.

Sauk County maintains an online map of open food and beverage businesses here. The Chamber maintains a rundown of its members’ hours and available services here.

Grants for small businesses

The We’re All In Small Business Grant program is designed to help small businesses get back on their feet as they re-emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and Safer at Home, while also encouraging adoption of best practices to keep employees, customers and communities safe.

Funded by the federal CARES Act, the We’re All In Small Business Grant will provide $2,500 to 30,000 Wisconsin small businesses to assist with the costs of business interruption or for health and safety improvements, wages and salaries, rent, mortgages and inventory.

To be eligible, businesses must:

  • be a Wisconsin-based, for-profit business;
  • employ 20 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, including the owner;
  • earn greater than $0 but less than $1 million in annual revenues; and
  • have been in business in February 2020.

The online grant application will be accessible for one week from 8 a.m. Monday, June 15, through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, June 21. Get more info here.

PPP webinar

The Sauk County Development Corporation teamed with MBE CPAs and Baraboo State Bank on May 21 to offer an informative webinar about the Payroll Protection Program.

How to avoid health risks

With the state emerging from the Safer at Home order, Sauk County Public Health has issued a list designed to give people a better sense of the risk level of certain activities, and precautions they can take to reduce that risk.

Sauk County Public Health advice on reopening

Our ability to safely reopen businesses and organizations without a large increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths relies on a three-pronged approach, much like a three-legged stool. The three legs of this approach are:

  1. Individual Responsibility
  2. Business & Organization Accountability
  3. Public Health Mitigation

And like a 3-legged stool, if one leg is weak, there is risk of the entire stool failing to protect the person sitting on it. Read Sauk County Public Health’s advice here.

Where to buy PPE

Wondering where to buy PPE and safety supplies? The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation launched a new category, Find PPE and other protective equipment suppliers here on the existing Wisconsin Supplier Network. This website helps connect new and existing businesses in Wisconsin with the buyers, suppliers and service providers they need.

HDI, a wholesale distributor in West Bend, offers a diverse line of products including PPE supplies, health and hygiene items and cleaning supplies. Find HDI’s sales sheet below.

HDI – PPE Items

State offers aid to small businesses

Governor Evers has announced $75 million in assistance for small businesses as part of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s We’re All In initiative, a comprehensive effort to celebrate and help small businesses get back on their feet and support best practices to keep businesses, consumers, employees and communities safe.


Visitor Center open once again

The Baraboo Area Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center is now open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.  We are eager to welcome back our members, community members, and tourists.To do so in the safest way possible for all, we have put into place guidelines for sanitation, protective equipment, and social distancing. Our staff will be following these guidelines, which include sanitizing after every guest and wearing face masks. We ask that those guests who need to visit the Visitor Center do likewise with a commitment to protecting others.

Sauk County Public Health Chambers Commerce toolkit

Tools for reopening Sauk County’s economy

Dear Members and Community Partners,
Yesterday, The Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned Emergency Order #28 (Safer At Home). The Court determined that Safer at Home is subject to administrative rule-making, and because it was not established in rule (but rather it was established via order), the Supreme Court found EO #28 “unenforceable”, as it was not established in rule. This ruling takes immediate effect; there is no 6-day stay.
Even though the Court ruled in this way, Sauk County Public Health strongly encourages all Sauk County residents to voluntarily comply with the key components of the Safer at Home Order. These include:
  • Maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and others;
  • Do not congregate in groups larger than 10 people without physical distancing between groups;
  • Wash your hands frequently;
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
SCPH has developed several guidance tools to help businesses and organizations reopen safely, even without the Safer at Home order in effect. “A strong economy is vital to public health and safety,” said Tim Lawther, Sauk County Health Officer. “We can’t have healthy residents and a healthy community without people working and our businesses providing the goods and services that make Sauk County such a special place.” Faith-based and other community organizations are equally vital to our ability to thrive as individuals, families, and communities.
It is encouraged that individuals practice safer at home and social distancing guidelines. Live music should not be allowed. Not in bars, restaurants or churches. We encourage businesses to follow the guidelines set forth by Sauk County Public Health, which can be viewed here. In addition to the Sauk County link, you can also access WEDC guidelines as a resource for reopening. The Sauk County plans are based largely on the WEDC’s guidelines. I am also extremely excited to be sending you Sauk County Back to Business Toolkit. This collaborative effort by Sauk County Public Health and the Chambers of Commerce in Sauk County has yielded you this great tool to help with reopening. It is our sincere hope that you find these guidelines beneficial as you plan and execute your business’s reopening.
I want to wish each of you continued good health and good fortune as we all follow this roadmap.
Darren Hornby
Executive Director
Baraboo Area Chamber of Commerce

Executive Director Darren Hornby

Safer at Home order lifted; safety urged

From Sauk County Public Health:
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has overturned Emergency Order #28 (Safer At Home). The Court determined that Safer at Home is subject to administrative rule-making, and because it was not established in rule (but rather it was established via order), the Supreme Court found it “unenforceable”. This ruling takes immediate effect; there is no 6-day stay.
Even though the Court ruled in this way, Sauk County Public Health strongly encourages all Sauk County residents to voluntarily comply with the key components of the Safer at Home Order. These include:
  • Maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and others;
  • Do not congregate in groups larger than 10 people without physical distancing between groups;
  • Wash your hands frequently;
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces;
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
A strong economy is vital to public health and safety! We can’t have healthy residents and a healthy community without people working and our businesses providing the goods and services that make Sauk County such a special place. Faith-based and other community organizations are equally vital to our ability to thrive as individuals, families, and communities. SCPH has developed several guidance tools to help businesses and organizations reopen safely, even without the Governor’s Safer at Home order in effect:
  • More detailed public health guidance, by sector, will be released early next week. But there are many things that businesses and organizations should be doing to prepare for a safe reopening, including:Develop flexible sick leave policies that encourage staying home when ill
  • Ensure all operations support 6’ physical distancing
  • Implement a system to limit and direct traffic in your business
  • Set aggressive infection control policies (hand washing, surface cleaning, barriers to reduce contact between customers and staff)
  • Create a system to monitor any symptoms your employees may have
  • Ensure policies are consistent with public health guidance, state and federal law
  • Source needed disinfectants, soap, sanitizer, and PPE if used
  • Cross-train and prepare for absenteeism
  • Communicate your plan to employees and customers
Sauk County will be rolling out our plan to safely reopen County buildings and services very soon. SCPH will be updating guidelines regularly online.


Resources for reopening businesses

The University of Wisconsin Extension offers resources on financial assistance for small businesses and nonprofits, as well as a rundown of best practices for reopening.


Catch up on recent webinars

Many thanks to Mariah Wulff, community grief specialist with the Agrace Grief Support Center, for presenting a webinar on grief as part of the Chamber’s “Restart, Rebuild” series. During the Zoom call, she discussed how best to support people affected by the pandemic. To access slides from her presentation, click HERE. To watch a recording of the webinar via Google Drive, click HERE.
If you missed the webinar by Aspect Multimedia on video streaming, you can watch it here!
You can access the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Baraboo/Sauk County’s webinar on leadership in our virtual world via Google Drive here.


PPP loan forgiveness application

The Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, has released the Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness application and detailed instructions.

To apply for forgiveness of your PPP loan, you must complete this application as directed in the instructions, and submit it to your lender. Borrowers may also complete this application electronically through their lender.

Videos on keeping workers safe

The Wisconsin Safety Council has created videos about returning to work safely and responsibly. These include Senior Safety Manager Laura Waide’s presentation on the eight steps to keeping employees safe. There also is a link from WMC’s new video series called “Wisconsin Business Voice” featuring Laura summarizing the webinar.


City of Baraboo logo

City offering loans to nonprofits

The City of Baraboo is helping nonprofit organizations hurt by COVID-19 by creating an Emergency Loan Fund for Not for Profit businesses. This program was created to help Not for Profit businesses with fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees by offering loans of up to $5,000. Loans will be made interest-free until January 1, 2021, with a 2 percent interest rate applied thereafter. Monthly payments are not required, but loans must be repaid by July 15, 2021. For detailed guidelines and an application form, visit

State advice on reopening

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has placed guidance for businesses preparing to reopen on its website.

Federal agency offers grants

The Economic Development Administration has released a notice of funding opportunity , along with a host of other resources, for the $1.5 billion in grants provided under the CARES Act, allowing eligible entities to begin applying for funding. Eligible entities include state and local governments, nonprofit organizations and tribes, and tourism marketing campaigns.

Eligible grantees should submit applications to one of the six regional EDA offices, which will then determine which grant applications to fund. Grantees will be asked to explain clearly in their application how their project would “prevent, prepare for and respond to coronavirus” or respond to “economic injury as a result of coronavirus.”

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact their nearest regional EDA office before submitting an application.

An updated fact sheet is available, as is the EDA’s FAQ page and other resources,

Governor’s order opens retailers

Gov. Tony Evers today announced another turn of the dial on Safer at Home to add even more opportunities for Wisconsin businesses to get back to work in a safe and responsible way. Emergency Order #36, signed today by Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, allows all standalone or strip-mall based retail stores to offer in-person shopping for up to five customers at a time while maintaining required social distancing practices. The order takes effect immediately.

Paid leave tax credits for businesses

Small and midsize employers can claim two new refundable payroll tax credits. The paid sick leave credit and the paid family leave credit are designed to immediately and fully reimburse eligible employers for the cost of providing COVID-19 related leave to their employees.

Guidelines for reopening

Gov. Tony Evers has announced that businesses looking to keep workers, customers and families safe while “turning the dial” toward reopening can now draw on a series of publications to keep them informed of best practices and safety tips.

City offering loans to small businesses

The City of Baraboo understands the dilemma many local businesses are currently facing. Many local businesses have been forced to reduce or even suspend their normal business operations due to COVID-19.
The City would like to help our businesses survive and look towards recovering to be stronger than before. To help in this area, the City has created the Emergency Assistance Fund – Small Business Loan Program. This program was created to help any small for profit business with fewer than 25 full time equivalent employees. Even a business with many part-time employees can still qualify.
The program was established to loan local small businesses up to $5,000 to help them now! The loans will be interest-free until January 1, 2021 and after will have an interest rate of 2% per annum until July 15, 2021. Loans will not require any monthly payments, but must be repaid by July 15, 2021.
The program is designed to make the application process as easy as possible. By visiting city website at, you can see the details of the program and complete the application online. The City will begin accepting applications May 1, 2020.
Read a Baraboo News Republic article about the program here.


Labor Department offers workplace safety tips

U.S. Department of Labor has published Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, its guidance aimed at helping workers and employers learn about ways to protect themselves and their workplaces during the ongoing pandemic. Find more resources here.

Downtown Baraboo Inc. logo

List of open downtown businesses

The Downtown Baraboo, Inc. business group has compiled a list of members that are offering goods and services during the pandemic quarantine. Find it here.

Federal rules on paid leave

Read tips from the U.S. Department of Labor on paid leave here.

Clips from Wednesday’s webinar

Many thanks to Tom Graber of Workplace Elevation for his informative webinar Wednesday on “Managing Through Transition.” Find clips of the webinar on the Chamber’s YouTube channel:


PPP forgiveness guide

Find the Wisconsin Bankers Association’s guide to Payroll Protection Program forgiveness here.

Work-share program designed to avoid layoffs

The Department of Workforce Development is encouraging Wisconsin employers to consider Wisconsin’s updated Work-Share Program to avoid worker layoffs.

The Work-Share Program, also called “short-term compensation,” is designed to help both employers and employees. Instead of laying off workers, a participating employer may reduce their work hours. Workers whose hours are reduced under an approved work-share plan receive unemployment benefits that are pro-rated for the partial work reduction. This allows everyone in the work unit to maintain some income and their health benefits.

For more information on the Work-Share Program and how to apply, visit  For additional questions, contact the DWD-Unemployment Insurance Employer Service Team at

Info for independent contractors

Read the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s simple explanation for independent contractors interested in PPP, EIDL and unemployment information.


Capital Newspapers unveils grant program

Local businesses are the heartbeat​ of our communities. That is why Capital Newspapers is excited to announce its Local Matching Grant Program. This program is designed to help the local business community double the impact of its marketing through a matching grant. Applications are now being accepted for May and June.
This grant applies to the full suite of print and digital marketing products. This includes print ads, digital display ads, and agency products such as web design and social media management.
To apply, fill out the application form linked here and detail your marketing goals and challenges during this difficult time. Within 48 business hours, your application will be reviewed and an associate will contact you with next steps.


SBA is taking PPP applications again

The U.S. Small Business Administration resumed accepting Paycheck Protection Program applications from participating lenders this morning. Apply here! You can also read the SBA fact sheet here.


Department of Tourism COVID-19 website

The Wisconsin Department of Tourism regularly updates its web page dedicated to COVID-19.

Badger Bounce Back plan

Check out Governor Evers’ “Badger Bounce Back” plan to reopen the state per federal guidelines. The Governor’s Office and Department of Health have issued a fact sheet about the plan.

Sauk County COVID-19 dashboard

Sauk County has created an online dashboard with updated statistics about COVID-19 in the county.

5 Things Businesses Can Do Right Now

The Wisconsin Bankers Associated has issued advice to businesses coping with the economic impact of the pandemic quarantine. Check out its fact sheet on accessing CARES ACT aid here.

Unemployment Benefits Update

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development has released new information on unemployment benefits. Download a document with helpful links here.


Making Sense of PPP

Confused about the Payroll Protection Program? Check out this explanation from Ogden, Glazer & Schaefer.

Restaurant Impact Survey

The National Restaurant Association is collecting information on the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. This data will help the National Restaurant Association and the Wisconsin Restaurant Association make the case to state and federal lawmakers that more relief is needed.
Restaurant operators are encouraged to complete this survey as soon as possible for your information to be included in the data. The National Restaurant Association will share the Wisconsin-specific information with WRA, which will be helpful in telling our state’s story.
If you are a restaurant operator with multiple restaurants in your organization, please consider completing a separate survey for each location. If you wish to only complete one survey, please choose your primary restaurant for this survey.


Minuteman Press Bounce Back Baraboo

Printer offers help under Bounce Back initiative

Minuteman Press is doing its part to author America’s recovery story by running the Bounce Back USA initiative. Bounce Back USA was created by Minuteman Press to offer two free services to help support all of our neighboring businesses as we find a way to work together through these trying times.
First, Minuteman is distributing free COVID-19 awareness and prevention posters to any business in our service area.
Second, it’s providing free local advertising online to stimulate business and help customers overcome the tremendous economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

MBE will help non-clients with federal loans

As many business are focusing on completing the PPP and EIDL loans, MBE CPAs is happy to assist non-clients with this process and compiling the required documents needed for submission. Anyone needing assistance should send email to or call (608) 356-7733.

Click here to visit MBE & Affiliates’ Coronavirus Resource Center for COVID-19 updates regarding legal and business implications, helpful resources and tips, and more.


USDA offers assistance to rural areas

USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Rural Development will keep customers, partners and stakeholders continuously updated as more actions are taken to better serve rural America.
Visit for information on Rural Development loan payment assistance, application
deadline extensions and more.


value chamber commerce

Financial relief for the self-employed

Are you self-employed and your business is closed? The CARES Act may provide some financial relief to the self-employed who are now unemployed. Go to this link to learn more.


Department of Tourism resources

The Wisconsin Department of Tourism has compiled a list of COVID-19 resources to help you navigate this incredibly difficult time.

Answers to frequently asked questions

I’m now out of work, where do I apply for unemployment online? Are there still waiting periods?

I need business help …. now. Where do I find it?


When is the IRS sending me the economic impact payment?

What is COVID-19 anyway?

What are the symptoms? Should we wear masks everywhere? How many people in Wisconsin have it?

WMC toolkit for employers

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce has crafted a COVID-19 Employer Toolkit. It’s designed to help your business with the latest and most relevant information, and will provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. Featured topics in this toolkit include:

  • Coronavirus Small Business Guide, Loan Resources & Guidance
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Federal Paid Leave Changes under FFCRA
  • Work Share – A current state solution to help employers avoid layoffs
  • Federal CARES Act Summary

Rules for lodging establishments

From the Sauk County Health Department:

Further clarification has been provided by the Governor on campgrounds, tourist rooming houses, bed & breakfast establishments, and recreational educational camps.

Nonessential businesses includes recreational and educational camps; and public swimming pools, hot tubs and water attractions (water parks). These businesses must cease operation. Therapy pools used by patients and medical facilities may continue to operate.

Essential businesses include hotels and motels; tourist rooming houses; bed and breakfast establishments; and campgrounds. These businesses can remain in operation but must:

  • Comply with requirements of Sections 13.b (selling groceries and medicine), 13.d (restaurant operations) and 13.e (bar operation) in Emergency Order No. 12.
  • Close swimming pools, hot tubs and exercise facilities.
  • Follow social distancing requirements of at least 6 feet between all individuals to the maximum extent possible.
  • Prohibit guests from congregating in lobbies or other common areas. That means providing adequate space to adhere to social distancing between all people while queuing for front desk services.
  • Avoid meeting in person whenever possible. Switch to virtual meetings, teleconference and remote work.
  • Comply with all Department of Health Services guidelines for businesses.

For additional information regarding campgrounds and lodging facilities, please click the links below:

Lodging facilities


In addition, please educate customers on how it is best to stay home to prevent further disease transmission. With travelers coming in to Sauk County from all over the nation, this could overwhelm our healthcare system as well as the healthcare systems of those communities in which they return to, with visitors as well as residents.

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns at 608-355-3290.


CARES Act info from the SBA

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act designated $350 billion to help small businesses keep their employees working. The Paycheck Protection Program was created under the CARES Act to provide federally guaranteed loans to help small businesses maintain payroll and pay certain other expenses. The loans offered through this program are up to 100 percent forgivable if the business maintains payroll.

Business owners will be able to apply for these loans at any lending institution that is approved to participate in the program through the existing U.S. Small Business Administration lending program and additional lenders approved by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The SBA has many well-established lending partners including many community banks.

The SBA has released information and guidance about the CARES Act on its website:


SBA loans available

Small Businesses and private non-profits are now eligible for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans(EIDL). Loans are available for up to $2 million can help provide working capital to meet the needs of payroll, accounts payable and fixed debt payments until the situation improves.
Wisconsin’s SBA office will again offer live daily webinars to walk you through the application process and answer questions. Register for Monday, March 30 through April 10. All sessions are at 2 pm.

WEDC Essential Business Declaration

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has issued a declaration on essential businesses.

Federal memorandum on essential infrastructure workers

Read the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s memo.

Governor’s order

Read Governor Tony Evers’ Safer at Home order here.

SBA guide to small business relief

Learn what help is available from the U.S. Small Business Administration here.
Businesses and nonprofits can begin their loan applications at

FEMA guide to rumor control

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is working to control rumors related to coronavirus. Read its guide here.

SHRM resource page

Society for Human Resource Management resource page. Local contact is Tom Graber of Workplace Elevation. Reach him by email at or phone at 608-957-5150.

Mayor declares emergency

On Thursday, Baraboo Mayor Mike Palm issued an Emergency Declaration for the city. It invokes emergency actions to be taken during the coronavirus pandemic. Please see the City website for the full declaration or download it here.

Workforce Solutions fact sheet

Read a fact sheet issued by Workforce Solutions, an affiliate of MBE CPAs, titled “Taking the Chaos Out of Conoravirus.”

WEDC offers grants for small businesses

In another step toward assisting small businesses that suffer losses related to the COVID-19 health emergency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is creating a program to provide grants to targeted businesses throughout the state.
Find out more here.
 On Friday, WEDC released an updated document. CLICK HERE to access it.
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation COVID-19 coronavirus

WEDC suggests strategies for combating coronavirus

The staff of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has compiled a document designed to help small businesses pivot and thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic. It features great ideas and promotional materials for several business sectors.
Please CLICK HERE to download it.

WRA seeks survey input from restaurateurs

The Wisconsin Restaurant Association is gathering information from restaurants statewide to share with the public, including restaurants that provide delivery, curbside or to-go service in the next few weeks in response to the limitations and suggestions that are in place as a result of the Coronavirus. Take the survey here.

SBA offers disaster assistance

Read a fact sheet from the U.S. Small Business Administration here.
Note: Don’t go online for the SBA emergency loan program just yet. Wisconsin has not yet been approved. The governor made the declaration request March 18 and it takes about 48 hours for SBA approval. So save yourself some frustration and go online after March 20 or contact your lender, who should be notified when the funds are available for Wisconsin.
The SBA also offers advice online.

Unemployment insurance info from DWD

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development answers questions about unemployment insurance related to the pandemic here.
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce visual aid on safe workplaces

WMC resources include access to webinars

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the statewide chamber of commerce, has made plentiful resources available to local employers.
Click here to access WMC’s coronavirus resource center.
Click here to listen to WMC’s webinar on handling the pandemic.
Click here to hear Governor Tony Evers and his Cabinet secretaries address COVID-19 and its economic impact.
Wisconsin Manufacturers Commerce COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic

Governor alters unemployment insurance rules

Governor Evers issued an emergency order March 18 to waive work search requirements and modify the availability requirements for unemployment insurance benefits for workers impacted by COVID-19. The one-week waiting period for benefits, as well as the requirement that UI claimants conduct at least four weekly work search actions, will be waived during the COVID-19 emergency. His order will also ensure that claimants who are otherwise eligible but out of work due to COVID-19 are considered available for work and therefore eligible for benefits. More information on unemployment benefits can be found on the Department of Workforce Development website.

Facebook introduces grant program

Read about it here.

USBC National Charity Foundation launches campaign

The USBG National Charity Foundation has mounted a COVID-19 relief campaign. To donate to the campaign, or seek, relief, visit the organization’s website.

Healthcare providers seek masks

The Trump administration recently allowed healthcare workers to use N95 face masks not specifically approved for medical use to treat a patient during the COVID-19 pandemic. If your company has available masks to share with healthcare providers, you are encouraged to contact your nearby hospital and clinics. Ask to speak to the person in charge of Materials Management.
Baraboo: St. Clare Hospital 356-1400
Reedsburg: Reedsburg Area Medical Center  564-6487
Sauk Prairie: Sauk Prairie Healthcare 643-3311