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COVID-19 Emergency and Economic RecoveryAdd to Report

Resources to help navigate services during the
COVID-19 Emergency

We want to assist local businesses to come out strong at the end of the public health emergency.

Local Resources

Eau Claire County COVID-19 Order

The Eau Claire City-County Health Department has issued a local order in respect to guidelines for stopping the spread of COVID-19. Local order takes over where the WI Safer at Home order has expired.  . Six feet of social distancing within these gatherings should be practiced. Other updates were made in regards to food/beverage self-service, occupancy within indoor business settings and service industry waiting rooms. Read the updated order below for more details.
click here to learn more

COVID-19 Information for Local Businesses

The Eau Claire City-County Health Department has published several check lists as resource strategies to prevent the spread of disease, while businesses are open to employees & the public. Keep these facts and "best practices" available while reopening for curbside service or partial reopening in the future.

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Regional Loans from the Regional Business Fund

The Regional Business Fund, Inc. offers low-interest loan funds to businesses that expand within the region; diversify the economy, add new technology, revitalize buildings in the region's downtown, create or retain quality jobs, and leverage private capital investments in the region. Check with this local, non-profit lender for a loan product that may fit your current business needs.

A new offering from the RBF; EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) is designed to assist small businesses most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic by assisting with long-term, fixed rate, low-interest financing.

click here to learn more

State Resources

Governor Evers Grants Federal Funds to Wisconsin Lodging Industry Partners

Gov. Tony Evers announced December 3 2020, that COVID-19 Lodging Grants have been awarded to 663 Wisconsin lodging operators. The grant aims to help stabilize the state’s lodging industry as it continues to be impacted by the pandemic. Grantees were awarded an average of approximately $350 per eligible room in Wisconsin.

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Governor Evers Grants Federal Funds to Live Music and Entertainment Venues

Ninety-six Wisconsin music and entertainment venues will receive $15 million in COVID-19 Live Music and Entertainment Venue grants, Gov. Tony Evers announced Thursday, December 3, 2020. 

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Governor Evers Grants Targeted Assistance to the Restaurant Industry

Wisconsin restaurants and small businesses affected by the pandemic receiving $45 million. Restaurants and other small businesses that are eligible for the grant program will receive $20,000 each by the end of the year.  Eligible businesses will be identified using state tax records and will be contacted directly by the Department of Revenue. 

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Governor Evers Executive Order #94

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Stay updated about important Wisconsin economic and business news, as well as new programs and resources for your community.
WEDC Focus Forward & Reopening "Best Practices"

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click here to read "best practices" for reopening

Wisconsin Main Street Tips for Businesses

Document designed by Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to serve as a repository of ideas, tips and best practices compiled from local, state and national resources to allow our downtown (and other small businesses) to survive and thrive in light of current and rapidly changing circumstances.

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Did your business close (or cut hours) during this COVID-19 Emergency?
Apply for Unemployment Insurance Benefits with the State of Wisconsin.

If you are out of work, because of business closure, you will qualify for WI State Unemployment Insurance Benefits. The Work Search part of UI Benefits has been waived for persons out of work due to COVID-19 emergency. As of 4/15/20, the Wisconsin Legislature has lifted the one week waiting period for UI benefits. This will be a short term policy, but is retroactive to when the Safter-at-Home order began.

click here to learn more

Federal Resources

COVID-19 Relief Bill - December 2020

This piece of legislation is very new, with details still being finalized. Here are some expected highlights that pertain to the business community;

Key provisions in the bill includes $325 billion in aid for small businesses detailed as follow:


  • $284 billion to the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) for the first and second PPP forgivable small business loans
  • $20 billion to provided Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Grants to businesses in low-income communities
  • $15 billion for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions
  • $12 billion to help businesses in low-income and minority communities

Two PPP Loan Paths - First Draw and Second Draw PPP Loans 


There are now two PPP Loan paths depending on if you previously received a PPP loan.  

  1. First Draw PPP Loans
  2. Second Draw PPP Loans


For both PPP loan paths, applications are to be made to participating banks just like the PPP loan program this past summer.  


Under both First and Second Draw PPP Loans, businesses will still need to spend at least 60% on payroll expenses, which the program specifies includes employer-provided group insurance. The 60-40 cost allocation between payroll (salary, commissions, bonuses, wages, group health/dental/vision insurance, group retirement) and non-payroll costs will continue to apply. For the self-employed, salary only applies. For the remaining 40% - in addition to mortgage/rent and utilities - funds can also be spent on:


  • Operations expenditures (i.e. software and cloud computing needs)
  • Property damage costs due to public disturbance
  • Supplier costs for supplies ordered before the loan was received, or perishable goods ordered before or during the loan
  • PPE equipment for employees purchased to comply with guidance from the Department of Health & Human Services, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Centers for Disease Control, or a state or local government


First Draw PPP Loans

First Draw PPP loans are generally for borrowers who have not previously received a PPP loan but see the exception (F) below. First Draw PPP Loans follow the final rules of the PPP loan program that ran last summer and include the following key PPP loan updates: 


  • Most borrowers may receive a loan amount of up to 2.5 times their average monthly payroll costs in 2019, or the 12 months before the loan application but borrowers in the accommodations and food services sectors (NAICS industry code 72) can receive a loan amount of 3.5 times their average monthly payroll costs in 2019 or the 12 months before the loan application.
  • PPP borrowers can set their PPP loan's covered period to be any length between 8 and 24 weeks to best meet their business needs.
  • PPP loans will cover additional expenses, including operations expenditures, property damage costs, supplier costs, and worker protection expenditures.
  • The Program's eligibility is expanded to include 501(c)(6)s, housing cooperatives, destination marketing organizations, among other types of organizations.
  • The PPP provides greater flexibility for seasonal employees.
  • Certain existing PPP borrowers can request to modify their First Draw PPP Loan amount. (We await more clarification on who may be eligible for this and the process.)


Second Draw PPP Loans

Certain existing PPP borrowers are now eligible to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan. A borrower is generally eligible for a Second Draw PPP Loan if the borrower: 


  • Was in business before February 15, 2020
  • Has fewer than 300 employees
  • Used, or will use, prior PPP loan if previously received
  • Can demonstrate at least 25% revenue decrease in gross receipts* during the any quarter of 2020 (compared to the same quarter in 2019)


We will be issuing another update next week on the PPP loans and several other COVID Relief programs.

Additional Information on PPP First and Second Draw Loans can be found at the links below if you like to read more.

Read the SBA's full Interim Final Ruling on Second Draw PPP Loans (42 pages)


Read the SBA's Interim Final Rule on Paycheck Protection Program as Amended by Economic Aid Act   First Draw PPP Loans (82 pages)


CARES Act - Pandemic Unemployment Assistance & Pandemic Unemployment Compensation

As part of the CARES Act, is the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Unemployment Compensation programs. These provisions are designed to allow individuals within the workforce to receive Unemployment Benefits, that are not traditionally eligible (gig workers & self-employed). There are other sectors of the workforce that have been displaced due to COVID-19, and would collect benefits with this program. There is also an extension of UI benefits for those who have exhausted their previous eligibility, PEUC. Follow link below to learn more and apply.

click here to learn more updated 4/21/20

CARES Act - Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020

Passed June 5, 2020 is the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020. This amendment to the original PPP legislation adds some much-needed flexibility to the repayment, forgiveness and usage of funds.

  • Extended the covered period (for loan forgiveness) from 8 weeks to 24 weeks.
  • Changed the ratio of forgiven funds from 75/25% (payroll/other expenses) to 60/40% to allow for more "other" expenses to get forgiven, as many businesses were running at full employment during the emergency.
  • Extended loan term from 2 years to 5 years
  • A few other amendments (see link for full details)
click here for full details on PPP Flexibility Act of 202

SBA Express Diaster Bridge Loans

Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses, who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender, to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA EDIL. If a small business has an urgent need for cash, while waiting for a decision and disbursement on SBA EDIL, they may qualify for SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan.


  • Up to $25,000
  • Fast Turnaround
  • Will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from the EIDL Loan
  • These Express Loans carry a higher interest rate, set by the lender
  • Must work directly with SBA Express Lender bank to apply
click here to learn more

SBA Economic Injury Diaster Loans

Applications for SBA EID Loan deadline has been extended to December 31, 2021.
Follow links below:

  • Some tips to follow - SBA EID Loans are loans with flexible payment structures, 3.75% apr and can be held for up to 30 years.
  • SBA's advise for all wanting to apply - Apply Now, even if you are worried about eligibility or not sure if this is the right path for your business. Get the process started and get in line with the SBA Loan Officer to determine your best path at that time.
  • If loan amount is under $25K, then no collateral will be required, if loan is more then collateral is required but does not have to be free and clear.
  • There is no credit score minimum to be considered.
  • There is even a form (1368) for a startup business to be considered for loan dollars, based on projected revenue.

Need help with your application? The Small Business Development Center in Eau Claire is fielding questions and helping with navigating the application.

Contact SBDC

Loan Details

Guide to Applying for SBA Loans

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

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Q&A from the US Dept of Labor

Family First Coronavirus Response Act responds to COVID-19 by requiring paid sick leave, free coronavirus testing, expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits, and requiring employers to provide additional protections for health care workers. Below are details on some of the topics that are specifically designed to benefits displaced workers.

Emergency Paid Leave Act of 2020

Workers qualify for paid leave during the following conditions;

  • Individual has COVID-19
  • Individual is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking medical diagnosis.
  • Individual is quarantined (including self-quarantine) at the instruction of a health care provider, employer, or government official to prevent the spread of COVID-19
  • Individual is caring for another person who is under quarantine
  • Individual is caring for a child or other individual who is unable to care for themselves due to closing of school or child care facility due to COVID-19 Benefits are distributed by the SSA. Eligible workers receive a benefit for a month (up to three), in which they must take 14 or more days of leave from their work due to qualifying COVID-19 reasons. Benefit Amount: Two-thirds of the worker's average monthly earnings (based on most recent year of wages or self-employment on record), up to $4000/mo. Days when the worker receives pay from their employer (wages or sick pay) do not count as leave days for purposes of this benefit.
  • Applications will be taken online, phone or mail. Payments will be made electronically.
  • Paid Sick Days for Public Health Emergencies & Personal and Family Care Act
  • This Act requires all employers of full-time employees to provide 14 days of additional paid sick leave, available at the beginning of a public health emergency. Part-time employees sick leave benefit will reflect hours worked from the previous two weeks of employment.
  • Businesses (less than 500 employees) would be reimbursed for the cost of these 14 paid sick leave days, when utilized by employees. Will take effect immediately upon bill enactment.