"We're All In" Initiative Offers Grants, Guidelines
Announced today (May 18, 2020), the "We're All In" initiative is focused on Wisconsin's recovery. In addition to the previously released WEDC health guidelines for business' reopening and the Ethnic Minority Emergency Grants for ethnically diverse Wisconsin micro-businesses, today's announcement also includes:
  • $2,500 recovery grants for up to 30,000 small businesses with 20 or fewer employees. More details about the program will be available later this month, with businesses able to apply for grant assistance in June. Funds for this grant were received through the CARES Act, and they can assist with the costs of business interruption, health and safety improvements, wages and salaries, rent, mortgages, and inventory. 
  • A public information campaign promoting businesses and social practices to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Understanding PPP Forgiveness
On Friday (May 15, 2020), the Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, released the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application . The forgiveness application, which should be submitted to the business' lender, includes some key clarifications.

  • Alternative Payroll Covered Period. In the forgiveness application, businesses are required to enter the eight-week "Covered Period" of the PPP loan - beginning from the PPP Loan Disbursement Date. However, for administrative ease, the SBA allows borrowers to calculate eligible payroll costs on a schedule that better follows your business' payroll cycle. The Alternative Payroll Covered Period can be based on the eight-week period that begins the first day of pay period following the PPP Loan Disbursement Date.
  • Borrowers can include eligible expenses that have been paid or incurred during the eight-week period.
  • Eligible payroll costs are listed according to the Interim Final Rule.
  • Eligible nonpayroll costs (equaling no more than 25% of the total forgiveness amount) consist of:
  • Mortgage obligations: payments of interest (not including any prepayment or payment of principal) on any business mortgage obligation on real or personal property
  • Rent obligations: business rent or lease payments pursuant to lease agreements for real or personal property
  • Utility payments: business payments for electricity, gas, water, transportation, telephone, or internet access
  • FTE Reduction Exceptions. Much of the PPP loan forgiveness is based on employee retention, as measured by the number of FTEs. For full forgiveness, businesses should have the same number of FTEs as they did on February 15, 2020. The loan forgiveness application allows the below-listed exceptions to the number of FTEs if the number of FTE employees was reduced between February 15, 2020 - April 26, 2020; and is restored by June 30. Exceptions which do not reduce loan forgiveness:
  • The borrower made a good-faith, written offer to rehire an employee during the Covered Period or Alternative Payroll Covered Period which was rejected by the employee OR
  • During the Covered Period or the Alternative Payroll Covered Period, employees:
  • were fired for cause
  • voluntarily resigned, or
  • voluntarily requested and received a reduction of their hours.
  • The PPP Schedule A Worksheet, part of the application process, provides specific guidance on Loan Calculation Forgiveness.

Dane County Provides Reopening Guidance
Forward Dane provides Dane County-specific data and guidance for safe interactions and a phased business reopening approach. The plan complements the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ Badger Bounce Back Plan and the guidance provided by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation so everyone can understand their role in opening up our county.

This guidance is based on Dane County metrics and introduces reopening requirements for all sectors .
Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program
For many Wisconsin families, quality child care is an essential factor in the ability to return to work. In addition, due to declining enrollment and safety concerns, an estimated 40% of child-care providers statewide have made the difficult decision to temporarily close.

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) is assisting in the launch of three payment programs to support child care providers through the Child Care Counts Program:
  1. Funding to Care for Essential Workforce Families
  2. Incentive Pay for child care providers and individual educators.
  3. Support for Temporarily Closed Child Care Programs to support the costs of retaining staff and reopening child care programs as Wisconsin’s workforce returns to work.

There will be three application periods, the first beginning today (May 18, 2020).
The Wisconsin SBDC Network is a proud part of the  Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship  in the  University of Wisconsin System . It is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the  U.S. Small Business Administration.