COVID-19 Information for Businesses

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The City of Wauwatosa is continuing to monitor and assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to the business community. It is critical that Wauwatosa’s businesses take all necessary steps to help the city reduce the spread of COVID-19.

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Tosa Restarts Loan Program

To help businesses retain employees and cover reopening expenses as reopening is permitted, the Tosa Restarts Loan Program provides working capital loans to businesses located in the City with an active storefront or office that also meet the following criteria:

  • employ 50 or fewer employees
  • have been in operation on or before March 12, 2020
  • demonstrate profitability in 2019 (subject to staff review if newly opened in 2019)
  • have no outstanding taxes, special assessments, fines, fees, code compliance violations, or involvement in a current lawsuit or criminal case

Businesses can receive a loan for up to $10,000 with:

  • a five to seven loan year term
  • an interest rate of 2% per year
  • payments (principal and interest) deferred for the first six months
  • loan funds will be available for six months from the dates businesses are allowed to reopen in accordance with applicable law, unless program funds are fully disbursed sooner

Application Process

To apply, please submit the application form and documentation below via e-mail to economicdevelopment@wauwatosa.net.

All businesses receiving assistance will be requested to complete a follow-up survey at a later date after the loan is awarded. Recipients must are encouraged to maintain detailed records on reopening dates, documentation of loan expenses, and staff and payroll records. 

Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce Emergency Loan Fund

The Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce (HWCC)  offers an Emergency Loan Fund (COVID-19) program in response to the negative impact that Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had on the Wisconsin business community. Funds are primarily used for working capital to cover rent, payroll, and other fixed expenses. This program offers loans from $5,000 and up to $10,000 at a low rate with an interest-only option for the first 3 months.

Applicant Requirements:

  • Be an existing business in operations for a minimum of two (2) years.
  • Be located in a low to moderate-income tract or be a minority-owned business located in Wisconsin.

Kiva Crowdfunded Loan Program

Kiva has made loans more available than ever for small business owners during tough economic times. Apply for a loan

In addition to 0% interest and no fees, U.S. applicants for a Kiva loan will have access to the following:

  • Expanded eligibility: More businesses in the US will be eligible for a Kiva loan.
  • Larger loans: The maximum loan on the Kiva platform will increase from $10,000 to $15,000.
  • Grace period: New borrowers may access a grace period of up to 6 months for greater financial flexibility.

MMAC, MCW & M7 Business Restart Toolkit

A collaborative effort between MMAC, the Medical College of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee 7 Economic Development Partnership has launched an online toolkit to help business restart and operate safely while protecting employees, customers and facilities. The toolkit, which can be accessed online, is designed to help businesses identify risks and implement health and safety procedures that will protect their employees and customers.

Toolkit resources include:

  • A restart checklist to give business leaders a step-by-step approach to opening and operating safely.
  • Health and safety best practices that are based in science.
  • Quick links to resources for disinfecting, personalized protection equipment, and more.

Small Business Administration (SBA) Information

The U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) offers information on Coronavirus small business guidance and loan programs.  The SBA can assist small businesses with accessing federal resources and navigating their own preparedness plans as described by the CDC’s Guidance for Businesses and Employers.  Additionally, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce provides helpful summaries of SBA programs and how to apply for assistance. 

Find SBA Assistance Near You

  • Small businesses with SBA-backed micro-loans, 7(a) loans, and 504 loans can request deferrals of three-six months. Contact your lender for details. 

Other Federal, State, and Local Resources

  • The IRS has established a webpage to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the Coronavirus.

  • The U.S. Department of Labor has resources to help workers and employers prepare for the COVID-19 virus, including use of Family Medical Leave.

  • Wisconsin Main Street's Downtown District & Businesses: Coronavirus Response guidebook includes high-level information on the Coronavirus, links to resources for specific technical resources, and best practices and ideas for marketing, communications, outreach and business and event planning during the upcoming period of economic and social change.

  • Department of Workforce Development's Coronavirus Information for Partners responds to the rapidly evolving public health emergency.  DWD understands COVID-19 that has raised many questions by individuals, businesses, and organizations. Work-Share is a DWD program that helps businesses avoid layoffs, allowing workers to remain employed and employers to retain trained staff during times of reduced business activity.

  • The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) and Milwaukee 7 are available to support Milwaukee Region businesses during the Coronavirus outbreak. MMAC has created a Coronavirus Guidance & Resources web page with the latest information for business leaders.

  • Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) - WWBIC is working with federal, state and local partners to support our many WWBIC borrowers and entrepreneurs and businesses in need of loan capital now. Check back often for updates as this situation continues.

  • Wisconsin Unemployment Benefits - Wisconsin unemployment benefits are available to any individual who is unemployed through no fault of his/her own. If an employer must lay off employees due to the loss of production caused by the Coronavirus, individuals may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they meet the monetary criteria and the weekly eligibility criteria.

  • U.S. Treasury Coronavirus Resources, Updates, and What You Should Know - The U.S. Treasury Department is supporting American workers and businesses who are impacted by the Coronavirus.

  • Some banks, such as Associated Bank, are extending additional support for small business clients experiencing hardship from the impact of the virus (e.g., loan payment deferrals, temporary credit card payment relief assistance, etc.) Please contact your lender for additional information.

  • Almost all businesses carry insurance and for many, business interruption insurance exists within their policy. You should check with your insurance provider to understand your coverage and what, if any claims you may have.

  • The Wisconsin Restaurant Association (WRA) has resources to inform restaurants on the latest policies, mandates and guidelines and is working to provide additional resources, including an FAQ on HR practices, food safety and unemployment. WRA also shares ideas to keep businesses viable while serving the community.

Common issues that small businesses may encounter

  • Capital access. Incidents can strain a small business’s financial capacity to make payroll, maintain inventory and respond to market fluctuations (both sudden drops and surges in demand). Businesses should prepare by exploring and testing their capital access options so they have what they need when they need it. View the SBA’s capital access resources.
  • Workforce capacity. Incidents have just as much impact on your workers as they do your clientele. It’s critical to ensure that your workers have the ability to fulfill their duties while protected.
  • Inventory and supply chain shortfalls. While the possibility could be remote, it’s a good preparedness measure to ensure you have either adequate supplies of inventory for a sustained period and/or diversify your distributor sources in the event that one supplier cannot meet an order request.
  • Facility remediation/clean-up costs. Depending on the incident, there may be a need to improve the protection of customers and staff by increasing the frequency and intensity that your business cleans surfaces that are frequently touched by occupants and visitors. Check your maintenance contracts and supplies of cleaning materials to ensure they can meet increases in demand.
  • Insurance coverage issues. Many businesses have business interruption insurance. Now is the time to contact your insurance agent to review your policy to understand precisely what you are and are not covered for in the event of an extended incident.
  • Changing market demand. Depending on the incident, there may be access controls or movement restrictions established which can impede your customers from reaching your business. Additionally, there may be concerns about public exposure to an incident, and customers may decide not to go to your business out of concern of exposing themselves to greater risk. SBA’s resources partners and district offices have trained experts who can help craft a plan specific to your situation to help navigate any rapid changes in demand.
  • Marketing. It’s critical to communicate openly with your customers about the status of your operations, what protective measures you’ve implemented, and how customers will be protected when they visit your business. Promotions may also help incentivize customers who may be reluctant to patronize your business.
  • Plan. As a business, bring your staff together and prepare a plan for what you will do if the incident worsens or improves. (More information on how to create a business continuity plan is located further down this page.) It’s also helpful to conduct a tabletop exercise to simulate potential scenarios and how your business management and staff might respond to the hypothetical scenario in the exercise. For examples of tabletop exercises, visit FEMA’s website.

Access to capital

The U.S. Small Business Association provides a number of loan resources for small businesses to utilize when operating their business. More information on loans or how to connect with a lender is available on the SBA website.

Access to lending partners

The U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) has developed Lender Match, a free online referral tool that connects small businesses with participating SBA-approved lenders within 48 hours.

7(a) program offers loan amounts up to $5,000,000 and is an all-inclusive loan program deployed by lending partners for eligible small businesses within the U.S. States and its territories. The uses of proceeds include: working capital; expansion/renovation; new construction; purchase of land or buildings; purchase of equipment, fixtures; lease-hold improvements; refinancing debt for compelling reasons; seasonal line of credit; inventory; or starting a business.

  • Express loan program provides loans up to $350,000 for no more than 7 years with an option to revolve. There is a turnaround time of 36 hours for approval or denial of a completed application. The uses of proceeds are the same as the standard 7(a) loan.
  • Community Advantage loan pilot program allows mission-based lenders to assist small businesses in underserved markets with a maximum loan size of $250,000. The uses of proceeds are the same as the standard 7(a) loan.
  • 504 loan program is designed to foster economic development and job creation and/or retention. The eligible use of proceeds is limited to the acquisition or eligible refinance of fixed assets.
  • Microloan program involves making loans through nonprofit lending organizations to underserved markets. Authorized use of loan proceeds includes working capital, supplies, machinery & equipment, and fixtures (does not include real estate). The maximum loan amount is $50,000 with the average loan size of $14,000.

Business Continuity Plans

Every business should have an emergency plan to ensure that its resources aren’t overwhelmed in times of need, and that their customers will continue to receive products or services on time. Additionally, costs can add up if the business is forced to close for an undetermined amount of time.

Businesses who are prepared with a plan can resume service faster, and might be able to assist with community recovery.

Elements of a Business Continuity Plan

  • Determine and document which staff, materials, procedures, and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep your business operating.
  • Identify and document your suppliers, shippers, and other important resources.
  • Define and document crisis management procedures and individual responsibilities in advance.
  • Plan for your building or brick-and-mortar location to be inaccessible.
  • Plan for payroll continuity.
  • Include employees from all levels in your planning, to ensure that it makes sense from all perspectives, from front-line to management.
  • Keep both digital and physical copies of important records – lease agreements, insurance policies, employee contract and identification information, bank account records, etc. – in multiple secure locations.
  • If your business is a multi-tenant building or complex, consider working with neighboring businesses to share resources and create a continuity plan that covers all of your needs.

Learn more about creating a continuity plan by viewing FEMA’s Business Continuity Guide.