April 3, 2020

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Coronavirus Assistance Programs

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Now that the CAREs Act has been signed by President Trump and we've had a little time to digest all of the programs included, I wanted to mention a few that are very timely.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was designed to help employers keep employees on the payroll. Small businesses and sole proprietors can begin applying today, with independent contractors and self-employed individuals able to start applying on Friday, April 10th. You must contact your local SBA lender to apply for the PPP. The Wisconsin Bankers Association has put together resources to help you prepare for applying. 

Also available to businesses is the economic injury disaster loan. This is also administered by the Small Business Administration, but the application is done online directly with the SBA. You can find more information and the application here

The CARES Act also made a few changes to unemployment insurance programs. First, there will be an additional $600 a week available to claimants. This will be available for four months and is in addition to any benefits you qualify for from the state. Unemployment insurance will also be extended to those self-employed. If you are self-employed you will be eligible for the $600 per week provided in the CARES Act. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development administers unemployment insurance in the state and has nearly doubled its staff available to assist claimants. Many people have expressed frustration with the delays in filing for unemployment. It is best to start your application online here

Another focal point of the bill is the $1,200 payments to individuals and $500 for each dependent. Individuals making less than $75,000 and couples making less than $150,000 will receive the full payment. Those with incomes above those thresholds will gradually have their payments reduced depending on their income. 

All payments on student loans administered through the federal Department of Education will be suspended until September 30th. You do not need to take any action on this, your payments will automatically be suspended. No penalties or late fees will be applied during this time. 

More information will be coming out from this legislation as we move forward, but the above items highlight some important aspects people should be aware of right away. 

 

U.S. Chamber Guide and Checklist for Small Businesses 

 

Election Update

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Many communities are in dire need of poll workers during this time. Typical poll workers for an election often fall into the Coronavirus vulnerable categories. If you would like to volunteer as a poll worker, please contact your local municipal clerk. Some municipalities are fully staffed, but you are eligible to work any polling location in your county of residence. I have contacted the Washington County Clerk and offered to volunteer at a polling site if needed. 

Polling places have been consolidated in some communities. Germantown and Menomonee Falls have moved all polling locations to the high school gymnasium for the election next Tuesday. In Glendale, polling sites for districts one and three have been moved to the Nicolet High School cafeteria. Polling sites in Brown Deer, Mequon, and River Hills will all be operating as they normally would. 

A federal judge issued a ruling yesterday that impacted our upcoming election. First, he extended the deadline to request a mail-in absentee ballot. You have until 5 PM today to make your request for a mail-in absentee ballot. Voters will also be given until April 13th to have their mail-in ballot postmarked. Clerks around the state have been directed to not publish any election results until the additional mail-in ballots have bee collected. It is typical for preliminary results to be released the night of the election. 

 

Blood Donations Desperately Needed 
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Right now, the Red Cross is experiencing blood drive cancellations like no other time in recent history and their inventory is at critical levels. Their sites are taking extra precautions to make sure giving blood is safe. If healthy please consider giving blood by calling 1-800-RedCross (73327677) or going to redcrossblood.org to find a blood donation location nearest you that is currently open by simply putting in your zip code.

We also have a local community blood bank, Versiti, where many of the area hospitals obtain their blood supply. They are still accepting donations, you can find out how and where to donate on their website. 

Local Dining Options 

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Many of you have been looking for ways to support the local economy during these trying times. One easy way is to patronize the area bars and restaurants that are still providing service either through takeout or delivery. You can always purchase gift cards for later use as well. 

My office has been working on a list of area establishments that are still running and would greatly appreciate your business. If you notice that we've missed any restaurants on our list, please let us know. Click the picture above to view the list.