The recent passing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, Economic Security (CARES) Act could provide some much-needed help to area businesses.

About $350 billion was allocated by the government to help small business keep workers employed among other financial help.

If businesses need a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program, the loan may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis and restore them afterward. Small businesses and sole proprietors began applying Friday, April 3. Independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply beginning Friday, April 10. Loans are available to sign up for through June 30.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) recently established a $5 million program — Small Business 20/20 — that will help the “smallest of the small” businesses around the state. It will provide grants of up to $20,000 to businesses with less than 20 employees to cover various expenses.

“This is a program targeted at some of the ‘smallest of the small’ businesses that are vital to their communities. Many of these businesses, especially retailers, restaurants and small service providers, typically operate on the narrowest of margins,” WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes said in a news release. “Many don’t have the cash reserves needed to survive a substantial loss of revenue, which can happen with a prolonged emergency. SB 20/20 will help put cash in the pockets of these businesses and their employees when they need it most.”

More information is available at www.wedc.org.Lodi area business can get more assistance by visiting the Lodi and Lake Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce at www.lodilakewisconsin.org and clicking on the COVID-19 tab.

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce has also put together a toolkit to answer questions and so businesses can get the latest information. Go to www.wmc.org and click on the “Employer Toolkit” link.

For more information on the CARES Act, visit www.sbc.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/guide-to-the-cares-act. People may also visit www.uschamber.com and click on the link to the COVID Small Business Emergency Loan Guide.

Other resources and information include: www.madisonbiz.com (Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce), wirestaurant.org/resources/coronavirus/employee-resources (Wisconsin Restaurant Association), ustravel.org (U.S. Travel Association) and www.usa.gova/coronavirus.

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