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Member Message
Two weeks into Safer-At-Home, summary of resources available to Oshkosh area businesses
We just completed week two under Governor Evers’ “Safer at Home” order. It appears Oshkosh businesses are heeding the warnings by having employees work remotely and implementing best practices to ensure the health and safety of their employees. As you all know, this hardship is causing many businesses to put in place plans to mitigate the economic impact of the Safer at Home order. As my member message from last week stated, “we cannot just hope that the sales will turn around in the short term. It is time for us to look at our own situations and be prepared to scale our actions to those most important activities. This is an opportunity to take a strategic look at your operations by looking for innovative ways to market and sell your products and services. No one will be doing that for you.” This remains to the challenge for all of you in the days ahead.

However, help was delivered through the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act is aimed at helping workers, businesses, and states deal with the economic fallout from efforts to curb the coronavirus outbreak. Though relief is on the way, there may be frustrating delays in getting assistance due to the overwhelming demand and unprecedented nature of some of these programs. Navigating through this bureaucratic maze is difficult for most small business. To help ease your stress, the Oshkosh Chamber has built out a robust webpage listing business resources and links that are designed to give you the most up-to-date information on loan programs designed to help small business through the next few months. I encourage you to seek out these opportunities. All are listed on this webpage. I would also recommend that you seek out assistance from your business banker, certified public accountant and/or legal counsel. 

Prior to the passage of the CARES Act, Congress enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The FFCRA has many facets to it including new temporary employer obligations relative to paid leaves of absence related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and expanded employer obligations under the Federal Family and Medical Leave Law. The von Briesen & Roper Law Firm conducted a webinar on the FFCRA on Monday. More information and the full video of their presentation can be found on our webpage.

To help the restaurant and bar businesses that were the hardest hit early on, the Oshkosh Chamber responded with a Micro-Loan program. Any Oshkosh Chamber member bar/restaurant that is located in the Oshkosh area is eligible for up to $2,500.00 in a low interest loan for business purposes. Click here for more information and an application. Winnebago County responded with its own COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program. This program, a collaboration between the Fox Cities Regional Partnership, Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce, and Greater Oshkosh Economic Development Corporation, has yielded a fund totaling $750,000 to help small businesses. Loans are available in the amounts of $1,000, $2,500, $5,000, or $10,000 with a 3-year amortization, 2% interest, deferred principal and interest until November 1. Loans support basic business needs, including rent/mortgage payments, utility payments, payroll expenses, and pre-existing purchase orders. Contact Rob Kleman about either of these programs. Click here for more detail and a loan application
 
Next Tuesday, April 7 is the local and presidential primary spring election. If you have not already voted by absentee ballot, please make a point of going to the poll to cast your vote. Here is a link to your polling location - https://wcgis3.co.winnebago.wi.us/voting/.
 
Last week, I asked each of you to find some time between looking out for your families, employees and community to do what you can to keep business rolling and dollars flowing throughout Oshkosh. While we continue to be under the Safer at Home order, there remain many ways that each us can help keep the local economy going. In response, the Oshkosh Chamber is reminding you to keep buying local. To support the campaign, this video has been produced and is airing on a variety of cable stations in the Oshkosh market. We are also encouraging you to patronize our local restaurants. To help you, we have compiled a list of local restaurants that you can call for delivery or take out. 
 
In the days ahead, look to the Oshkosh Chamber as your source for the most updated information. We are providing multiple updates daily. Oshkosh Chamber staff is here and is on the job. We are providing advice and counsel to the local business community. Energies and resources have been shifted to assist and support our member businesses. We are here when you need us the most.
 
John Casper
President & CEO
Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce