Responding to COVID-19 in Wisconsin

Wisconsin residents have an important role to play in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives. You can find up-to-date information about cases in Wisconsin at

Here are resources to help individuals, families, and businesses combat struggles as a result of the pandemic. 

Badger Bounce Back Plan

April 20, 2020 – Governor Evers unveiled a detailed plan called “Badger Bounce Back.” The plan, generally based upon federal guidelines, includes a three-phased approach to re-opening the economy and society in Wisconsin. Each phase is incrementally less restrictive on businesses and individuals while protecting the public from COVID-19.

Criteria for progressing to the next Phase include increased testing, a downward trajectory of influenza-like illnesses reported within a 14-day period, and a downward trajectory of COVID-19-like syndromic cases reported in a 14-day period. Evers also announced that Wisconsin is taking steps to increase COVID-19 testing capacity and implement a contact tracing program.

COVID-19 Bill Signed by Governor

April 15, 2020 – Governor Evers signed into law the first relief package in response to COVID-19. The bill makes it easier for the state and private businesses to respond to COVID-19, mostly by loosening a series of restrictions and providing additional money for the state to use when federal dollars fall short. Here is a breakdown of what the bill does and what limitations it has.

Small Business Guidance and Loan Resources

Small businesses are facing an unprecedented economic disruption due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. On Friday, March 27, 2020, the President signed into law the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security), which contains $376 billion in relief for American workers and small businesses. In addition to traditional SBA funding programs, the CARES  Act established several new temporary funding programs to address the COVID-19 outbreak including:

  • Paycheck Protection Program – This loan program provides loan forgiveness for retaining employees by temporarily expanding the traditional SBA 7(a) loan program.
  • EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) Loan Advance – This loan advance will provide up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties.
  • SBA Express Bridge Loans – Enables small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly.
  • SBA Debt Relief – The SBA is providing a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Not sure which program is right for you? Learn more. 

Business owners will be able to apply for these loans at any lending institution that is approved to participate in the program through the existing U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) lending program and additional lenders approved by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The SBA has many well-established lending partners including many community banks.

Economic Impact Payments

Some Americans have already seen payments deposited in their bank accounts. 

  • Who is eligible?
  • How much can you expect?
  • Check the status of your payment
  • Submit bank information for direct deposit if the IRS does not have it

Here is what you need to know about your Economic Impact Payment also referred to as stimulus payments.

COVID-19 Resources for Restaurants 

The Wisconsin Restaurant Association has put together helpful employer resources including a COVID-19 employer toolkit, how to get started with delivery services guide, ideas to support employees and an FAQ. As an employer, review 10 ways you can support your employees over the next days, weeks and months. 

Also review employee resources including unemployment benefits, supplemental food programs, health insurance, temporary job listings and mental health resources.

Unemployment Compensation

If you are employed in Wisconsin and have become unemployed or partially unemployed through no fault of your own, you may apply for unemployment benefits online.

The following changes have been made to help Wisconsin residents during the outbreak: 

  • As a result of Governor Evers Emergency Order, you do not need to do a work search during the Governor’s declared emergency. The Department is in the process of making the necessary updates. No action is needed on your part regarding the work search.