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On Wednesday, July 1 Axios hosted the first of a series of six events on small business recovery across America. Axios co-founder Mike Allen and cities correspondent Kim Hart lead a conversation with leaders across Wisconsin, including Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Madison Black Chamber of Commerce President Camille Carter and Timber Hill Winery owner Amanda Stefl.

Sen. Ron Johnson unpacked the country's response to the coronavirus, stressing the need for the government to recapitalize businesses that have been economically devastated.

  • On the measures taken to slow the spread of coronavirus: "I think we overreacted. We closed too much of our economy down, and I don't think we focused enough on what we needed to do: isolate the sick, quarantine them, protect the vulnerable."
  • On what the government can do for small business owners: "We really need to be taking a look at some program or programs ... to potentially restore capital to viable businesses that can reopen."

Timber Hill Winery owner Amanda Stefl discussed how her business and others in the food industry have changed during coronavirus.

  • On how they stay engaged with customers: "With the pandemic, we've taken a big shift to online, hosting our events online and increasing the capabilities of our website to improve our online sales."

Madison Black Chamber of Commerce President Camille Carter highlighted the coronavirus's impact on the Black business community. The chamber represents 350+ Black-owned businesses in Madison, Wisconsin.

  • On why some entrepreneurs might hesitate to restart businesses: "It’s very difficult to be shut down despite all of your hard efforts and the thought of rebuilding and going through that process can be daunting."
  • On the power of community: "Through these challenges you find multiple levels of government — city, county and state — really coming together and sharing resources and wanting to invest in the solution more than ever before."

Thank you Facebook for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

3. Minority-led SMBs turn to digital tools because of lack of funding

Small businesses owned by minorities were more likely to make the most out of digital tools during COVID-19, according to the Digitally Driven study.

Why it’s important: These minority-owned businesses that quickly adapted to the new normal and have a higher comfort level with digital tools have become more focused on long-term business goals through the pandemic.

4. SMBs need more time

Capital and technical assistance are critical, but so is time.

Why it’s important: Thought leaders agreed that knowing or having access to the technology is not enough if these businesses don’t have the time to actually implement those technological strategies.

Congress plots COVID pandemic-era office upgrades

oving crates outside Rep. Elise Stefanik's old office Tuesday. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The House plans to renovate members' suites even though staff are worried about an influx of contractors and D.C. is tightening restrictions on large gatherings, some staffers told Axios.

Why it matters: The Capitol has been closed to public tours since March. Work over the holiday season comes as U.S. coronavirus cases spike, Americans beg for more pandemic assistance and food lines grow.