Earlier this week, the Minnesota Legislature passed – and Governor Walz signed – a bipartisan assistance package aimed at providing a lifeline to our state’s small businesses and working families until federal relief can arrive. The bill includes a 13-week extension of unemployment insurance and direct financial support for businesses.
The Minnesota Department of Revenue estimates 5,800 small businesses will receive $82-88 million beginning before the end of December. Another $114.5 million will be distributed to counties to provide grants to impacted businesses, and movie theaters and convention centers will receive $14 million. In the bill, Hennepin County would receive just over $25.2 million for small business grants. You can read my statement here.
More information on what’s in the bill can be found here, and the specifics on eligible businesses, program requirements, and payment amounts here.
Updated Rules for Restaurants, Bars, Gyms, and Other Venues
On Wednesday, Governor Walz provided an update for bars, restaurants, gyms, and other venues which will start on December 19:
- Bars, restaurants, and breweries: Will remain closed for indoor dining, but they may open for outdoor service at 50 percent capacity or up to 100 people.
- Gyms and fitness studios: May open for individual exercise at 25 percent capacity, or 100 people maximum,.
- Youth and adult sports: Practices can resume January 4.
- Outdoor entertainment venues: Open at 25 percent capacity, up to 100 people maximum.
- Social Gatherings: Minnesotans may gather inside with one other household up to 10 people. If outside, social gatherings may include up to two additional households (three total) with a maximum of 15 people. Masking and social distancing is strongly encouraged.
You can find information on these updates and more at StaySafe.MN.
Virtual Town Hall
Thank you to everyone who tuned in to the SD 48 Virtual Town Hall Thursday night. As usual, it was a fast-paced event as we addressed many of your questions and concerns. If you were not able to participate, you can click on this link to watch the town hall.
Student workers now eligible for unemployment
The Minnesota Court of Appeals recently ruled that the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, under the federal CARES Act, does in fact apply to student workers and therefore unemployment benefits are now available for students whose employment was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Payments are being made retroactively. Student workers are encouraged to apply at www.uimn.org before December 26. More information is available from Youthprise.
Everyone can work to reduce the spread of COVID-19
- Wear masks when in public. 10-50% of virus carriers are asymptomatic (are not experiencing any symptoms). Wearing masks helps control the virus and has been shown to lessen COVID-19 spread.
- Avoid enclosed spaces with groups of people, where the virus can linger in the air for long periods of time.
- Get tested if you have cold or flu-like symptoms.
- Stay six feet away from others.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or sleeve, or a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands afterwards.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom or before eating. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your face – especially your eyes, nose and mouth – with unwashed hands.
- Up-to-date guidance is available from the Department of Health.
Please continue to reach out with any input, ideas, or feedback about the issues important to you. I value hearing from you, so please don’t hesitate to call or email me any time. You can also connect with me on Facebook here. It’s an honor to represent you at the State Capitol.