Monday night, the Minnesota Legislature approved a new economic assistance package designed to help small businesses and workers struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation includes direct financial assistance to the hardest hit businesses and helps protect economic security for workers by extending unemployment benefits. Governor Walz will sign the bill into law today.
Here are a few of the key pieces of the plan:
- A 13-week extension of unemployment benefits. Without this legislative action, over 100,000 Minnesota workers were on track to lose benefits on December 26 when funding under the federal CARES Act expires
- $88 million of financial aid to businesses experiencing economic harm due to the pandemic. Those eligible businesses include restaurants, bars, coffee shops, breweries, wineries and distilleries with taprooms or tasting rooms, caterers, bowling alleys, and some gyms and fitness centers
- $14 million worth of grants to movie theaters and large convention centers
- $114.8 million for county grants to other affected businesses, including hotels, museums, arcades and live theater venues
- Waiver or delay of a series of fees for the hospitality industry, including 2 a.m. liquor licenses for bars, caterers that serve alcohol, wastewater permitting fees for small breweries, and certain late payment penalties for food related businesses
The Minnesota Department of Revenue is finalizing details and will have information on the Small Business Relief Program shortly after the bill is signed into law. Additionally, the Department plans to directly reach out to eligible businesses in the next several days.
I was glad to support this bipartisan measure to help pass critical support for those most impacted by the pandemic while public health guidelines are in place to save lives. This assistance is designed to serve as a bridge to hold Minnesota together until we can get a more robust aid package from the federal government. I continue to communicate with our Minnesota congressional delegation for updates on this progress.
Next Steps on COVID-19
Governor Walz today announced next steps in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on education, businesses, and protecting statewide hospital access. You can read more about these measures here.
COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives to Minnesota
Early Monday, our state received its first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine. They were delivered to four sites across Minnesota: Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Sanford Bemidji Medical Center, Olmsted Medical Center, and Cass Lake Indian Health Services.
Throughout the week, Minnesota is expected to receive a total of 46,800 units of vaccine across the statewide regional vaccine distribution hubs. From there, the vaccine will be distributed to smaller hospitals or clinics, and providers will then administer the vaccine to Minnesotans, starting by protecting the life and health of those most susceptible to serious complications and those who care for them.
Please stay in touch and contact me anytime at email@example.com or 651-296-4315. I appreciate your input and am available to answer questions or to provide assistance when I can.
Thank you for the honor of serving our 33B residents and families at the Capitol!
Take care and stay well,