It’s been a busy week at the Capitol. On Monday, Minnesota received its first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine, which the FDA recently authorized for emergency use, and the Legislature delivered new economic assistance for our small businesses and working families. This afternoon, Governor Walz announced the next steps in our state’s response to COVID-19.
Economic Assistance for Minnesotans
We’re working hard to provide support for the Minnesotans who’ve been most impacted by the pandemic. This week, we passed a bipartisan economic assistance package that delivers $216 million to our small businesses. It provides $88 million of direct relief payments to businesses experiencing economic harm due to the pandemic, including restaurants, bars, coffee shops, some gyms and fitness centers, and more. You can find information about this assistance here. An additional $14 million will go to movie theaters and large convention centers. The remaining $114.8 million will go to counties for grants to other affected businesses, including hotels, museums, arcades, and live theater venues. The economic assistance will help over 6,000 businesses.
Many Minnesotans have or are about to exhaust their unemployment benefits. To protect their economic security, we provided a 13-week extension for workers who’ve exhausted their federal and state benefits. This will help an estimated 100,000 workers, including those who are set to lose their benefits when the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program expires on December 26.
This economic assistance won’t solve all the challenges Minnesotans are facing, but it will help small businesses and working families make ends meet until we receive additional help from the federal government. I hope they will follow our lead and act soon. In the meantime, we’ll keep fighting for Minnesotans who are struggling to get by.
Modified Public Health Measures
Today, Governor Walz announced the next steps in Minnesota’s fight against COVID-19. The goal is to get kids back in school and support Minnesotans’ quality of life while preserving hospital capacity, which is still a significant concern. Starting January 18, elementary schools across the state may choose to operate in-person as long as they’re able to implement additional safety measures.
Several existing restrictions have been modified. Indoor gatherings still aren’t recommended, but starting this Saturday, people can gather with one other household indoors and two other households outdoors. Gyms and fitness centers will be allowed to reopen, and youth sports can resume practices on January 4. Bars, restaurants, and breweries can reopen for outdoor dining, although indoor service will remain paused. You can find more information about these public health guidelines here.
Make Your Voice Heard
Submit a Comment about Water Gremlin’s Emissions Permit
Last week, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) held a virtual public meeting to discuss a minor amendment to Water Gremlin’s air emissions permit. If you weren’t able to make it, you can view the MPCA’s presentation here. Public comments on this proposal are due tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. If you’d like to submit one, you can email email@example.com.
Stay in Touch
I always appreciate hearing from you, so please don’t hesitate to share questions, ideas, and feedback. You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 651-296-3018.