Apple Slices chamber news
Friday March 20th, 2020
Due to the fluidity of the COVID-19 virus, we will temporarily be putting our regular Apple Slices emails on pause and instead send out timely updates as they arise (what we did this past week).

If you have any questions about this change, please reach out to Fabiana via email at .
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NOTE: The following are “ INFORMAL UPDATE NOTES ” taken by St. Paul Chamber President from a conference call meeting at 7 a.m. with:

Steve Grove | Commissioner of DEED
Cynthia Bauerly | Dept of Revenue
John Kelley | Office of Governor Walz
Nicole Blissenbach | Asst DLI Commissioner of DEED, Commissioner of Commerce, Secretary of State 


It was noted we may share these with chamber members but realize these are informal, use a great number of acronyms and is just to make you aware of great efforts being done and helps you seek more info from the right websites and offices. We think you should know as early as possible before making difficult decisions.
We at Apple Valley Chamber summarized the topics for you with the following two lists to see if these notes may apply to your business.
Of special timeliness is 30 extension of Sales & Use Tax DUE TODAY by those industries the Governor has ordered closed.

  • Added to list of ordered closures: barbers, stylists and personal care
  • Keeping health benefits while workers collect “no wait” unemployment Ins.
  • Shared work instead of layoff
  • SBA Loan changes to cash flow
  • Sales Tax Extension: March 20 payments delayed 30 days for business
  • Health insurers waiving costs
  • Banks/Credit Union meeting today insuring liquidity/credit for businesses
  • Trying to extend 300,000 licenses for businesses i.e. realtors, insurance (grace period)
  • Residential contractors license renewals expiring March 30
  • OSHA Issues with businesses
  • Labor standard relaxation issues Dept. of Labor & Industry (DLI)

  • Cashflow issues: Loans, deferred, interest only etc.
  • Independent Contractors not elligible for Unemployment
  • Small business owners also if not elligible for UI
  • Logistics, deliveries etc. if Governor orders “Shelter in Place”
  • Crucial Industries Status: i.e. Childcare just added, are food trucks etc.
  • If your company receives Tax Increment Financing, can penalties be waived if can’t meet employment goals set as a condition
  • If you can’t reach DEED subsidies metrics you as part of original deal
  • Predatory lenders to entrepreneurs and complaints to Attorney General
  • Student restaurant workers eligibility for Unemployment Insurance
  • SBA just training to assist influx of small business requests


Leading the Call:
Steve Grove | Commissioner of DEED
Cynthia Bauerly | Dept of Revenue
John Kelley | Office of Governor Walz
Nicole Blissenbach | Asst DLI Commissioner of DEED, Commissioner of Commerce, Secretary of State

DEED Commissioner Grove: quick update from this week, state response

  1. Governor temporarily closed businesses: restaurants/bars/entertainment venues. Later added barbers/stylists/direct personal care.
  2. Gov Exec Order on UI, which opens up the existing program to workers affected, wo wait period. At about 95K applications thus far. Average/week is 2K. About 85% have never applied before. Offers approximately 50% of your pay, up to $740/week. Hope is that employers use the Shared Work if possible, keep them on the payroll, to make later ramp-up easier. To be clear, you can provide health benefits for your workers while they still can get UI benefits. Unique provision: Shared Work. Essentially allows employer to reduce the hours of several workers, rather than laying them off. When you do that, workers can use UI benefits to make up some of the difference. See UI website.
  3. working to make MN eligible for SBA low interest loans. McKinnon reviewed on yesterday's call. 3.75% up to $2M, waiting on fed govt to open portal so businesses can apply. Should be very soon. MN is ready to go when they are. Will circulate that info asap.
  4. Wednesday, sales tax grace period offered through Dept of Rev. Sales tax due 3/20 deadline delayed to 4/20. No penalties or interest assessed.
  5. Working hard to ensure we have guidance on workplace health and safety. CDC website has great guidelines for social distancing at a place of work. MN DLI has great resources as well. MDH is running point on all things relative to the guidance; also more support.
  6. Lost Business Revenue Insurance should be explored; Commerce can help provide more information.
Still a very fluid situation.

  • Grove: Commerce is working with health insurers and with large employers to provide clarity on the coverage for COVID-19 tests and related office visits. As far as we know, most or all of the plans have agreed to waive cost sharing with respect to those initial tests/office visits. Further working with them re cost sharing re treatment. Also talking today with banks and credit unions re the issues they are facing and their borrowers are facing with the hope we can be proactive in ensuring their liquidity or continued provision of credit is maintained. Also ww legislature on extending deadlines for licensees. We license over 300K Minnesotans and insurance producers and real estate licensees. Maybe concerned about that, working to extend deadlines if needed in order to avoid business disruption.
  • License codes and licensing division has been able to keep up with license renewals. Have invoked provision to provide licenses with 90-day grace period to complete required CE credits. Big renewal is in the residential bldg. contractors, which expire on 3/31. Half through that process, will continue as they come in. have been able to keep up with that demand. Re health and safety: those can still be sent in to our OSHA division and they have been working to help businesses keep people working. Also handling OSHA complaints; are keeping up with demand. 3) expanded license exams requirements; will get that information up. 4) labor standards division is keeping up with increased call volume re questions employers, HR depts, and employees have re labor standards laws in MN. A lot of good info on DLI website.
  • Bauerly: instituted a 30-day grace period for businesses ID d in exec order for sales and use tax due today. Asking everyone to file, to make processes easier, and gives good data about what's happing across the state. Under existing statute, even not in peacetime emergency: if you have reasonable cause for not paying taxes when due, we can waive penalties and interest. Submit request for abatement, available at any time. Taking it month by month, filing period by filing period, to be responsive. If you have other questions, please let us know. we do have a COVID response page on our website. Are continuing operations, processing refunds, answering questions, most are working remotely. Email will be best. Also ww collections process so we are going to be announcing more detail on Monday: looking to alleviate some of the wage levies out there and some other collection activity, including license revocation (for those with license and tax debt, typical process to revoke license. Will ww license holders to ensure they can continue to do work as they are able to in this short term).
This call is primarily Q&A
  1. Will there be structured loans to assist business re cash flow, like deferred loans and interest only pymts? Grove: right now, main vehicle is the SBA disaster loan program. Also discussing if and where state loans can come into play, nothing to share there yet. Starting with federal funds. We know cash flow is a very real thing. The sales tax deadline deferral was one big step; none of them is the only answer.
  2. Yesterday we discussed independent contractors: are UI benefits for self employed contractors out of work, owners of small businesses who closed who are not eligible for UI and general clarification on contractors and UI benefits: Grove: such an important question. Not everyone pays into the UI system and therefore is not eligible. Nothing we can do to make that federal program work for people who are under a different tax structure. Part of this loan discussion is to figure out how to free up capital with other vehicles. Is a top priority, but nothing to announce at this time.
  3. As a potential shelter employee, do we have plans for considering vital fxns like deliveries, logistics, IT, construction, so they can stay open:? Grove: we have been look at this over the week. have gotten a lot of emails from businesses asking for exemptions if/when the Gov calls for "Shelter in Place." Lkg at San Francisco, CA, NY, and their exemptions for Shelter in Place.... Also looking at critical infrastructure federal govt guidelines in state of emergency... have a list running of federal and other state guidance and lists of critical industries we are evaluating. Very focused on this, in case additional measures are taken by the governor, to be ready. Childcare workers, for ex, have become "first responders." Suddenly they are. Food trucks are new, given food access issues...
  4. Extensions: will there be extensions for job creation goals companies need to meet, and will existing TIF districts be extended? Grove: looking at that. For context: many business subsidies DEED provides have metrics required for us to continue either delay loan payments or provide grant programs... yes we are working on how to pause on necessary milestones businesses must meet - since much of the economy is on pause. Commissioner Bauerly re TIF: as you know, TIF districts are established by statute. The extension ability would rest with the legislature. If you have a TIF district expiring soon, please contact the Dept to work with the legislature. They are considering coming in on ad hoc basis, we can flag for them. Also can address retroactively. If you have something immediate, let us know. McKinnon: as it relates to any programs that your communities/businesses have received through DEED, our loan officers are still working, so I encourage you to talk to them re your grant agreements.
  5. Guidance for business about predatory lenders preying on entrepreneurs right now? Nicole from DLI: Atty General's office has put out guidance on consumer protections but not in DLIs area. Will ask questions internally to determine if we can provide more information. Steve Kelly, Commerce: if businesses see instance of that, Commerce Dept has COVID-19 webpage and from that Customer Portal, businesses or individuals can go to file a complaint and let us know what they see. If it is within our jurisdiction, we can investigate. We also can hand off to Atty General's office if it's more appropriate for them.
  6. Student restaurant workers lost job, denied UI benefits because they are full time enrolled in school, can student restaurant workers collect?: Grove: hasn't heard this before. Doesn't make sense that they are not eligible for UI. Maybe it's a good idea to consider; will take back to team.
  7. SBA questions: any guidance on when it's available, rather than "soon"? McKinnon: no update since yesterday morning. SBA District Office did training yesterday for SBDCs, lenders, and others who will be assisting business owners when they fill out applications. As soon as that is available, the SBA and multiple media channels will get that out with the portal businesses can use (working to set that up).