COVID-19 UPDATES | MARCH 19, 2020
Greetings all -

The streets are eerily quiet, but our businesses ARE still in operation and our nonprofits ARE serving our community. Please remember to continue supporting – and doing business with – both.

Last night I ordered my dinner to go, brought it home and felt good about it. Today I plan to consider which nonprofits to donate to and make plans to give blood. It is the sum of the small gestures I see growing each day that make this community special. Minnesota is fortunate to have a strong small business and retail community, and that community continues to work very hard to serve us. Our nonprofits are stretched and still asked to do more with less every day. If you can, find your own small gesture in service to your neighbors. It could make all the difference!
 
As we build out our suggestions of measures government can take to support business, consumers, and citizens, we are open to your ideas. Please share them with us !
 
At the state level, the Governor has been busy. The latest six Executive Orders signed go beyond closing Minnesota’s schools and have been expanded to protect residents of veterans homes, close bars, restaurants, and places of public accommodation. Beyond the orders to close these sectors, there are important resources that have been released to help provide immediate relief to employers and the unemployed, lift regulations for vehicles providing emergency relief, to provide paid leave for state employees, to suspend the waiting period for unemployment insurance and extend the benefit term.

Late yesterday I spoke to the Minnesota Department of Revenue about the Governor’s latest Executive Order intended to defer the assessment of penalties or interest on late sales tax payments (the next payment date is this Friday, 3/20). Of course, I conveyed that businesses would be even more helped by the forgiveness of said payments altogether; for now, we have a deferral. I am heartened by the Governor’s desire to make an immediate impact on this very great need for small business.

Just this morning Commissioner Grove (DEED), Commissioner Bauerly (Revenue), and Jim Hegman (Unemployment Insurance) held another early morning update with these key announcements:
  1. Revenue: 3/18 announcement of 30-day grace period for sales tax due on 3/20, with more changes ahead
  2. DEED: Minnesota has submitted to SBA to be eligible for the Small Business Disaster Loan Program. For both business and nonprofits. Should be available very soon.
  3. Unemployment insurance: almost 60,000 applications in the last 2 days. There is no waiting, so apply now at www.uimn.org

Make sure to visit our COVID-19 resource page with links to resources, the latest news, and guidance. You can also find ways you can help. Please share suggestions for items and resources to add as well.
 
Be well !


B Kyle
President/CEO
Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce