COVID-19 UPDATES | MARCH 23, 2020
This daily Situation Report acknowledges both the growing reality of the hold COVID-19 is establishing in Minnesota AND the power of our businesses and community to come together and respond.

Today the Governor did his briefing via conference call from self-quarantine at home, Minnesota Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan mourn’s the death of her brother from COVID-19, and US Senator Amy Klobuchar’s husband is hospitalized with pneumonia and COVID-19. We now have 235 known cases in Minnesota, one death in Minnesota, 21 total hospitalized and five currently in intensive care and 982 people who have been tested.

Despite this awful news, there are hopeful signs in the latest announcements and resources. Here's a snapshot of what we know:

Federal and State resources for small businesses:

  • The Small Business Administration has made Minnesota (and all states in the NW Region) eligible for Disaster Assistance Loans. See online application here for the 3.75% interest rate, fixed term up to 30 years with a maximum amount of $2 million. This is a powerful vehicle that eligible applicants should apply for early.

  • DEED Small Business Loans: Executive Order 20-15 authorizes DEED to create a Small Business Emergency Loan Program to provide immediate relief to small businesses.While Minnesota businesses are now eligible for the SBA loan program, this federal funding takes time. Executive Order 20-15 will bridge the gap to help businesses stay afloat. Any business temporarily closed by a prior executive order is eligible. The $30 million in DEED funds leverages lender networks statewide to start taking applications later this week for 0%, 50% forgivable loans of $2,500-35,000. Eligible businesses should start with SBA loans first and then use DEED funds to fill remaining gaps.

  • Minnesota Tax Deadline moved to July 15: now in line with the IRS’s July 15 deadline.

  • All Evictions are Suspended: Executive Order 20-14 suspends eviction proceedings during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.

  • Non-Hospitals to conduct inventory of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment): Executive Order 20-16 directs all non-hospital entities to conduct an inventory of their PPE, ventilators, respirators, and anesthesia machines, and report the result to the state, and either donate such equipment to a local coordinating entity, or preserve it.

  • Elective veterinary procedures postponed: Executive Order 20-17 clarifies that the previous order postponing all elective surgeries and procedures also applies to veterinary surgeries and procedures to conserve protective equipment.

  • Governor Walz has released a revised supplemental budget that includes an additional $356 million for the COVID-19 response. 

  • Unemployment Insurance applications are now up to 123,624!
 
DEED would still like to hear your ideas for state government support of the Minnesota Economy during the COVID-19 crisis. State government is working to ensure we use every lever at our disposal to help the businesses and workers affected by the pandemic. We also know there are lots of ideas coming from outside of government, and we want to hear them. Please use this form if you have an idea for how state government can help. Thanks for taking the time to share ideas. I am on a daily call with DEED and the Department of Revenue, and they ask me for feedback and questions from our members.
 
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.
 
#BusinessDoingGood!

Amidst the uncertainty and anxiety, I'm seeing so many businesses doing good. I wanted to share a few of many examples. A friend owns a pizza shop who took orders from his neighbors and brought pizza home to everyone, to be accessed from his driveway (one at a time and on the honor system)… and he will be doing that every Thursday night! Another company, a clothing manufacturer, reached out because they are happy to re-mobilize their capacity to sew masks – should we be able to use their help. A third company called because they are keeping staff on the payroll to maintain their benefits but they have capacity – how can they get connected to other companies who are swamped with work right now? Medical Alley has launched "Resource Connect," intended to match tech companies with extra capacity to those who need help.

This is the fabric of our community. It’s beautiful.

Please know that we at the Chamber are working on a plan to get us all reconnected. Our first week was all about reestablishing communications – online style. This week we will begin to have online programming and get back to helping you make connections that count!

Stay connected, get some exercise, order take-out, donate to your nonprofit-of-choice.


Be well !


B Kyle
President/CEO
Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce