Register for Next Wednesday's Free Webinar
The 'Real Time Solutions' Webinar Series Continues!
The Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Lakeville, Burnsville, Hastings and River Heights Chambers is excited to continue the 'Real Time Solutions' webinar series! These are complimentary Live 30-minute webinars to help your business navigate the questions, and new normal, related to the COVID-19 epidemic.

Speaker  Lisa Jemtrud of the Better Business Bureau will teach us about the scams targeting businesses now and 5 tips for building trust with your employees and customers. 
Upcoming Webinar Topics (30 Min Each)
Wednesday June 24th | 8 am
Speaker Lisa Jemtrud of the Better Business Bureau will teach us about the scams targeting businesses now and 5 tips for building trust with your employees and customers. 

Wednesday July 15th | 8 am
Representative Angie Craig will be discussing her work on the small business committee and how it related to the COVID pandemic. She will also be doing a Q & A. 

New Details on PPP Loan Forgiveness
Congress Has Made Changes
AV CHAMBER NOTE:  Last week, Congress made many favorable changes to PPP Loans and forgiveness policy.  This attachment is very easy to follow and clear on everyone from employers to independent contractors. We hope this helps.
  • Extending the time to spend PPP funds from 8 weeks to 24 weeks;
  • Lowering the amount that must be spent on payroll from 75% to 60%;
  • Extending the deadline to restore FTEs and payroll from June 30, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020; and
  • Setting the repayment term for loans made after June 4, 2020 at five years.

PPP borrowers must apply for loan forgiveness with the lender that processed the loan. The guide linked below is designed to help borrowers understand the process by which their loan forgiveness amount will be calculated and the overall approach of the loan forgiveness process.
Walz: Minnesota Zoo on Brink of Closure
Without Funding From Legislature
AV CHAMBER NOTE:  Yesterday, Governor Walz’s talked about the Apple Valley based Minnesota Zoo in his press conference concerning the need for bonding (or borrowing). He said MN ZOO IS THREATENED TO CLOSE IF BONDING DOES NOT COME THROUGH THIS SPECIAL SESSION. 

WE ASK THAT YOU CONTACT ANY LEGISLATORS, NOT JUST OUR OWN to ask they consider voting for the bonding bill with MN Zoo’s request. MN Zoo is a state owned agency but receives 2/3 of their revenue from the gate and only 1/3 from state appropriations. 175 employees have been out of work since March 14th plus seasonal workers who never were hired. Apple Valley Chamber operates the Apple Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau and Apple Valley sees 1.3 million visits to the zoo annually and affects us all.

APPLE VALLEY, Minn. — Gov. Tim Walz said Tuesday that the Minnesota Zoo is on the brink of closure without help that's been requested as part of his bonding bill.

At a news conference Tuesday  focused on his "Local Jobs and Projects Plan," Walz urged lawmakers to pass the bonding bill during their special session.

In a question and answer session after the main portion of the governor's program, he brought up the zoo.

"We need some help for the Minnesota Zoo," Walz said. "They’re at the point where they’re going to have to move animals and close if we don’t do something on that. I think that’s a treasure for Minnesota. I think it makes sense to keep that, and we’re going to need a little help this session."

Such funding is already under discussion in the special session.  At a hearing of the House State Government Finance Division on Tuesday , the committee approved an amendment to HF 111, adding $6 million in funding support for the zoo.

"The zoo depends on two-thirds of its total budget (from) gate fees and donations," said State Rep. John Huot, who sponsored the amendment. "They totally lost that as they had to close one of the first weeks in the COVID crisis to protect their staff and the state's asset out there, the animals."

Minnesota Zoo director John Frawley told the committee the pandemic hit at one of the busiest times of the year for the zoo.

"The timing was also hard on the zoo, as that's our peak season going into the spring and into the summer," Frawley explained. "Our anticipated losses are going to be $6.3 million ... plus we've used all of our reserves and any dollars we had on our books. As of the end of June, we'll have depleted all of the resources at the zoo."
Frawley said $6 million in funding from the state would allow the zoo to reopen with social distancing.

"This is critical support for us to keep this world class zoo in a position to reopen," Frawley said.

Minnesota Zoo CFO Abigail Mosher said the cost for the zoo to remain closed is nearly as high as the cost to remain open due to the high cost of animal care. 
Mosher also told the committee that, as a state agency, the zoo is not eligible for federal stimulus support, like the Paycheck Protection Program, and does not have access to lines of credit that privately-funded attractions can use.

The funding amendment for the zoo now advances to the House Ways and Means committee and requires full votes in the House and Senate.

The financial impact of the pandemic has already led to layoffs at the Minnesota Zoo. In May, the zoo announced it was eliminating 125 positions, including 48 employee layoffs and suspension of seasonal hiring.

The bonding bill proposed by Gov. Walz in January, and not yet approved by the legislature, also included a $26 million request for the Minnesota Zoo for repurposing the monorail track, revitalization for the zoo, and asset preservation.

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt issued a statement in response to Walz's news conference Tuesday, saying, "Our priority is reducing our budget deficit and ending the governor’s emergency powers. If the governor and the other legislative leaders are willing to have a discussion on those items, we remain open to a bonding bill."

KARE 11's Kent Erdahl reached out to the Minnesota Zoo, who released this statement: 

The Minnesota Zoo is grateful for the Governor’s critical recommendation for an appropriation and we appreciate the support of the legislature. We understand the need is great across the state, and the requests are many.

The Zoo’s projected revenue loss for the biennium is approximately $15 million. The proposed $6 million appropriation would replace approximately 40% of the Zoo’s projected revenue loss for the biennium due to the global pandemic.

As a state agency, the Zoo only receives 1/3 of its operating budget from state appropriations, while 2/3 of the operating budget is derived from earned revenue and contributions. The Zoo has been closed since March 14 and a number of measures have been taken to reduce costs in areas that do not affect the health and safety of the animals. These include, among others, staff reductions, cancelling or delaying major projects and freezing hiring and spending. Unfortunately, these reductions are not enough to make the Zoo whole and thus the appropriation is critical to help sustain the Zoo.

The Zoo has actively been working on phased reopening plans. Even with those plans in place, the Zoo will not be able to sustain long-term without this critical support given the significance of the revenue loss during the closure due to COVID-19.

Our commitment to our staff, volunteers, animals and all Minnesotans will not waiver. We believe Minnesotans need the Minnesota Zoo more than ever. We are here to serve Minnesota and are grateful for the state’s support.
Activities And Their Level of Risk for COVID
Based on Public Health Expert Rankings
As more and more states begin  phases of reopening , many Americans are now wondering what is safe to do and what should still be avoided to prevent the  spread of coronavirus .

“There’s a huge amount of variation from business to business, from area to area, in how much transmission risk there is for resuming economic activity,” Dr. Katherine Baicker, of the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, told Yahoo Finance’s The Ticker.

An  analysis by MLive  chose 36 American activities and asked four public health experts in Michigan to evaluate the risk of coronavirus exposure for each one. The doctors factored in whether the activity is inside or outside, proximity to others, length of potential exposure, likelihood of compliance, and personal risk level. 

The experts gave a score to each activity, with 1 being the least risky and 10 being the riskiest, and  MLive  averaged their scores to come up with a ranking:
Bars, large music concerts, and packed sports stadiums are the riskiest places, according to experts, because of large groups of people congregating together with little room to keep at least six feet apart. 

The End of Slavery in the United States
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and Cel-Liberation Day, is an American holiday celebrated annually on June 19 commemorating June 19, 1865, when Union general Gordon Granger read federal orders in Galveston, Texas, that all previously enslaved people in Texas were free. This signified the e mancipation  of the last remaining enslaved African  Americans  in  the Confederacy .

Texas was the most remote of the slave states, and the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, was not enforced there until after the Civil War had ended. The name of the observance is a portmanteau of "June" and "nineteenth", the date of its celebration.

Currently, Juneteenth is not a national holiday. Nearly all states recognize Juneteenth with some limited special status, but there have been calls over the years to make it a national holiday.

Many companies are establishing Juneteenth as a company holiday. Locally, this includes Target, Best Buy and U.S. Bank as seen in today's Star Tribune (link).

Despite the lack of federal recognition, the holiday has lived on through rich traditions, including lively celebrations in the form of festivals and parades with local bands playing, storytelling, picnics, and a Juneteenth staple — barbecues. In fact, Minneapolis has been home to one of the largest Juneteenth celebrations in the country. It is also a time to reflect on the racial injustice and trauma our country has experienced.
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