Situation Report COVID-19 Updates | April 10, 2020
As we approach this weekend, special to so many of us, I’m reflecting a bit on what this New Normal can bring to us if we listen. Time with family, adventures with the kids, worship opportunities, seeing our neighbors with new eyes - all are a little different today. I submit to you that beautiful things are happening around us. 

Over the past two weeks, a few SPACC members have called us because, regretfully, they don’t feel they can afford to renew their membership. Instead of dropping membership, together with our membership team they are coming up with creative solutions. In return for a one-year deferral in dues, one food company is offering boxed lunches to medical staff at the various hospitals in the area. Another is donating 75 Easter meals for a hospital’s cancer and blood disorders unit. A third SPACC member is raising money through their foundation to pay for the food these businesses are providing.

Large companies are halting termination of service for phone, TV, internet, utilities; donating millions to food shelves, nonprofits. Others are donating their companies’ supplies of PPE to medical facilities. Still others are donating tens of thousands of dollars in fuel to nonprofits delivering food across Minnesota, and our manufacturers are redirecting employee work on their shop floors to provide products in high demand right now.

These are largely silent gifts; Minnesotans don’t like to brag. I’m so impressed by how organizations of every size, each severely impacted by COVID-19 themselves, are leaning in. In each case, “business” is being led by PEOPLE who are invested in one another. Amazing.

These are truly connections that count .

Other beautiful surprises:
SPACC Account Manger Yao Yang leads the Minnesota Hmong Chamber of Commerce. Yao will partner with the SBA on Monday morning to provide small business assistance training to the Hmong business community. (Register here )

Two weeks ago (on a Saturday) Catholic Charities reached out to SPACC and other East Team partners to help find emergency housing for elderly unsheltered who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. Within hours several Saint Paul hotels restaurants volunteered space and hot meals to this vulnerable population. Hotels are calling us to help them get connected as alternative care sites for hospitals, for families of Ronald McDonald House patients, and for temporary housing for medical personnel.

The Kids in Need Foundation, McDonalds, Costco, Cub Foods, Xcel Energy, and others donated thousands of dollars in school and art supplies, toys, food, and toilet paper to families living in apartment buildings through the SPACC-powered Rice & Larpenteur Alliance – all within one week of statewide school closures.

I was on a call with a member this morning. He shared a story from this week, about a local teacher who went out of his way to help a student. He actually drove to her house, white board in hand, to sit outside her window - in jacket and hat - talking her through the project through that window. Who does this?

Which leads us to the focus of today’s Sit Rep: This week I sent out my Sit Reps on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. In each update I reviewed one business organizational type and lay out funding/resource options available to you. Before we get to that, we have:

Overall Updates:

  • Some companies, particularly those in the health space and production/logistics, are hiring

  • In Thursday’s daily media briefing in Minnesota, Governor Walz announced that the Minnesota Department of Revenue is extending the Sales and Use Tax grace period for the businesses identified in Executive Order 20-04 (restaurants, bars and places of public accommodation). Identified businesses with a payment due March 20, 2020, now have until May 20, 2020, and those with a payment due April 20, 2020, now have until May 20, 2020.

  • Here is the link to the Governor’s presentation from Wednesday’s briefing, at which he extended the SAH Order to May 3, 2020, 11:59pm.

  • Saint Paul’s Bridge Fund for Small Businesses application opened on April 8 and closes on Sunday, April 19, at 5pm. Eligibility details are in the link. As of 6pm Thursday night, the City had received more than 2,200 residential applications, and more than 800 business applications. The lottery will take place on April 20.

  •  Highway 5 eastbound, is closed starting today. Follow this link to learn how to navigate around the airport. 

COVID-19 update
Confirmed cases: from 1154 to 1242
Cases requiring hospitalization: fr om 271 to 293
#s currently hospitalized: from 135 to 145
#s no longer needing to be isolated: f rom 632 to 675
#s tested: from 30,753 to 32,294
Total deaths: from 39 to 50
Counties represented:
Hennepin County: from 344 to 375
Ramsey County: fr om 112 to 121
Dakota County: from 75 to 79
Washington County: from 70 to 72

Today’s look: “I’m a nonprofit with fewer than 500 employees. What are my options?”

Only two questions need answering today: 

1. Who is eligible?
EIDL:  The CARES Act amends the SBA’s EIDL program such that all nonprofits , including religious organizations and 501c6s (like us chambers), are eligible for both the loans and the advance of up to $10,000.  See more information here .

PPP: Nonprofits in the 501c3 and 501c19 (veterans organizations) categories are eligible.

2. What programs are we eligible for? The National Council of Nonprofits provided a webinar earlier this week and has posted a chart on their webpage highlighting programs and eligibility.  See more information here .

A summary of the other programs can be found in my Sit Rep from 4/6 and 4/8. I didn’t see the need to repeat them.

Know that we continue to work with our partners to organize information and coordinate efforts to educate our community. As always, if you still have questions about resources available, contact our Rapid Response Team to assist you in finding an answer.

Be well, and I hope you enjoy a beautiful weekend.

B Kyle
Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce