Situation Report COVID-19 Updates | April 20, 2020
I read an interesting article this morning on managing the risk of bringing employees back to work . Every organization is being challenged and stressed by the pandemic. We are being called upon to lead others through this complexity. In the moment we are focused on “what” we should do – running lots of financial scenario planning exercises preparing for the “what if’s”, determining how and when to furlough/bring people back. The next step, then, is a comprehensive detailed plan on the “how” we will bring people back to work. Note that DEED/DLI have a draft template to help with the mechanics, linked below. 
 
An important part of the “how” is addressing the experience of our employees. We must do all we can to make the workplace physically safe, and also assuage the anxiety of the team. I’ve learned a few hard lessons in this job so far, and one of them applies here: of ultimate importance is HOW we do things. We don’t have to be perfect, but we must be perfectly accountable. Because we know it won’t be the same place we return to. We will return to a new and different physical/emotional place.
 
This article as a good reminder to me to think beyond today to how we translate into new beginnings tomorrow!
 
I wanted to share a moment of hope for ongoing growth:  Finance & Commerce published an article this morning about the Snelling-Midway site – United Village . Exciting start to a visionary plan around Allianz Field. Worth noting that visions for a better tomorrow continue.

 
COVID-19 update, 4/20/2020
Confirmed cases in Minnesota: from 2,071 to 2,470
Confirmed cases in U.S. (as of 4/17): almost 699,000
Confirmed cases globally (as of 4/17): more than 2.23M
Cases requiring hospitalization: from 518 to 602
#s currently hospitalized: from 223 to 237
#s no longer needing to be isolated: from 1,066 to 1,202
#s tested: from 43,053 to 46,850
Total deaths in Minnesota: from 111 to 143
Total deaths in U.S. (updated 4/17): close to 41,000
Total deaths globally (updated 4/17): over 153,000
Counties represented:
Hennepin County: from 806 to 975
Ramsey County: from 178 to 202
Dakota County: from 110 to 124
Washington County: from 92 to 97
 
 
Overall Updates:

  • Congress and the Trump Administration are near an agreement on a 4th funding package for COVID-19 response that could be as large as $500 billion. Included are an additional $310 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program and $50-60 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. Also included is funding for hospitals and for more virus testing. This, too, is being considered an “interim” package, because the demand is still so strong. No indications about PPP eligibility updates for 501c6 organizations or self-employed/independent contractors.

  • On Friday, the Governor released EO 20-38, allowing for safe outdoor recreation. The idea is to allow for more outdoor recreational activity, still within a single household. Includes ability to engage in parks, local/regional/private trails, water access, marinas and docks, golf courses and driving ranges, off highway vehicles repair shops and sales by appointment, water related services, bait shops, shooting ranges. Visit www.mn.gov/deed/critical, DEED’s hub for these announcements, see detailed list that has been updated. Will will cautiously proceed with planning our annual Golf Tournament -- save the date for July 13th!

  • As we prepare to “reopen our economy,” DLI and DEED (with input from MDH) have devised a Business Plan Preparedness Template. Its intent is to provide guidance for businesses as they prepare a safety plan for moving forward. The link is here. Feedback is welcome, and you can direct your input to DLICovidPlan@state.mn.us.

  • Minnesota Retailers Association has published Critical Steps for Minnesota’s Retailers & Consumers. Read their proposal here. 

  • On Friday, SPACC joined over 70 chambers in a letter to the Minnesota Congressional Delegation requesting additional funding for chambers (501c6 organizations). Particularly vulnerable are the smallest of chambers who also are not eligible for the U.S. Chamber’s recently announced Save Small Business Fund.

  • On that note: for small businesses with 3-20 employees (in eligible zip codes), be sure to apply to the U.S. Chamber’s Save Small Business Fund. The application went live today at 2pm; applicants need only to submit a current W9. Heavy demand caused problems with their website immediately after launch. Hopefully they will resolve that quickly so people can begin applying.

  • Increasingly, employers are identifying issues with UI compliance, including employees who are declining to return to work for various reasons. All issues can be directed here.

  • FFCRA compliance: the U.S. Department of Labor is running point on this, and employers with questions about how to implement can find out more information here. I am seeing lots of questions about how to determine eligibility. Full write-up of the Legislative Update can be found here.
 

As always, you can find more information on our COVID-19 Resource page and the Ramsey County Means Business page, as well as links to partner organization resource pages and an for more information an archive of my previous Situation Reports.

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!


B Kyle
President/CEO
Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce