Situation Report COVID-19 Updates | August 17, 2020
Ramsey County’s second round of Small Business Relief Fund applications has been extended to August 21. If you are self-employed/sole proprietor, or a small business with 20 employees or fewer, see more information and apply here.
 
I read a lot of news over the weekend about the USPS, and we certainly are experiencing delays in this market. What’s up? This article talks about warnings regarding service delays. Lest we go too far down the conspiracy tunnel, you might find this article interesting: written by Nick Harper, a political lawyer, lobbyist and nonprofit program director.
 
Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve just released the results of its most recent survey: shows signs that businesses might be settling in – uncomfortably – amid tough and uncertain conditions. If you want more details, on August 20 Ron Wirz, Regional Outreach Director, is hosting a free webinar on survey results. Here is a direct link to the webinar registration site. Feel free to share widely: https://frbminneapolis.cvent.com/RegionalEconomicConditions
 
Any good news? Yep. On Thursday, the UofM announced they are the first in the country to open a clinical trial for new treatment of COVID-19. Read the full article here.
 
I’m sending a special shout-out today to Spare Key. This nonprofit member is getting creative in their efforts to keep the doors open. On August 27, Executive Director Erich Mische sets out on a 2-month, 10-state, 1700-mile journey on the river – all the way to Baton Rouge, LA, to raise money for his organization. To support his “Hope On the River” journey, check out www.hopeontheriver.com! Their pre-launch event is on Wednesday, August 26.


BUSINESS ASSISTANCE FUNDS
 
Ramsey County: Ramsey County Small Business Relief Fund ($7M): Round 2 extended through August 21, targeting self employed/sole proprietors, and small businesses with 20 employees or fewer. Click here for more information and to apply.
 
The application for We  St. Paul/Midway fund remains live. Please apply, and share with any businesses you know were impacted by the civil unrest: See Application here.
 
East Side Area Business Association (ESABA) has opened an assistance fund. East Side Business Assistance Fund – Donate or Request Help!
 
See complete list here

 
#BusinessDoingGood
  • Visit Saint Paul invites all of us to take part in the Ready Together Pledge to help build confidence among residents and visitors by voluntarily pledging to commit to the health and safety of all guests. Details are included below and you can read more in this newsletter. It’s free to participate, is not regulatory or punitive, and is voluntary for businesses to adopt. Sign the Pledge here.

  • Comcast continues to show up: continuing free service to Internet Essentials and is forgiving back debts so more families can apply. Read more at www.comcastcorporation.com.
 

#BackToBusiness
  • 3M sales turn a corner in July From the Minneapolis Star Tribune, August 13: 3M's sales in July rose from over a year ago, turning a corner after double-digit declines the previous three months caused by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
 
Monday, August 17, Administrative Updates: Commissioner Malcolm
  • Median age remains at 36.0 yo.
  • 7-day average positivity rate is 4.9%, down from 5.2% last week. As a reminder, state targets keeping this number under 15%, with an “immediate warning” risk level of over 5%. Our lowest was 3% in mid-June, highest was over 15% in late April.
  • Growth rate in total testing volume is 8.2%, continues to outpace growth of new cases which is now 6.8% week to week.
  • Hospitalization numbers are declining again, though Commissioner Malcolm considers this part of the “wave pattern” rather than indicative of a long term decline (yet). “We may have passed the crest of the most recent wave.” We are stable, but still at a rate of cases that is too high.
  • Elevated hospitalizations within BIPOC community. Any understanding of why? Commissioner considers multiple reasons: 1) occupational: employment in certain kinds of settings where there are higher incidence of settings; 2) in terms of hospitalizations and mortality, we think this is due to underlying health conditions that are more prevalent – again, as a result of complex social determinants and social/economic factors that have created some of the health disparities.
  • Over Labor Day Weekend and, in general, travel recommendations: no longer encouraging people to not travel at all but, instead, be respectful and use good prevention measures when traveling. When traveling out of state, be mindful of where you're going and to consider your own risk levels. Could consider self-quarantine upon returning from a high-risk area or after high-risk activities.
 
  • Mask distribution: still need masks? Contact a chamber near you; most of us have a limited number still available. Coordination for on-site pick-up at SPACC is through staci@saintpaulchamber.com.
 

 

  • DEED is promoting Jobs In Demand, and wants to help people shift gears
  • Need help identifying skills that can transfer? Visit here.
  • Need additional training or education? Were you laid off during the pandemic and need help preparing? You may be eligible for counselor-approved education or training. 
  • For many Minnesotans, the state’s Coursera initiative may offer a chance to explore new career fields, take classes for college credit and earn valuable certifications to help prepare them for their next job – all at no direct cost.
  • Contact staff at a CareerForce location near you to find out more and get the help you need. 
 
 
  • St. Paul rebuilding efforts inch along after civil unrest From MPR, August 14: St. Paul officials estimate 300 businesses were damaged during the civil unrest in late May. In Minneapolis, the number was closer to 1,300 businesses. City officials in both cities expect rebuilding in critical business corridors could take 10 years.
 
  • U.S. jobless claims fall below 1 million but remain high From the Associated Press, August 13: : The number of laid-off workers applying for unemployment aid fell below 1 million last week for the first time since the pandemic intensified five months ago yet still remains at a high level. The viral pandemic keeps forcing layoffs just as the expiration of a $600-a-week federal jobless benefit has deepened the hardships for many.

  • Kashkari, Osterholm: U.S. need another lockdown From the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, August 10: Two of Minnesota’s most prominent names in economic and health policy are calling for another round of state-by-state lockdowns to halt the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing that many areas quit earlier efforts too quickly.

Congress
  • From Lockridge Grindal Nauen’s Federal Update, August 17: Members of the House will return to Washington this week, earlier than scheduled, to work on urgent legislation aimed at shoring up the U.S. Postal Service ahead of November’s elections. A vote on the Delivering for America Act is likely to take place later this week. The bill “prohibits the Postal Service from implementing any changes to operations or level of service it had in place on January 1, 2020,” Speaker Pelosi said in the letter. Concerns arose in recent days after the Postal Service warned 46 states last week that it may not be able to deliver their ballots on time for Election Day.

  • From Lockridge Grindal Nauen’s Federal Update, August 17: Relief bill negotiations unlikely to resume before September. With the collapse of talks between House Leadership and the Trump Administration earlier this month, a new coronavirus relief bill is not expected to be agreed to or passed before September. While members of the House will be returning this week to address concerns related to the Postal Service, votes are not yet expected on other issues.

 
COVID-19 update as of 8/17/2020
Confirmed cases in Minnesota: 65,716
% Positives, last 7 days (as of 8/10): 5.4% (increase from last week)
Confirmed cases in U.S.: over 5.4M
Confirmed cases globally: over 21.7M
Cases requiring hospitalization: 5,886 (representing 8.9% of total)
#s currently hospitalized: 286 (down from 308 on 8/13)
#s no longer needing to be isolated: 58,859
#s tested: 1,266,561
Total deaths in Minnesota: 1,712 (1,280/74.7% cases in long term care or assisted living facilities)
Total deaths in U.S.: over 170
Total deaths globally: over 776K
Cases in Counties represented:
Hennepin County: 20,625 (851 deaths)
Ramsey County: 8,132 (274 deaths)
Dakota County: 4,881 (106 deaths)
Washington County: 2,392 (48 deaths) 

 
Resources

Be safe and be well,

B
 
B Kyle
President/CEO
Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce