Situation Report COVID-19 Updates | July 2, 2020
We’re entering a long weekend, and I hope you all find time to unplug and recharge. I plan to do just that… so I’ll keep it brief today. Three reminders for all of us:
 
  1. The application for We St. Paul/Midway fund is live. Please apply, and share with any businesses you know were impacted by the civil unrest: See Application here.
  2. We St. Paul/Midway: $160K received, another $400K committed so far. Please donate if you can!
  3. Please, where you can, wear masks and practice social distancing. Although MN is doing well relatively speaking, the Governor reminds us: “at some point in time, the carrot turns to the stick to stop this type of thing.” 
 
 
Before we leave, a thought on our upcoming Independence Day, and what we celebrate. Our forefathers sired a nation with the potential for greatness. And they signed a Declaration of Independence at great personal cost. Hundreds of years later, Ronald Reagan spoke of that day as the “ only true philosophical revolution in all history.”

The first part of the  Declaration of Independence  enshrined two powerful principles that have come to define the fundamental values of the American nation. The first was a claim that governments must be responsive to the consent of the governed, and the second was an assertion that all people are created equal, with rights that are inalienable and should be protected. These principles are the cornerstone of American liberty, and the justification for our democracy. Worth reminding ourselves of that origin now, as we find ourselves deeply struggling and a nation divided.
 
In a sermon at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, on or about July 4, 1965, Martin Luther King, Jr. quoted from the Declaration and added his observations:
‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by God, Creator, with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’
 
This is a dream. It’s a great dream.
 
The first saying we notice in this dream is an amazing universalism. It doesn’t say, ‘some men’; it says ‘all men.’ It doesn’t say ‘all white men’; it says ‘all men,’ which includes black men. It does not say ‘all Gentiles’; it says ‘all men,’ which includes Jews. It doesn’t say ‘all Protestants’; it says ‘all men,’ which includes Catholics. It doesn’t even say ‘all theists and believers’; it says ‘all men,’ which includes humanists and agnostics.
 
Never before in the history of the world has a sociopolitical document expressed in such profound, eloquent and unequivocal language the dignity and the worth of human personality. The American dream reminds us—and we should think about it anew on this Independence Day—that every man is an heir of the legacy of dignity and worth.
 
Let us commit to reimagining a future that honors this vision, this dream. 
 
 
Administration Updates this week
  • Commissioner Malcolm, Wed, July 1
  • Daily increase in cases has been steady this week.
  • Median age of those who test positive continues to drop. Median age now is 38.9 years.
  • Reiterated the call for Minnesotans to “stay vigilant” in working to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Billing issues relative to COVID-19 tests continues to be a “work in progress.” Insurers are working with administration to determine how/who to pay.
  • Outcomes continue to improve as the health professionals develop best practices for care.

 
  • Urgent Reminder: Small Business Relief Grants Program application deadline is today at 5pm. Learn more here. The program will disburse more than $60 million in grants of $10,000 to small businesses across the state that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Saint Paul businesses can access free technical and financial assistance through Pay It Forward, a collaboration between the City of Saint Paul and our economic development partners. Business mentors speak English, Hmong, Karen, Oromo, Somali and Spanish. To connect with a Pay It Forward business mentor, go to saintpaulchamber.com/payitforward.
 
  • Reminder of the MN Chamber member resources available for businesses impacted by the civil unrest. They have a list of businesses who are offering resources. Check it out here.
 
 
  • Minneapolis Fed finds small businesses take deepest cuts to sales from pandemic shutdowns From Minneapolis Star Tribune, June 30: The pandemic has dealt a particularly big blow to smaller businesses, to women and minority-owned businesses, and to sectors such as entertainment, lodging and retail. Those are some of the findings of a May survey of nearly 1,100 businesses across Minnesota and in neighboring states conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
 
  • An Epidemic of Litigation From Twin Cities Business, June 30: Among the collateral damage from Covid-19 is a barrage of financial disputes between businesses, and many of those conflicts are headed for the courts.
 
  • Latest on COVID-19 in MN: Mask mandate 'on the table' From MPR, June 30: A statewide mandate requiring all people to wear masks while in public is "on the table," Gov. Tim Walz said Monday. While he didn't give an indication on when he'd decide, the governor said such a move would offer public health benefits while helping businesses that're struggling to enforce their own mask rules.

With hundreds of COVID-19 cases tied to bars, Walz threatens stricter actions From St. Paul Pioneer Press, June 29: If Minnesota bars are going to stay open, and if bar patrons want to be able to go to the bars, something’s gonna have to change.Governor Walz and MDH Commissioner Malcolm noted that revocation of a bar’s business license is an option, as is reclosing bars statewide. In response, several trade associations are urging compliance from their own members. 
 
PPP Loan Forgiveness Info:  
  • On Monday, June 22, the Small Business Administration (SBA) released updated guidance regarding loan forgiveness in light of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act. Their guidance provides further detail on the changes to the forgiveness rules, including the new Form 3508EZ. Other important updates are:

  • Owner-employees and self-employed individuals that select a 24-week covered period are eligible for increased forgiveness for payroll, up to a maximum of $20,833 per individual.

  • Businesses that reduced operations to adhere to COVID-related state and local guidelines, laws, or orders may qualify for safe harbor for reductions in full-time equivalent (FTE) employees. This includes adherence to state shutdown orders or operating at reduced capacity due to state regulations. Businesses will be required to maintain relevant supporting documentation, including the applicable shutdown order.

  • Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals will be able to apply for forgiveness before the end of the covered period if they have exhausted their loan amount.

  • As a reminder, the Form 3508EZ is a streamlined forgiveness application available to borrowers that meet certain criteria published by the SBA. It simplifies documentation requirements and eliminates calculations for reductions in salaries, wages, and employment levels.

What’s next?
  • The SBA is not currently processing forgiveness applications from lenders. No firm timeline on when processing will continue, but expect it to be in late July. We will keep you updated about when they begin accepting forgiveness applications.


COVID-19 update as of 7/2/2020
Confirmed cases in Minnesota: 37,210
% Positives, last 7 days (as of 7/1): 3.7%, down from 4.18% last week
Confirmed cases in U.S.: over 2.7M
Confirmed cases globally: over 10.7M
Cases requiring hospitalization: 4,112 (representing 11% of total)
#s currently hospitalized: 274 (down from 278 on 6/29)
#s no longer needing to be isolated: 32,163
#s tested: 630,427
Total deaths in Minnesota: 1,458 (1,143/78.4% cases in long term care or assisted living facilities)
Total deaths in U.S.: over 128K
Total deaths globally: almost 518K
Cases in Counties represented:
Hennepin County: 12,048 (782 deaths)
Ramsey County: 4,777 (222 deaths)
Dakota County: 2,248 (90 deaths)
Washington County: 1,048 (40 deaths) 
 
 
Resources
  • See available SBA COVID-19 training here.
 


 
Visit our e vents page for webinars and events and the Ramsey County Means Business page for information to help businesses navigate resources during this pandemic. If you need more personalized assistance, contact our Rapid Response Team to assist you in finding an answer.
 
Be safe and be well,

B

 
B Kyle
President/CEO
Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce