Situation Report COVID-19 Updates | June 11, 2020
I had the most pleasant conversation this morning with a new friend, Senator Jeff Hayden. Many of you already know him; he’s the Assistant Minority Leader in the Senate, representing District 62 – including the intersection where George Floyd died 2-1/2 weeks ago. You also may know that Senator Hayden is part of the POCI Caucus, which is developing a legislative agenda around police and criminal justice reform. 
 
I was introduced to Senator Hayden by a friend of mine. I called with the initial intent of learning about the POCI Caucus agenda. Yes I learned a bit about that, but I learned more about the man. His grandfather moved to Minnesota, bought a home, in 1918. In South Minneapolis. Hayden himself spent his young adult years in service to the Minneapolis community he now represents. His dad still runs Turning Point, a chemical health support program for the African American community North Minneapolis. When first elected to the state legislature in 2008, Hayden was one of two black members of the House. He moved to the Senate 3 years later and continues to be in service today.

I share all this with you because the person interests me. His energy attracts me. His caring for people inspires me. Frankly, I want to care about Senator Hayden so I care about what he cares about. Now, that won’t always equal agreeing with him. Caring implies civil discourse; courteous exchange; respectful dialogue. We all are due that, aren’t we? I submit to you that we all are called to that. Tomorrow starts a Special Session that I anticipate will be fraught with tensions. Now is the time for us to lean in, pay attention, support what we value, and do so with lens towards civility and respect that truly allows us to move forward. I’m glad Jeff Hayden’s is one of the voices we will hear.
 
Now I know this Sit Rep is all about COVID-19, so I’ll get back to that right now…. Worth noting is the continued decline in number of people in the hospital. Have you noticed that? I looked back at my Sit Reps and noted that we have been declining from our high of 606 people in the hospital on 5/28. Today the MDH reports 411 people in the hospital. That is very good news.  
 
One more urgent reminder to business: Ramsey County’s Small Business Relief Fund (up to $7500 grant based on economic injury from COVID-19) application window is open through Friday, June 12.  If yours is a locally owned and operated for-profit business in Ramsey County, please follow this link to determine your eligibility and apply!  
 
Our fundraising efforts continue:
 

  • Non-monetary contributions, including volunteers, are being coordinated by the City of Saint Paul: nhn@ci.stpaul.mn.us


 
 
SHOUT-OUTS, #BusinessDoingGood
  • A shout-out to Securian Financial as a company, and all their associates! One small example of their extraordinary commitment to Saint Paul: in service to the needs of business during the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has relieved all associates of monthly parking fees. Those associates have been given the opportunity to donate that money back to a good cause, and the Securian Foundation is matching those contributions. In May, donations went to Neighborhood House and Face to Face. In June, donations went to Sanneh Foundation and NAMI. In July donations go to Ujaama Place and www.WeLoveStPaul.com!!! We are so grateful and look forward to getting those contributions back into the community, into the hands of small business owners, very quickly.

  • Another fine example of business leaning in to support business: Xcel Energy helps damaged Twin Cities businesses rebuild. As part of its commitment to helping neighborhoods and businesses repair and rebuild following the widespread acts of property damage in the Twin Cities, Xcel Energy is offering special help for those businesses. That includes special recovery rebates on equipment that are up to double the usual amount to help replace equipment that was damaged or destroyed, as well as free energy consulting services. The rebates will help offset the cost of high-efficiency lighting, cooling and other equipment. The goal is to help businesses save money as they rebuild and save energy and money in the long run. Visit www.xcelenergy.com/RecoveryRebates and get started!
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  • Blood Drive @ CHS Field: On Friday, June 26 from 9 AM - 7 PM the St. Paul Saints and partner Regions Hospital will host a blood drive at CHS Field with the American Red Cross. Now more than ever there is an urgent need for blood and you can make a difference. You can sign up now to be a blood donor. Register To Be A Donor.
 
  • Comcast in Minnesota continues to grieve the senseless killing of George Floyd and the devastating impact it has had on his family, friends, the Twin Cities Community and beyond. On Monday, Comcast announced a multi-year company-wide plan to allocate $100 million to fight injustice and inequality against any race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, or ability. Here is a link to view the announcement on their Twin Cities Blog site.
 
 
T oday’s Updates
Various key events will happen in the coming days:
  • Friday, June 12th – Minnesota Legislature in Special Session
 
Thursday’s Briefing: no MDH briefing today
 
Thursday’s DEED Call, 11:00am: Commissioners Grove, Kelley, Blissenbach, Bauerly

  • DLI: workers comp claims classified as COVID-19 now have exceeded 1500 cases as of beginning of this week.

  • EO 20-74 (June 5) requires all companies have a business preparedness plan in place by Jun 29. Updated guidance from the state must be in place by June 15.

  • Reminder of measures being tracked to determine when/if we move to Phase 4 or “dial back”:
  • % of tests any day that are positive
  • Testing rate
  • Community spread (% with no demonstrable link/source)
  • Rate of new cases - the "doubling rate"
  • Hospitalizations - how are they growing on a per-population basis

  • Status of these measures as of June 5:
  • % positive: want to keep below 15% over 7-day average. At 1/2 that target level now.
  • Volume of testing, per-population basis: warning threshold is not less than 50/10K residents. Currently at 96 tests/10K residents. Puts us top of pack nationally in terms of rate of testing.
  • Community spread: warning threshold: average of cases with no known contact exceeds 30% over 7 days. State average now is at 33%, over the threshold. Watching carefully.
  • Rate of new cases/doubling rate: warning threshold: no faster than 7 days. Now at 27 days. As case volume as grown, this measure is a little less helpful.
  • Hospitalizations: warning threshold is 4 people/100K. Statewide average is 9.9/100K/week. so we are above that threshold as well.

  • Commerce Department: Following civil unrest, many businesses that were affected are concerned about their insurance coverage. Have provided tips for submitting claims, have been trying to stay in touch with agents and the business owners through Mpls and St Paul, to understand what the claim issues might be, if any. And working to ensure the insurance companies are making the claims process as smooth as possible. Don’t want access to insurance proceeds to get in the way of rebuilding.

  • Treasury guidance re distribution of CARES Act dollars to states continues to change. Info can be found at Treasury website.

  • Questions arose requesting changes/modifications to some requirements. Commissioner Grove directs people to form on Stay Safe MN website, to submit requests/questions.
 
Wednesday Briefing, 2:00pm: Governor Walz, Commissioners Frans, Harrington
  • Governor Walz announced that he will call a Special Session of the Minnesota Legislature beginning Friday, June 12, at Noon. It is unclear how long it will run. Top priorities for the Administration are police reform and the economic recovery from COVID.
  • “Minnesota is at a turning point. This is our chance to take strong action to combat persistent structural inequities, pass substantive police reform, and build a stronger economy,” said Governor Walz. “I look forward to working with the legislature to seize this moment and build a brighter future for Minnesotans.”
  • “Don’t ask how long it will last; ask how much they will do. The time to debate and walk away is over. The time to debate and move forward is here.”
  • The legislative package put forward by the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus has a lot of community support, and DPS Comm Harrington and Attorney General Ellison led a Task Force that provided recommendations on these matters. That work and those recs are even being supported by our largest businesses from the Minnesota Business Partnership. A lot of support.
  • Updates on various issues - lives have been saved via the Stay at Home Orders, but at the expense of the economy and people’s jobs. We want Minnesotans to get back out, go to the gym, shop at retail, go eat, all the things that will help the economy. The data supports doing this. Nineteen different states are climbing back up a curve again and seeing more illness. Minnesota is not. Arizona had opened up, but has had to roll back some of its openness because of higher numbers getting sick. They have activated excess hospital capacity and are looking at overflow facilities. We in Minnesota are at a new phase now, though we still encourage people to wear masks and social distance.
  • People who went to protests should get tested for COVID. The Governor and his wife were tested and are negative, and will likely test again in seven days.
 
  • Lt. Governor Flanagan was tested yesterday for COVID, and tested negative. For people who are afraid to get tested, it’s ok and just feels like a tickle in your nose. Please get tested if you have been at protests and gatherings.

  • The past few weeks and months have been the most challenging in the state’s history. The Governor and I talked to Valerie Castile, the mother of Philando Castile, and it shook me to my core. We cannot let this opportunity for change pass, because it is too important. This requires bold action. The burden of our two crises have fallen hardest on the most vulnerable among us. We cannot “Minnesota Nice” our way out of this situation. Special sessions are a regular occurrence these days, but this year is an extraordinary opportunity to pass meaningful change. We must rebuild our economy, especially for people in Greater Minnesota and people of color who have been hit the hardest.
 
Special Session
  • Here’s the floor agenda for tomorrow from Senator Gazelka’s office. All of the bills will require rules suspensions in order to take them up Friday. The main organizing resolution for the special session isn’t available yet.
  1. Human Services Reform policy bill—Abeler. He intends to remove Article 9 from the bill (didn’t receive the draft since the file is so large but it’s the same as SF 3322- it will be 20-8556)
  2. Small business grants—Anderson, P. (20-8651)
  3. Vehicle title fix and enhanced drivers license—Newman (20-8609)
  4. Gambling control board bill—Koran. There is one change from SF 512 that was passed, at the request of GCB (draft language not complete yet)
  5. E12 policy bill—Nelson. (20-8588)
  6. Amusement park effective date—Ruud. DOLI raised issue of effective dates that were not in certain sections related to amusement park operations this summer. This was SF 3358 as it came back from the House with another bill added. (20-8668)
 
Additional information:
  • The same remote voting rules and procedures that were in effect towards the end of the regular session will remain in effect for the special session.

  • For security reasons, additional state troopers will be on duty throughout the special session and the Capitol will be closed to the public. A small amount of passes will be given out to citizens wishing to view the floor sessions from the gallery. Some exterior doors to the Capitol may be difficult to access if fencing is still up; however, the tunnels will remain open for members and staff.
 
Other Updates:
  • The U.S. Senate currently is considering an expedited loan forgiveness process for small businesses. This is a timely issue that aligns the interests of the finance industry and the interests of small businesses. Treasury and SBA are requiring all businesses that accept PPP loans (regardless of loan size) to work through a lengthy forgiveness form and process that likely will be longer and more cumbersome than the initial application for the loans. And, while this might not be a problem for large companies, it will create a burden for many of the smallest businesses. Banking associations across the country are recommending an expedited or automatic forgiveness process for PPP loans under $150K. We will be sending a letter regarding the industry request to the legislators as well as to Secretary Mnuchin and Administrator Carranza, copying Minnesota’s Senators as well.
 
  • May Revenue Update from MMB: Net general fund revenues totaled $1.497 billion in May, $20 million (1.3 percent) less than projected. Net receipts from individual income and sales taxes for the month exceeded the projection, while corporate tax receipts and other revenues were lower than expected. For fiscal year 2020, year to date receipts are now $19.016 billion, $9 million less than projected.
 
  • U.S. Department of Labor offers webinar on Coronavirus-related paid sick leave requirements for business owners, employers and other stakeholders The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) in Chicago, is joining with the IRS and the U.S. Small Business Administration to discuss paid sick leave requirements, tax relief and other coronavirus-related information critical for employers and business owners during a webinar on June 12, 2020, from 11:00 a.m. to noon, CDT. No cost to attend, but space is limited. Register here.
 
 
  • These banks are the biggest Paycheck Protection Program lenders From MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL BUSINESS JOURNAL, June 10: The 15 largest lenders together have approved $153.11 billion across 1.43 million loans as of June 6. That’s about 31.6% of all the loans approved through that date, and 30% of all the dollars. No. 1 is by dollar volume is New York-based JPMorgan Chase ($28.65 billion for 256,978 loans). Its average loan size is $111,469. No. 2 is Charlotte-based Bank of America Corp. ($24.93 billion across 325,853 loans). Its average loan size is $76,517. Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp is No. 8 in total loan amount with at roughly $7 billion. San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co., second-largest bank in the Twin Cities by market share, was No. 5 with more than $10 billion in PPP loans. The total list can be found here:
 
 
  • Best Buy will end appointment-only shopping, recall 9,000 furloughed workers From MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL BUSINESS JOURNAL, June 10: Best Buy Co. Inc. said Tuesday that it will bring most of its stores back to nearly-normal operations, after spending weeks restricting them to curbside pickup and a partly-open model in which customers needed both an appointment and an escort to enter the store.
 
  • First race at Canterbury Park: Learning new COVID-19 protocols From MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE, June 10: A 52-day racing season will begin in Shakopee on Wednesday, marking the return of a summer ritual delayed by the coronavirus. There will be thoroughbreds and quarter horses flying down the track, money won and money lost. So much else, though, will not be normal.

  • Twin Cities United Way, Minneapolis Foundation, Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation commit to working to transform criminal justice system From InsightNews, June 9: To address a broken criminal justice system and policies rooted in long-standing racism, Greater Twin Cities United Way, The Minneapolis Foundation, and the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation today announced a multi-year collaboration with the goal of driving transformational change in the system. To partner on solutions, the three organizations will learn from, support and partner with people who are directly impacted by disparities that result from inequities in the criminal justice system. Fund already at $1.3M.

  • Minnesota ahead of two more populated Midwest states in PPP loans From MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL BUSINESS JOURNAL, June 9: Minnesota-based businesses and nonprofits have received more than 92,000 Payroll Protection Program loans, even topping a couple of larger states. Of the six states that makes up the SBA's Great Lakes Region, Minnesota ranks fourth in terms of total loans and dollar amount. Other nearby states that received larger PPP amounts have larger populations than Minnesota, such as Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. Indiana and Wisconsin however received fewer PPP loans even though the states have larger population figures. More than 681,000 small businesses and non-profits in the six states have been approved for the loans for more than $86 billion as of June 6, according to the SBA. 

  • Airlines restart flights on 11 MSP routes suspended by the pandemic From MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL BUSINESS JOURNAL, June 9: In another sign that traffic is beginning to pick up again at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, airlines have resumed flying 11 routes that had been suspended by the coronavirus pandemic. Sun Country is restarting flights on eight routes, according to data provided by the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which oversees MSP operations. Sun Country is also adding one new route, flying direct between MSP and Bozeman, Mont., for the first time. The number of suspended routes exceeded 90 in mid-April, which may have been when the slowdown in air travel reached its nadir. The number of people passing through MSP security checkpoints was down about 95% at one point in April. That traffic is returning, if slowly. According to an update provided by MAC CEO Brian Ryks earlier this month, traffic through security checkpoints was down 88% from normal levels — still dramatically reduced, but noticeably busier than April.

 
 
COVID-19 update as of 6/11 /2020
Confirmed cases in Minnesota: 29,316
Confirmed cases in U.S. (as of 6/11): over $2M
Confirmed cases globally (as of 6/11): over 7.4M
Cases requiring hospitalization: 3,522 (representing 12% of total)
#s currently hospitalized: 411 (down from 452 on 6/8)
#s no longer needing to be isolated: 24,870
#s tested: 381,841
Total deaths in Minnesota : 1,249 (994/79.6% cases in long term care or assisted living facilities)
Total deaths in U.S. (updated 6/8): over 113K
Total deaths globally (updated 6/11): over $418K
Cases in Counties represented:
Hennepin County: 9,815 (700 deaths)
Ramsey County: 3,740 (169 deaths)
Dakota County: 1,623 (72 deaths)
Washington County: 748 (36 deaths)


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 Kyle
President/CEO
Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce