Situation Report COVID-19 Updates | May 14, 2020
Well yesterday was quite the day of announcements. I’m sure you listened to the Governor’s briefing last night. If not, I’ve got links below. Many of us will be figuring how and when to bring people back to the workplace. We’re planning for some staff to come back into the office on Monday, May 18, based on our preparedness plan, while most of us will continue working remotely. Our touchless thermometer from Target arrived today, which was timely. Thanks again to Target for selling these at cost to Minnesota businesses! 
This next “new normal” will look unlike any in the years preceding the coronavirus; the pandemic has changed so much, but not everything. I can assure you what is not changed: this is the year we’re going to be your indispensable partner and trusted resource. Indeed, chambers are made for such times as these.
Our top priority is working to help members through the pandemic and into economic recovery.
- we’ve got options for members for whom paying dues is a struggle
- we’ve got options for larger members who want to contribute and support
- we are partnering to develop more tools for the smallest businesses that really need dedicated mentoring
- we are sharing resources, information, connections whenever and wherever possible
- our foundation is focusing its fundraising efforts on potential grants for micro businesses and smaller chambers
No matter your circumstance, please know we are here for you and want to help. Please reach out to us if there is something you need.
In our next Sit Rep on Monday, I’ll review McKinsey’s suggested five horizons that every executive should use to ensure an organization’s rapid response, adaptation to change, and reemergence in a position of strength.
SHOUT-OUTS, #BusinessDoingGood
  • Open Cities is now offering drive-up COVID-19 testing! If you are symptomatic, call to make an appointment at 651-251-5967. 
  • Just because it’s fun: The St. Paul Saints have their “Nopening Day” on May 19th 5:30 – 7:30pm! “Join” them for curbside pick-up t-shirt giveaway to the first 500 in front of CHS Field! Then tune in at 6pm through Facebook and Twitter. You can trust them for some fun prizes throughout the evening! Aaah, a great game and beverages on the home couch. I love it!
Today’s Updates:
  • EO 20-53 extends the Peacetime Emergency Order to June 12, 2020.
  • EO 20-54 sets up a system to protect workers from unsafe working conditions and retaliation if they report unsafe environments.
  • EO 20-55 provides guidance for various at-risk populations, defines “at-risk” individuals, and strongly encourages these populations to stay at home.
  • EO 20-56 rescinds the current Stay at Home Order effective midnight Sunday night, and lays out directives for how certain non-critical businesses and entities can re-open starting on Monday. It also states that other non-critical businesses such as bars, restaurants and other places of public accommodation (includes gyms, salons and others) can re-open on June 1, 2020, provided the owner has a written plan and is taking certain precautions.
  • See all Executive Orders here.
Governor’s Media Briefings
  • On Wed night Governor Walz announced three of the 4 EOs listed above. Key, of course, is the EO 20-56, which reopens more sectors including retail, the malls, certain camping environments, more outdoor sports, etc. That said, we still are encouraged to stay at or near home if possible.
  • To determine how to “turn up the dial” in terms of opening businesses, the Governor is focusing on the 3 broad buckets of changes:

  • Social gathering: shift allowing gatherings of 10 people or fewer. Even if not members of same household. Caveats for legislative meetings, driving gatherings… some churches, movie theaters have instituted innovative "driving gatherings," which are permitted provided everyone stays in their car. Tribal lands, within the bounds of their sovereignty, are exempt.

  • Workers and businesses: differentiation highlighted in terms of slowly and carefully reentering more business and commerce without rushing too fast and risking a spike that would lead to turning the dial back.

  • Recreation: now remote camping allowed for single household use. Not in a developed campground with shared common space. Includes house boats, though campgrounds are still closed. Sporting advancements as well, like outdoor practices for 10 people or under. Think tennis vs basketball.

  • In determining the risk of a business setting to key health factors, the Governor also is looking each of these 3 considerations. The less control we have over each in a business environment, the longer it will take to reopen that sector: 
  • How much contact
  • How long that contact is
  • Predictability of the setting

In developing your business preparedness plan, DEED and DLI have developed a template plan and guidance that businesses can use as a starting point.

  • On Wednesday, Commissioner Malcolm also introduced v3 of the COVID19 model, used to inform response strategies and resource planning. Most impactful from that briefing: To accommodate CDC guidance, we need some form of mitigation plan that reaches into September.
  • Statewide testing hit the 5,000/day goal on Monday.
  • Remdesivir is an antiviral medication that has received emergency approval from the FDA to treat COVID-19 cases. Preliminary data has shown that Remdesivir can reduce the amount of time it takes for a patient to take to recover. Minnesota received a small initial shipment of Remdesivir over the weekend. The drug was immediately allocated to health care facilities for the treatment of severe COVID-19 cases.
In Congress
We are carefully watching the next COVID-19 relief bill currently being debated. The HEROES bill - Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act – is targeting businesses with 10 or fewer employees, nonprofits, 501c6 organizations and other classes of nonprofits left out of the SBA’s original PPP authorization. It also includes other provisions to address key problems with the PPP such as timing and flexibility. It looks to be highly debated, based on this article in today’s MSPBJ .

The House of Representatives will vote on the newly-introduced HEROS act tomorrow.
Join us for an up-to-the-minute briefing from Congresswoman Betty McCollum and Small Business Administration District Director Brian McDonald on Monday, May 18 and hear more about the new HEROS act (described by some as "CARES II"), what new ideas are being considered for future stimulus packages, and resources that are now being provided at the federal level to assist businesses. REGISTER HERE for the briefing .

In the State Legislature
At the Legislature, Zoom hearings and floor sessions continue in this final week of the regular session. As of this writing, there is no agreement between legislative leaders and the Governor on the major items of the session. Leaders continue to disagree about the size of a bonding bill along with projects to be included, and there are widely varying opinions on what should or shouldn’t be included in a tax bill. In addition, legislators appear to be hung up on whether to pass legislation ratifying the state employee contracts that were negotiated last year.
Some major policy and funding items have moved or are moving, however, including a bill that requires drug manufacturers to make drug price information public, a bill allocating federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funding to ensuring orderly elections, a bill prohibiting marriages by minors, and the Legacy bill, which appropriates money for clean water, parks, wildlife habitat and the arts.
COVID-19 update as of 5/14/2020
Confirmed cases in Minnesota: 13,435
Confirmed cases in U.S. (as of 5/14): over 1.4M
Confirmed cases globally (as of 5/14): over 4.4M
Cases requiring hospitalization: 1,915
#s currently hospitalized: from 498
#s no longer needing to be isolated: 9,136
#s tested: 128,752
Total deaths in Minnesota : 663 (537 cases in long term care or assisted living facilities)
Total deaths in U.S. (updated 5/14): almost 85,000
Total deaths globally (updated 5/14): over 4.4M
Cases in Counties represented:
Hennepin County: 4,331 (441 deaths)
Ramsey County: 1,167 (56 deaths)
Dakota County: 562 (16 deaths)
Washington County: 282 (18 deaths)
  • The interactive Minnesota COVID-19 Public Dashboard can be found here.
  • Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), DEED, and the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) have developed a template plan and guidance that businesses can use as a starting point. Businesses aren’t required to use this template, but a business’ plan does need to follow CDC and MDH guidelines and OSHA standards.

  • If your small business is within ½ mile of Allianz Field, apply for a grant from the Neighbors United Funding Collaborative. This grant is specifically for small businesses within a half mile of Allianz Field with annual revenue below $3 million who are either a small business or nonprofit with a retail or service-based business model.

  • North Risk Partners is offering a guide and sample plan to help you build your action plan for bringing employees back to work.

  • Paycheck Protection Program still has money available for organizations negatively impacted by COVID-19. Contact a participating lenders. 

SBA Info:
Local Partner Info
DLI Worker Protections Pages
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 well!

B Kyle
Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce