Situation Report COVID-19 Updates | September 10, 2020
 
As expected, Wednesday afternoon Governor Walz called a Special Session for Friday, September 11, for the purposes of extending for another 30 days Minnesota’s Peacetime Emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is anticipated to be a 1-day session, with 1-2 agenda items:

1) A vote on whether to end the Peacetime Emergency, and
2) A vote on the confirmation or ouster of one or more of the Governor’s Commissioners.
 
Votes on a bonding bill or any budget and tax bills must wait until at least September 21st, which is when the “financial quiet period” for the State ends. The “quiet period” is required prior to and for a period after a state bond sale, which occurred in August. Legislative leaders are having discussions about whether to try to return on or around September 21 to pass the bonding bill and other items. 
 
All 50 states remain under emergency status, so there is little chance that Friday’s vote here will change anything for us.
 
If you haven’t responded to the Census yet, it’s not too late! You can complete your census forms online, by mail, over the phone, or in-person. You count!
www.2020census.gov or 844-330-2020.
 
BUSINESS ASSISTANCE FUNDS
 
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.
 
BizRecycling Relief GrantsAny business that has been negatively impacted by the social unrest or COVID-19 is eligible for funding that can cover various items. Find out more.
 


 
 
#BusinessDoingGood

 
  • Vikings pledge $1 million to local social justice programs  From the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, Sep 8: The Minnesota Vikings on Tuesday announced that the team is pledging $1 million to launch or expand programs related to voter education and registration, educational curriculum on racism and Black history, and law-enforcement and criminal-justice reform.

  • Ujamaa Place transforms men’s lives. If you want to support them, mark your calendars for October 8th and have your coffee cup filled to the brim at 8:00am ready for an hour of music, testimonials from the men of Ujamaa, celebrity appearances, and an update from Otis Zanders on the State of Ujamaa in a COVID World. Register here.
 
#BackToBusiness
 
  • Medica to bring up to 50 jobs to St. Paul’s Lexington Parkway From the Pioneer Press, Sep 9: Medica, a Minnetonka-based health insurance company serving nine states, will seat up to 50 entry-level “feeder” jobs in offices leased within the Amherst H. Wilder building at University Avenue and Lexington Parkway, said company officials. “It makes us a more diverse organization,” said Medica CEO John Naylor in an interview Wednesday, noting hiring will start locally.
 
UPDATES FROM THE ADMINISTRATION
Thursday, September 10, DEED Call
  • Reopening efforts: very real discussions continue about increasing pressures on large venues, bars/restaurants, particularly as the weather turns. That said, no indication of any immediate plans for increased levels of reopening.
  • UI claims continue to decline. That said, over 300K people still get weekly UI.
  • Wage Assistance Program: is a 5-week, lump sum distribution for those eligible. May be possible for it to be 7 weeks of benefits, but that’s still TBD. First batch of funds has been distributed, work continues.
  • Small Business Relief Grants: eligibility work being done through the CDFIs continues. Hope to wrap it all up by EOM September.
  • Commerce: now in a good place re licensure testing availability. In the metro, waits for testing are down to about 1 week. More limited availability in Greater MN, where partnering universities may not be open.
  • DLI: Thus far, have received 4500 COVID-related claims.
  • DLI, DPS, MDH, Dept of Ag are working on cross-agency enforcement efforts related to bar/restaurants.
  • Over last 2 weekends, 167 quick compliance checks.
  • 88 of the bars/restaurants visited were following safety guidelines.
  • 79, the remainder, had some minor violations. 31 require more follow up action.
  • Bottom line: vast majority are complying. Thank you!
  • Customers play a big role here: please follow protocols, don’t push together tables...
  • Sales Tax Revenue: as of EOM July, sales tax revenue is down 6% overall. Some sectors are seeing significant drop (performance/entertainment venues, accommodations and food, off by over 30%). Retail sales tax, particularly online, is up by almost 90% year-over-year.
 
Wednesday, September 9, MDH/DPS/DLI
  • 7-day positivity rate now at 5.5%.
  • Median age now at 35 yo.
  • 7-day average growth rate is 6.4%, down from 8% the day prior
  • Testing increase of 6.4%, and new cases up by 6.2%
 
IN THE NEWS
  • 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.
 
  • Patios made the pandemic bearable, but winter is coming for Minnesota's restaurants  From the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, Sep 9: Outdoor seating has been a lifeline for eating and drinking venues during the pandemic. Patios were the first spaces to reopen to guests in June, two-and-a-half months after the state imposed strict operating guidelines on bars and restaurants in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19. A number of cities, including Minneapolis, Stillwater and Duluth, scrambled to make it easier and cheaper for bars and restaurants to add or expand outdoor dining spaces.
 
  • HealthPartners' COVID-19 vaccine recruiting suspended From the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Sep 8: “The trial sponsor has let us know that it is having a review and evaluation of the trial this week, so we are pausing enrollment for this to occur,” said HealthPartners spokesman David Martinson. “Upon completion of the evaluation we will be able to reschedule patients.”
 
  • Wells Fargo staff to work remotely until at least November; U.S. Bank eyes later date From the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, Sep 8: Most of Wells Fargo & Co. 200,000 employees, including its roughly 18,000 in Minnesota, will work remotely through at least Nov. 1 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company said in a statement to the Business Journal. Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp said employees that are currently working from home will likely continue to do so until at least January. St. Paul-based Bremer Financial Corp. said there isn't any hard deadline to bring employees back.



  • US DOL Resources The U.S. Department of Labor-Wage and Hour Division, has just made available a new collection of Coronavirus Public Service Announcements. These new PSAs and videos are a creative and effective way to provide COVID-19 related guidance to employees, employers and all others in the employment community. The materials include information on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act as well as provisions related to worker health and safety. The information is available in script, audio and video forms and includes Spanish-language materials.   
 
FROM THE LEGISLATURE

FROM CONGRESS
  • From Lockridge Grindal Nauen, Sep 8 Congress Returns to Washington With Little Time to Avert Shutdown. Lawmakers return to Washington this week with less than a month left to pass a stopgap funding measure to avoid a shutdown in October, after regular appropriations work was overlooked for months during the presidential campaign and coronavirus stimulus negotiations. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin informally agreed last week to try to reach a clean continuing resolution, without tying it to coronavirus stimulus talks or other controversial items. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the administration expects to avert a shutdown.The threat of a shutdown, combined with lawmakers’ determination to return to the campaign trail in October, may help Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speed legislation through both chambers. Negotiators have yet to say whether a stopgap will run until the winter lame-duck session or longer.

  • Senate to Vote on “Skinny” Stimulus Bill This Week Senate Majority Leader McConnell will try to break the logjam in COVID relief negotiations this week with a scaled-down $500 billion stimulus plan which the White House supports. Although the amount is half of what the GOP offered at the end of July, Leader McConnell is still struggling to get his caucus fully behind the measure as newly-energized fiscal hawks balk at adding to the estimated $3.3 trillion deficit caused largely by the previous relief bills.
 
 
COVID-19 update as of 9/10/2020
Confirmed cases in Minnesota: 82,249
% Positives, last 7 days (as of 9/3): 5.5% (up from last week)
Confirmed cases in U.S.: over 6.37M
Confirmed cases globally: almost 28M
Cases requiring hospitalization: 6,830 (representing 8.3% of total)
#s currently hospitalized: 257 (stable from 9/8)
#s no longer needing to be isolated: 75,425 (91.7%)
#s tested: 1,646,961
Total deaths in Minnesota: 1,884 (1,375/72.9% cases in long term care or assisted living facilities)
Total deaths in U.S.: over 191K
Total deaths globally: over 905K
Cases in Counties represented:
Hennepin County: 24,389 (896 deaths)
Ramsey County: 9,805 (305 deaths)
Dakota County: 6,629 (120 deaths)
Washington County: 3,316 (55 deaths)

Resources
  • See available SBA COVID-19 training here.



 
Be safe and be well,

B

B Kyle
President/CEO
Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce