Greetings and Happy Monday. I hope you had a weekend that recharged and reenergized you. This past weekwend I went camping with my sister; there’s something about a campfire and great conversation that sets things right, you know? My wish is that you are finding moments like this as well…
As another virtual week begins, I’m sending thoughts of encouragement to you, the business community, looking into the Fall with no indications that the restrictions governing commerce will ease anytime soon. We all need moments to be recharged and reenergized because thing are really hard right now. For all of us.
October 5-6 can be such a moment. On those two days, the Saint Paul Area and Minneapolis Regional Chambers are hosting our annual InterCity Leadership Visit (ICLV). For 18 years, the chambers have taken an invitation-only delegation of elected officials, Fortune 500 executives, small business owners, chamber board members, and nonprofit leaders to another community to study best practices. We launched this initiative by traveling to Denver in 2002 and have since traveled to Seattle, Boston, Dallas, San Diego, Toronto, Atlanta, Charlotte, Austin, Portland, Denver, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Nashville, to learn about city and regional best practices.
This year – we are visiting…Minneapolis and Saint Paul. And we’re opening up the gates of invitation. If we all are locked in to this virtual world of communication, then we’re going to do so together – and we’ll virtually bring in people from across the country to talk about this region, and what we need to do to move forward. We can’t pack a suitcase; but we still can come together – to recharge, to reenergize, together. REGISTER TODAY
BUSINESS ASSISTANCE FUNDS
SBA Physical Disaster Loan Deadline is October 2 in Minnesota For Civil Unrest. Reminder: The SBA encourages businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters to apply for a disaster loan before the October 2 deadline. Anyone in the declared counties in Minnesota with damages caused by the civil unrest on May 27 through June 8, 2020 should apply. The declaration covers Hennepin County and the adjacent counties of Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Ramsey, Scott, Sherburne and Wright.
Target commits to increasing Black employees by 20% over three years From the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, Sep 10: Target Corp. announced Thursday it's planning to increase representation of Black employees by 20% over the next three years by "sharpening its focus on retention, advancement and hiring," according to a press release. The plan is in response to a workforce diversity report which found 50% of Target's 360,000 employees are people of color. However, diversity isn't proportional to position. Black employees make up 5% of Target's executives and senior level officials and managers, while 71% of its executives are white.
UPDATES FROM THE ADMINISTRATION
Monday, September 14, Commissioner Malcolm
- 7-day positivity rate now at 4.9%, down from 5.6% last week.
- Median age steady at 35 yo.
- We are seeing strong testing volume. On Saturday we tested 21,489 people, the high water mark for a single day.
- The testing volume this last week is up 6% over the past week. Positive cases increased at 4.6%, so that positive gap between testing volume and positive cases is growing. This is good news.
Much time during this call on the guidance for school children and childcare: “COVID-19 School Childcare and Programming Exclusion Guidance.” Basically, when to stay home from school/childcare. The COVID-19 Decision Tree
- Mankato, Winona State, Concordia Moorhead each have over 100 cases already. Other colleges are seeing more positives as well.
- In August, 34 cases associated with gyms. Much lower than bars/restaurants, where we have had 66 establishments referred to Environmental Health due to suspected patron transmission, 1592 cases.
- Outbreak at Waseca Federal Prison: over 100 cases associated with that facility. Initially introduced from inmates transported in from another state. A challenge: issue of isolating/quarantining and the physical environment's impact to do so successfully.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virus America, six months in: Disarray, dismay, disconnect From the Pioneer Press, Sep 13: Uncertain times often produce uncertain people. But a strange paradox tends to emerge as well: In uncertain moments, human nature is to seek out certainty. That points to politics, where being absolutely sure is a feature, not a bug. This year, in this republic, that is no exception: In September 2020, the American earth is pocked with the marks of dug-in heels.
Dakotas lead US in virus growth as both reject mask rules From the Pioneer Press l Associated Press, Sep 13: SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Coronavirus infections in the Dakotas are growing faster than anywhere else in the nation, fueling impassioned debates over masks and personal freedom after months in which the two states avoided the worst of the pandemic.
Update: Comparing COVID-19 in Minnesota and its neighbors in the Upper Midwest From MPR, Sep 13: How does the COVID-19 outbreak in Minnesota compare to its neighboring states in the Upper Midwest? Because of how COVID-19 is being tracked, this isn’t an easy question to answer. In terms of raw numbers, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa have typically reported far more cases than North and South Dakota.
As the pandemic drags on, companies paying for work-from-home perks beyond the basics From the Star Tribune l Chicago Tribune, Sep 13: Six months into the coronavirus pandemic and with no return to the office in sight, employers are realizing that working remotely through a global health crisis requires more than helping employees pay for a comfy office chair. They are investing in intangibles that can help with mental wellness, like exercise, online tutoring for kids, or sessions with a life coach.
MN banks post 18% increases in 2Q net income; nationwide figures down From the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business journal, Sep 10: The banking industry took a big income hit in the second quarter as lenders boosted reserves in anticipation of bad loans. But the trend stopped at the Minnesota border. Minnesota-based banks reported quarterly net income growth of 18% to $547 million. That compares to a 70% decline in net income nationwide, according to figures from Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
Gov. Walz, MN pointman on COVID, looks back From the Pioneer Press, Sep 11: Six months after declaring a state of emergency to combat the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Tim Walz believes the steps he took saved lives but acknowledges that if he had known earlier in the crisis what he knows now, he would have done some things differently.
FROM THE LEGISLATURE
Review of Friday’s Special Session: as with previous special sessions, the House and Senate had lengthy debates on the extension of the Governor’s peacetime emergency order. The Governor will need to call legislators back around October 9th for another special session to extend the emergency again.
The Senate also took up three confirmations of Commissioners:
- Bureau of Mediation Services Commissioner Janet Johnson was unanimously confirmed.
- Public Utilities Commissioner Joe Sullivan was confirmed on a vote of 63-3.
Commerce Commissioner and former State Senator Steve Kelley was removed from his position after failing to receive the necessary 34 votes to be confirmed.
It is expected the Legislature will return around September 21st to take up outstanding issues like a bonding, budget and tax bill, which could not be addressed on Friday.
COVID-19 update as of 9/14/2020
Confirmed cases in Minnesota: 84,949
% Positives, last 7 days (as of 9/3): 5.5% (up from last week)
Confirmed cases in U.S.: over 6.5M
Confirmed cases globally: over 29M
Cases requiring hospitalization: 6,954 (representing 8.2% of total)
#s currently hospitalized: 233 (down from 257 on 9/10)
#s no longer needing to be isolated: 78,238 (92%)
#s tested: 1,724,779
Total deaths in Minnesota: 1,922 (1,398/72.7% cases in long term care or assisted living facilities)
Total deaths in U.S.: over 194K
Total deaths globally: over 925K
Cases in Counties represented:
Hennepin County: 24,944 (907 deaths)
Ramsey County: 10,111 (313 deaths)
Dakota County: 6,836 (120 deaths)
Washington County: 3,407 (55 deaths)
See available SBA COVID-19 training here.
Be safe and be well,
Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce