Situation Report COVID-19 Updates | September 17, 2020
I’ve been looking at the weather forecast, and it looks like we’ve got some fall weather ahead. I’m looking forward to more open windows.
 
I don’t know about you, but one of the first things I did this week was enter the lottery for the next State Fair Food Parade - it’s coming back! Enter the lottery for the Fall Food Parade. The encore event is October 1-4 and 8-11. Be sure to enter to get your chance to eat your way through the fair this year! 
 
How pleased I am to be able to end this week dwelling on the words of former Senator Norm Coleman. He was the keynote at our annual Leaders in Local Government Awards event today. I forget how inspiring he is, how much I want to live in his city, in his town. He embodies so much of what I appreciate – a deep love for St. Paul, a clear understanding of the role of government alongside business, optimism that our best days are still ahead of us.
 
Truly, today was all about celebrating public servants, and only a few get recognized, even at our events. I’d like to say Thank You, to those of you who serve in some capacity. From career public servants, to elected officials, to chamber teams, to volunteers. Senator Coleman reminded us – and it’s worth saying again – that we will get through this, recovery is in our future, and together we can have our “best days yet.”
 
Enjoy the fresh breeze this weekend!
 
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. The grant application process is extremely easy and can be completed online. If you have any questions about the program, please feel free to reach out to Jon Klapperich.
 
Inver grove Heights Non-Profit Program: grants up to $20K, applications due September 30.  
 

 
 
#BusinessDoingGood
  • 3M Pledges $50M For Racial Equity Initiatives  From Twin Cities Business, Sep 15: 3M on Monday pledged to spend $50 million on racial equity initiatives over the next five years. That will include $5 million in scholarships through the United Negro College Fund, which provides funding for students attending historically black colleges and universities. That initial sum will go toward students in St. Paul, 3M officials said in a news release.
 
  • Delta won't furlough flight attendants, ground workers From the Star Tribune, Sep 15: Thousands of Delta Air Lines flight attendants and ground-service workers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport will keep their jobs when government payroll assistance runs out next month, executives announced Tuesday. The Atlanta-based carrier and all its major competitors are expected to make substantial staffing decisions over the next several weeks, indicating what a downsized U.S. airline industry will look like for the coming years.

 
#BacktoBusiness

  • McKnight Foundation: their new Vibrant & Equitable Communities (V&EC) strategies and guidelines are posted, and they are inviting people to participate in a 60-minute live webinar on Thursday, Sept. 24 at 11 a.m. (CST).

  • Return of Gopher Football will help U’s athletics budget crunch, but millions still lost From the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, Sep 16: The Big Ten Conference's announcement Wednesday that it'll play a shortened football season means that the University of Minnesota Athletics' Department stands to make millions that it thought it lost just a month ago, when member colleges voted to postpone the season indefinitely. But it won't be made whole.
  • 3M says August sales stronger; Q3 is looking up From the Business Journal, Sep 15: 3M Co. said Tuesday that its sales in August rose from a year ago and it projected better-than-expected top-line growth from the third quarter, the latest sign that the company's business is rebounding from the early economic shock of the Covid-19 pandemic.
 
  • Deluxe will move headquarters, 538 jobs from Shoreview to downtown Minneapolis From the Business Journal, Sep 14: "Moving to downtown Minneapolis is an exciting next step, helping accelerate our transformation while deepening our community commitment. Our new headquarters will offer our employee-owners access to everything downtown offers including walkable amenities, robust public transportation, warm hospitality venues, engaging entertainment and a spirit of innovation and optimism,” McCarthy said in a news release.
 
  • Southwest LRT wins final approval for nearly $1 billion grant From the Star Tribune, Sep 14: The federal government said Monday it is awarding $929 million to help pay for the Southwest light-rail line, a final financial linchpin for a transit project years in the making. With a $2 billion price tag, Southwest is the biggest public works project in state history. Now under construction, the 14.5-mile line will connect downtown Minneapolis to Eden Prairie through St. Louis Park, Hopkins and Minnetonka.
 
UPDATES FROM THE ADMINISTRATION
Thursday, September 17, Weekly Commissioners Call
  • DEED has paid out the 6 weeks of lost wages per the FEMA commitment of $300/week for 6 weeks.
  • Today’s monthly jobs report was released: we are seeing slow recovery, ahead of the country on most metrics.
  • Unemployment rate down to 7.4%, down from 7.7% last month. Nation is at 8.4%.
  • MN's peak was 9.4% in May, US high was 14.4% in April.
  • 44K new jobs.
  • Up 1.5% in job growth compared to job #s in July. US is 1% up overall.
  • Much comeback has been from govt: census workers, service industry jobs
  • 7800 hospitality, 7100 food
  • Financial activities sector lost .1% jobs.
  • Still down 7.3% jobs overall. 7.0% overall in US.
  • Bright spots here: retail trade. Completely rebounded from job loss in retail trade, the only sector. Online retail is really growing.
  • Prof services doing better than the nation overall.
  • Temp agencies doing better overall.
  • Food mfg bounced back, up year over year, at 1.1%. Up 54% in food production exports year over year in Q2.
  • Reskilling: Service sector remains challenged. People need to be thinking about transitions, in case some jobs never come back. We are working to help people find jobs/careers that ARE in demand. We now have over 54K jobs posted to our state jobs site.
  • People of color, 6-mth rolling average unemployment is 16.3%, 9% for Hispanic, 6.7% for white Minnesotans.
  • Black Minnesotans much higher % in hospitality industry.
  • MN's work ethic: labor force participation rate. At 70% before pandemic, now at 69.8%. 61.7% national average. We are one of top 3 states. One of our true strengths.
  • For details go to www.mn.gov/deed

Wednesday, September 16, Commissioner Malcolm
  • 7-day positivity rate, as of 9/7, is now at 4.8%, another drop from earlier this week.
  • Median age steady at 35 yo.
  • The testing volume this last week was up 6.4%, while positive cases increased at 4.8%, so that positive gap between testing volume and positive cases is growing. This is good news.
  • MDH is watching with concern the rapid growth in neighboring states. Still waiting to see the impact on Minnesota’s numbers of Labor Day and schools back in session.
  • CDC has delivered playbook to states to assist with vaccine planning. The vaccine roll-out will be in 3 phases: the first targeting those in healthcare and those at risk for severe illness. The timing and details are not yet available. 
 
IN THE NEWS
  • Business owners and community groups refine state aid requests for properties damaged in riots From the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Sep 17: Legislative leaders are considering holding another special session as early as Monday, primarily to pass an infrastructure construction bill, but they haven’t yet cut a deal to get it done. As much as $500 million in damages was reported — a big chunk of that for privately-owned buildings set afire — during the unrest. Nearly 1,500 businesses were damaged during the riots, which lasted several days and nights.
 
  • Mayo Clinic is going public with own COVID-19 modeling From the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Sep 17: The Rochester-based health system is unveiling an online tracking tool Thursday that provides recent COVID-19 case data for U.S. counties, as well as reputable advice on how to prevent infections with the coronavirus that causes the disease. The tool on the mayoclinic.org site will be updated this fall with county-level modeling forecasts for pandemic activity.

  • Black workers bear brunt of Covid’s job shock in Minnesota From the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, Sep 16: Covid-19 has driven a surge in unemployment claims among Minnesotans, with Black workers being particularly hard hit. As of July, about one in two Black workers in Minnesota had applied for unemployment insurance since mid-March, compared with one in four white workers, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The virus has reversed Minnesota’s trend toward a narrowing employment gap between Black and white workers.
 
  • During online meeting, Ramsey County manager announces he’s recovering from COVID-19 From the Pioneer Press, Sep 16: Ramsey County Manager Ryan O’Connor announced that he was recovering from COVID-19 during Tuesday’s virtual meeting of the Board of Commissioners. “This isn’t just the flu,” he said. “I wish I would’ve had the flu. While I’m glad that some don’t get symptoms, those who do can immediately recognize the difference between this and the flu.”
 
  • Here’s why MN health officials might want to test your family for COVID-19 From the Pioneer Press, Sep 15: The state Department of Health wants to know more about the prevalence of the COVID-19 in Minnesota and some randomly chosen residents will be able to help — and get a free coronavirus test. Health officials began a voluntary statewide survey Monday, with the help of the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, that will run through the end of September. Households are being asked at random in 180 sites statewide to submit to an interview and testing. The so-called Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response, or CASPER, survey will help health officials better understand how the coronavirus has spread and why, the rate of infection in different regions and the percentage of asymptomatic infections.

  • Minority-owned firms seek leading role in reconstruction of Twin Cities From the Star Tribune, Sep 14: "How do we use this as an opportunity to build the capacity of smaller women-owned, minority-owned businesses?" said David Mortenson, chairman of Mortenson Construction, one of the country's largest contractors based in Minneapolis. "It's not going to do any good if we go through a rebuild process and a bunch of big Caucasian-owned construction companies come in and do the work."

  • Department of Labor Revises Regulations to Clarify Paid Leave Requirements under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act News Release, US DOL, Wage and Hour Division, Sep 14: Washington, DC - The revisions made by the new rule clarify workers’ rights and employers’ responsibilities under the FFCRA’s paid leave provisions, in light of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in an Aug. 3, 2020, decision that found portions of the regulations invalid. The Department issued its initial temporary rule implementing provisions under the FFCRA on April 1, 2020. Read the revisions to that temporary rule, which will become effective Sept. 16, 2020, in the Federal Register.
 
 
COVID-19 update as of 9/17/2020
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)

 
Resources
  • See available SBA COVID-19 training here.
 


  • 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.
 
Be safe and be well,

B

B Kyle
President/CEO
Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce