TODAY (THURSDAY):
Virtual Business After Hours!
Join us today at 4:30 pm
Since our virtual Coffee Connection was such a success, we decided to keep the good feeling going and do a virtual Business After Hours!
 
It will take place TODAY THURSDAY April 30th from 4:30 - 5:30 pm. This After Hours will be BYOB.

We will have a toast so bring your favorite beverage!
 
Registration is required, and you only need your name and email address to sign up. Once you've registered you will be emailed a link to join. It's that easy!
 
We will go "around the room" and have everyone introduce themselves and touch base with one another. It's a great way to be introduced to some faces you've seen around but haven't gotten the chance to talk to just yet. Join us!
DEED MN Call for Business (TODAY)
Notes From Call on 4/30/2020
APPLE VALLEY CHAMBER NOTE: We received the following paragraph of what is likely to happen with the Governor today (AN EXTENSION IS LIKELY):
 
 
"Early heads-up on what we can expect from the Governor at his 2pm briefing today: it is anticipated that Governor Walz will extend the SAH Order today and slightly “adjust the dial” (link to that powerpoint presentation is below) with guidance opening up category of businesses that can operate with proper social distancing and have competitive considerations. The term “curbside commerce” is coming up related to multiple sectors such as animal grooming and retail. The extension will likely be less than a month and there isn’t likely to be further guidance today on businesses that remain closed. The administration has been silent about specific businesses."

2020 04 30 Call, DEED
Thursday, April 30, 2020
7:23 AM

Nicole Blissenbach, Asst Commissioner of Department of Labor and Industry
Robert Doty, Asst Commissioner of Revenue
Kevin McKinnon, Deputy Commissioner of DEED
Darielle Dannon, Legislative Director
Anna Peterson, DEED Chief of Staff
 
Purpose: regular business call with state government. How can we do more for business?
 
Questions are being circulated into the forum through this daily communication. Always seeking ideas for more targeted supports.
 
NEXT WEEK, CALL WILL BE ONCE A WEEK ON THURSDAY, 7:30 - 8:15AM.
 
DEED, Kevin McKinnon
  • SBEL: $30M fund to assist businesses impacted by EOs 20-04 and 20-08.
  • To date, 660 loans. Cross section of lenders across the state.
  • About $20M has been disbursed as of today, $10M remaining. That said, lenders are still working through apps they have received. Still have far more apps than funding remaining.
  • Series of bills going through the Legislature now that would add more $ to the program. More updates along the way.
  • PUA program. To date, about 40K people have been made eligible for PUA funding. Equates to about 88K weeks of PUA paid. About $30M in benefits. This is $600 payment to all applicants. Remember, this is new/different from standard UI program.
  • Nearly $75M total payments have been sent out.
  • UI: in last 6 weeks, have processed over 580K new claims. The first 3 weeks of that we had well over 100K each week. it's been steadily dropping in April and now, last week of April, as of today we're not to 30K claims for the week yet. 
  • Largest sector impacted is food prep and services, almost 100K claims. Sales and service and other ofc/admin support are big categories as well.
  • Continue to communicate with a variety of groups re safe re-opening. Earlier this week, a section of the non-essential employers opened up. They don't have to open, is up to the individual employer. Continuing to work on what safe re-opening looks like.
  • Re EO 20-40 and determining if you qualify to re-open: Businesses needing specific guidance on whether or not they qualify can go to theguidance page on the DEED website
  • Workers whose employer is re-opening under EO 20-40 may no longer qualify for unemployment. They must report to UI if they refuse to return to work for their employer 
  • If you still have a question that you need answered about whether a business meets the definition of industrial or office, please email CriticalSectors@state.mn.us.
 
Blissenbach, DLI
  • Workers comp: earlier this week, we've had approx 200 work comp claims coded as "COVID-19 claims."
  • OSHA: as of beginning of this week, received over 1000 calls this month. Up from approx 300 this month last year. Majority of those calls are from workers reporting safety and health concerns. Also receiving calls from businesses with questions. Keep reaching out!
  • When we receive calls from workers, we are asking they initially bring concerns to the employers directly, to be resolved there. that has been successful in many situations. Also making contacts out to employers where workers have not been successful or comfortable doing so. 
  • Great guidance from associations and businesses on safety. For ex, Grocers Assn put out customer guidance. State would love to see that submitted so we can learn from it and incorporate into our guidance.
  • On DEED Safe Work Website is form asking for best practices you have implemented, share with the state so we can add to our thinking/guidance as well.
 
Doty, Revenue
  • Spending a lot of time looking at tax impacts of federal stimulus bills. CARES Act and FFCRA Act. A number of tax provisions that a part of those bills.
  • Some impacts require MN tax law conformity. Working with Legislature.
  • Encourage people to go to our website, Dept of Revenue, re tax relief.
  • https://www.revenue.state.mn.us/our-response-covid-19
 
Dannon, Legislative update
  • Broadband Telemedicine bill moving thru Legislature. They seem to be identical at this point, headed to the floor. Additional $ for broadband for parts of state unserved and for student support and telemedicine.
  • As Kevin pointed out, we're working on a package of additional funding to support small business. Bills have been sent to Ways and Means and Finance Committees. Are somewhat different at this point; members of those committees are beginning to work through details. Good possibility that both will clear Legislature in the next 2 weeks we have left.
 
Questions
  1. If legislature provides additional funding, will they include a wider sector of businesses that are eligible? Dannon: that is one of the provisions in both bills, making a change in who's eligible and how much funding is available. Committees are very well aware of the businesses that are closing, want to address.
  2. DEED: what might be on horizon at federal level for communities to add to loan funds, CDBG and others? McKinnon: open dialogue continues with Congress and the delegation on various other items through a variety of different agencies on different programs or potentially some of the issue that may have been overlooked in some of the previous bills. We are working with IEDC, National Governors Assn and others, on pieces that would impact that. On the horizon: at this point I can't give a definite answer about what they might be considering, but there is a whole host of issues out there that continue to be raised.
  3. Revenue: has the 5/15 property tax deadline been delayed yet? Has been requested for months. Doty: have heard that a fair amount. The deadline has not changed. Is in statute, and Dept of Revenue does not have the ability to move that. Moving that would take legislation.
  4. Hearing from businesses that liability insurance will not over them if customer gets COVID-19 and traces infection back to the business. Exposes us to being sued. Any federal protections for business? Blissenbach: none of us can answer on this call. the more a business can show they are following all of the guidelines, they will be in a better place. But as far as legal liability, people will have to talk to an attorney for more definite answers. The more protocols in place that comply with guidelines from CDC, MDH and OSHA, the better. 
  5. Re the "dial" Gov Walz shared on his slides last week: areas of MN are in different places re COVID-19. will there be regional dials and who does the dial turning? Peterson: currently, 1 dial for the state and the dial turning happens with EOs at Governor level. McKinnon: a lot of factors that go into turning the dial. Certainly, the balance of public health, social distancing, and economic recovery are the considerations that go into this. things can pop up in individual counties, as we've seen recently, unfortunately. https://mn.gov/covid19/assets/04-22-20-covid19-gov-walz-update_tcm1148-429595.pdf
  6. School districts applying for waivers to continue supplying meals are required to provide data proving economic impacts. Data on businesses closed by city would be very helpful but is not available. Since there will be many more data requests, can these rules be revised on a temporary basis to help us? Provide # of businesses without names of the businesses? Dannon: we have staff at DEED on this … I have seen at least 1 request. DEED's data tends to be delayed, like 1 quarter after. We can work with you, but challenging to provide exactly what this question is asking. Please reach out to us for data to make a case. Economic analysts are working on these requests. Reach out to me, McKinnon, or Peterson on this, and we will assist you. 
  7. Letter from UI informing me that an employee laid off from her 2d job. We will be responsible for UI costs. Seems in conflict with Governor's directive. Peterson: EO relieves tax paying employers from UI charges. Will gather details from applicant. Any UI benefit paid to that person will be excluded from calculating future UI pymts.
  8. How to dispute UI charges as they are inaccurate? Answer: can raise issue on www.uimn.org on how to do this. Log into employer account and raise an issue there or submit question to UI staff if you're having trouble. Also really great videos there to walk you through the process.
  9. Can a employee be fired or sent home without pay for refusing to follow required safety measures? Blissenbach: hard to give one answer as broadly as I'm hearing it. Depends on a number of things, potentially. What was the directive, was refusal to comply based on a guideline that is required by CDC or MDH….? Was the person covered by a contract or collective bargaining agreement….? Answer is, "it depends."
Dakota County Waives Late Property Tax Penalty
Penalties are Waived Through July 15th
APPLE VALLEY CHAMBER NOTE: We have been working with MN Chamber through joint letters and meetings in trying to get a statewide Property Tax Relief which is due May 15th. The State ruled they would leave it to Counties to decide. We partnered with the City of Apple Valley who appealed to the county for the relief. 
 
Yesterday the COUNTY HAS GIVEN PARTIAL PROPERTY TAX RELIEF BY EFFECTIVELY WAIVING THE PENALTIES THROUGH JULY 15th. If not paid by then, full penalties will apply. Our Board asked that we try to have the extension continue through the fall which we will pursue. 

Dakota County waives property tax late payment penalty.
No penalty for non-escrowed payments received through July 15.
Dakota County is waiving a penalty for some property tax payments due May 15.
Recognizing that property owners may be impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, April 28 approved a property tax penalty abatement for the first half of 2020 property taxes. The penalty for late payment is waived through July 15, 2020.
The penalty relief applies to all non-escrowed residential, agricultural, vacant rural, open space, apartment, commercial and industrial property. Taxes paid through an escrow service, and properties classified as utility, railroad, machinery and transmission lines are excluded from the waiver.
Property owners who are able to pay their property taxes by the due date are encouraged to do so to help support county, school and city responses to COVID-19.
For more information, visit  www.dakotacounty.us , search property taxes.
Digital Tool For Minnesota Businesses
To Help Engage in Proper Daily Health Screenings
Health experts around the world will tell you that one of the most important aspects of workplace safety during a pandemic is careful and effective health screening of employees. That’s why in Executive Order 20-40, the Governor requires all non-critical businesses coming back into workplace environments to engage in proper health screenings each day.

Now, thanks to a unique collaboration between Target Corp, Minnesota IT Services, and the Minnesota Safety Council – Minnesota businesses have a digital tool that can make those screenings even more effective.

The MN Symptom Screener is a new web-based tool that allows businesses to enter non-personal health information to help make a determination about someone entering their facility. MN Symptom Screener uses a few simple questions and also provides the option to record a daily temperature check.

By aggregating and synthesizing this anonymous data, the MN Symptom Screener tool provides organizations with a daily snapshot of the health indicators of people about to enter the workplace. And, through this unique partnership, we are making the tool available at no cost to businesses and organizations statewide.

In addition, Target is making a number of no-touch infrared forehead thermometers available to Minnesota businesses at cost. While temperature checks are not required as part of health screenings, it is a highly recommend practice and we are especially grateful to the team at Target for stepping up to help other businesses in Minnesota protect the health and safety of their workers. Businesses that are interested in purchasing an infrared thermometer can get started here

A few important things to know about MN Symptom Screener:
  • Businesses and organizations need to register online to be able to use the tool. Designate a Gmail (Google Email) account for using the tool and get started at minnesotasafetycouncil.org.
  • MN Symptom Screener is not meant to be used by individuals to assess their own health.
  • The MN Symptom Screener focuses on protecting privacy. Each business or organization owns its own data, and they are not required to share it with the state of Minnesota or with anyone else.
  • All individual data is anonymous – the tool is not set up for anyone to be able to track an individual employee, visitor, or customer’s health data.
  • Use of the MN Symptom Screener and any corresponding temperature checks are voluntary, however, we know temperature and various symptoms are key pieces of health information we can use to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Commissioner Tarek Tomes and the team at Minnesota IT Services have worked tirelessly with our partners at Target and the Minnesota Safety Council to ensure this tool is a useful resource for businesses and organizations.
As we continue listening to businesses and making plans to safely return more Minnesotans to work, one thing that we’ve heard loud and clear is that these types of tools and resources are critical to protecting their workers.
We’re fortunate that here in Minnesota, our strong history of public-private partnerships continues to fuel innovation, slow the spread of COVID-19, and protect the health and safety of us all.

If you are a business or organization that is interested in using the MN Symptom Screener, please visit mnsymptomscreener.minnesotasafetycouncil.org .
To purchase an infrared thermometer, businesses can create an account and get started on Target’s page here .
Update on Unemployment Insurance
Answers to Common UI Questions & Resources
AV CHAMBER NOTE: The following is an update from MN DEED. At the end, it talks about which companies can return, how they return and most importantly, their workers can no longer qualify for Unemployment Insurance if they do open.

We understand that DEED partners are receiving questions related to Unemployment Insurance (UI) in this unprecedented time. That’s why we are providing this weekly email update with answers to common UI questions and links to helpful UI resources. However, it is important to remember that partners should not attempt to answer individual benefits eligibility questions for customers. 

1) Updates 
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance has started making payments to self-employed Minnesotans. 
  • Some Minnesota companies are safely returning to work under Executive Order 20-40. 

2) Addressing Questions on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance 
  • Remember if the client has already applied for regular unemployment benefits, they don’t need anything to qualify for PUA. DEED will automatically establish a PUA benefit account for them if they are eligible.  
  • If they have not applied for unemployment benefits yet there are special instructions for self-employed 1099 workers available to download here. These instructions will help self-employed workers make their accounts as easily identifiable as possible for PUA. 
  • Workers who have already applied without using these instructions do not need to re-apply. Accounts that have already been made are under review for PAU eligibility. 
  • There is no need to call for follow up. DEED will reach out proactively if more information is needed to determine potential eligibility. 
  • Those who have already applied will hear about their PUA benefits in their online account, by email and by mail.

3) Questions on returning to work under Executive Order 20-40 
  • Executive order 20-40 only applies to non-customer facing industrial and office-based businesses who cannot work from home.  
  • Businesses needing specific guidance on whether or not they qualify can go to the guidance page on the DEED website
  • Workers whose employer is re-opening under EO 20-40 may no longer qualify for unemployment. They must report to UI if they refuse to return to work for their employer 
  • If workers feel that their employer is not abiding by CDC and MDH guidance or providing a required COVID-19 Preparedness Plan they should contact OSHA.compliance@state.mn.us 
  • If a worker has an underlying health condition that places them at greater risk if they contract COVID-19 and their employer is refusing to provide reasonable accommodation, they should contact the Minnesota Department of Human Rights at 651-539-1133, 800-657-3704 or info.mdhr@state.mn.us or complete a consultation inquiry form
Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce | info@applevalleychamber.com