State of MN - COVID-19 Calls for Businesses (Recordings and Summaries)

DEED is holding morning calls to update the business community and professionals who directly work with the business community on the latest updates from the state, as well as answering questions submitted.

Calls are now being held on Thursdays from 11:00 AM – 11:45 AM.

Below are the recordings of past calls – if you have questions you’d like to submit for future calls, please use this form to submit your question.

9/17/2020 Recording of Call
Key Points Summary

DEED – Steve Grove
• 6 weeks paid out $300 extra per week – should be in bank accounts by later this week
• Asked for 7th week of benefits, but FEMA made clear money is out so likely at end of program.
• Today is jobs report day – unemployment rate at 7.4% (7.7% last month), up about 1.5% compared to jobs numbers in July – outpaced the nation in job growth.
• Down 7.3% jobs overall for the year. Retail trade doing a lot better here in the state compared to nation. Professional services, temp agencies, food manufacturing (up year over year) all doing better as well.
• National unemployment rate at 8.4%
• Good news on MN work ethic – labor force participation rate 70% before pandemic, 69.8% now. Top 3 labor force participation rate in the country. Nationwide average is 61.7%.

Department of Commerce – N/A

Department of Labor and Industry – Nicole Blissenbach
• Approaching 5,000 work comp claims COVID-19 related.
• Court case outcomes on COVID-related leave regulations.

Department of Revenue – Robert Doty
• Last distribution request was due 9/15/2020 – undistributed funds go back to state fund.
• 85% of government entities in the state did certify to receive funds.
• Cities must send unexpended funds back to home county by Nov. 15.
• Counties have until Dec. 1 to expend funds or they will go back to the state.
• Property taxes – $795k in property tax refunds – processed $754k so far which is about on track with normal.

• Tier 1 and Tier 2 workers – tiered system was to help identify industries qualified for free childcare. Different definitionQ/A from Dept of Education this spring compared to last fall – one list updated for essential worker childcare. Critical sectors was an entirely different endeavor – broader list (about 82% of businesses in the state are critical sector). Will take back feedback to try and clarify on website.

• Local CARES business grants go out in early October – deadline by when recipient needs to spend grant dollars? Will follow up and get additional info.

9/10/2020 Recording of Call
Key Points Summary

DEED – Steve Grove
• Outdoor businesses facing new challenges as we head into fall and winter. School starting becomes huge workforce issue with distance learning. New chapter with this pandemic. Analysis of how schools will impact the virus. Concerns about spikes and encouraged caution. Haven’t seen long sustained trend downward (hovering around 5% – would like to see down around 3%).
• Reopening efforts – restaurants facing issues with outdoor seating, large venues, etc.
• Weekly unemployment going down a little bit. Just finished processing first 5 weeks of money from FEMA for lost wage assistance. Discrete, time bound benefit – not ongoing. May extend 2 additional weeks for a total of 7 weeks.
• Small business relief grant – money in hands of non-profit partners. Will be distributed to businesses who were selected. A little over half of the money has been distributed right now.

Department of Commerce – Peter Brickwedde
• Number of COVID related consumer calls trended down over last couple weeks (only 2 last week).
• Licensure testing availability back in a good place now – most of the test centers in the metro area have capacity for testing. Greater MN a little more backlogged.

Department of Labor and Industry – Nicole Blissenbach
• Work comp 4,500 claims submitted that are COVID related.
• Focusing on bars and restaurants to make sure safety precautions have been put into place. 167 quick compliance checks – about half in compliance. 79 had some minor violations (31 of those were referred for follow up action). Customers play a large part in following protocols. Goal with the compliance checks is to keep businesses open and avoid other restrictions other states have had to implement.
• No Davis Bacon requirements attached to federal CARES money.

Department of Revenue – Robert Doty
• Sales tax – July numbers. Overall sales tax revenue is down about 6% comparing July 2020 with July 2019. Retail online sales up 90% year over year. Biggest impacts in hospitality/entertainments, and food/beverage.

Q/A
• Changes to capacity at restaurants with changing seasons? Looking at social distancing as it relates to capacity. Continue to discuss with industry leaders and working through. Other issue is consumer confidence.
• Are listings of restaurants checked available publicly? No – not public data under data practices act. More info will come out when compiled.
• CARES Act funding – clarify dates with reporting requirements. When does documentation need to be submitted – use of funds reporting?
• Do school districts need to publicly post preparedness plan? Yes – Executive Order page 6, item 22 – schools must electronically post and distribute plans no later than 1 week before 2020-2021 school year.

8/27/2020 Recording of Call
Key Points Summary

DEED – Steve Grove
• Small Business Grant updates – they are still working on confirming eligibility and disbursement of funds.
• Enforcement updates for control of spread – increased compliance checks.

Department of Commerce – Peter Brickwedde
• Consumer calls coordination – providers charging for testing, virtual screenings.

Department of Labor and Industry – Nicole Blissenbach
• Work comp detailed report to work comp advisory council and legislature in January 2021.
• Significant impact of denials on presumption claims
• Enforcement – worker safety and health. Numbers going up in certain industries. Don’t want to be in a position where dial needs to be turned back. Need to keep numbers down – OSHA working with dept of health and dept of public safety on increased enforcement efforts. Coordinated efforts – businesses over capacity, not practicing social distancing, not enforcing masking requirements for employees, signage for customers on masking requirements, etc. Large majority of businesses are complying, and need to address those who are not.

Department of Revenue – Cynthia Bauerly
• Extended grace periods to file taxes, which have expired now. Working with customers to get caught up. Eager to work with customers to set up payment plans, alternatives, etc. to be as accommodating as possible. Policy – abate interest and penalty if late payment is due to COVID.
• Local government distributions – passed filing deadline. Last distribution is Sept. 1. Nearly all funds have been distributed across the state. Report to MMB about where they are spending those funds.

Q/A
• Work from home executive order? If you can work from home you should be working from home. If you can’t work from home you can go to the office, but needs to be a thoughtful decision.
• Will state impose sales tax to recoup lost revenue? Facing shortfall in this biennium and shortfall of $4.7B in next biennium. Next year’s full session will need to address what tools are available to balance the state budget, including discussion around raising taxes, cutting spending, etc.
• Restaurants and hospitality – what happens when patios can’t be used anymore due to seasons? Can seating be provided with distancing indoors – at what capacity. Looking at mitigating adjustments. Increasing party size at restaurant could help.
• School districts decisions on learning models – impact on workforce. Why is the MDH case rate data lagging on updates? Checking with Dept of Education. Priority of MDH and MDE is to get data out asap, but so is accuracy. Case county numbers are only one factor being taken into consideration.
• MN Chamber – through Grow MN partnership there is a database of local COVID-19 programs available. www.mnchamber.com/blog/local-covid-19-resource-database
• Is DLI and MDH enforcement only for bars, or also for places of worship? Most concerning data coming currently from specific locations being restaurants and bars, which is where state is focusing now. That doesn’t mean the focus won’t shift if needed to other places if concerns increase.

8/20/2020 Recording of Call
Key Points Summary:

DEED – Steve Grove
• Actively engaging with non-profit partners on administration of small business relief program. On track for end of August getting bulk of money out.
• Evaluate lost wage assistance program – administered through FEMA fund.
• Online job fairs, employment assistance

Department of Commerce – Steve Kelly
• License renewals update
• Proposals by utilities

Department of Labor and Industry – Nicole Blissenbach
• Work comp updates 4,000 COVID-19 claims, 68% are from industries within presumption passed in legislature, of the claims not in presumption 73% are from meat processing industry, of the 4,000 claims 3,385 have insurers liability determination and 51% were denied. 31% of presumption claims were denied. 97% denied among non-presumption claims.
• OSHA Data (compliance): from March 1 through July 31, there have been 470 inspections, of those 147 were complaint based, 17 were fatalities (7 of which were COVID related), 8 follow up inspections, 17 serious injury inspections, 281 scheduled or targeted. 8,150 inquiries during that time period – over 3 times same period last year and of those, 929 have turned into complaints (of which 521 were related to COVID-19 and 62 onsite complaint inspections have been conducted). Avg about 110 calls per day over the time range – some days have been 250+.

Department of Revenue – Beth Johnson, Policy Advisor
• Additional disbursement to local government going out.

Q/A
• Question about uses of funds to local government and required documentation – Office of Management and Budget are compiling an FAQ document to help address this.

8/13/2020 Recording of Call
Key Points Summary

DEED – Steve Grove
• President Executive Order on unemployment insurance – increase what people can receive by $400/week. FEMA funding – discrete amount. Estimated to last approximately 6 weeks. State pays $100, FEMA $300. As long as earnings are eligible, will receive extra money – only for those who prove their job was lost as a result of COVID-19. More work on the eligibility process – no states have rolled out yet.
• Small business relief grant program in process now (still). 15-20% of funds out so far. Hoping to have them all out by August.
• FEMA disaster declaration requested for civil unrest – applied to businesses and homes. 41 requests for assistance so far. Need to apply by Oct. 2 for physical property damage, economic injury by May 3, 2021

Department of Commerce – Peter Brickewedde
• Working with colleagues on calls related to COVID testing.
• Financial institutions industry working on how to meet obligations to customers while still being safe – preparedness plans.
• Insurance industry – property and casualty claims reporting every other week. Will post aggregate information on website of summary level data collected so far.

Department of Labor and Industry – Nicole Blissenbach
• Senate news with commissioner being let go yesterday. Department continues to be committed to helping businesses and workers.
• Workers Comp as of Aug 7 – received 3,830 COVID 19 claims. 66% are from industries that fall under the presumption, 73% of all other that are not under presumption are from meat processing industry.
• 2020-2021 planning guide – there is an update to the tier 1 list. Schools required to provide care to Tier 1 worker’s children during the school day.
• Fee based care can also be offered to children not covered under Tier 1. Before and after school care for everyone can also be offered with fee for everyone.

Department of Revenue – Cynthia Bauerly
• A little less than $20M left to distribute. 2 more distribution dates after this Friday to receive.
• Continue to have questions about what funds can be used for. Updated FAQ document from August 10, 2020: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/Coronavirus-Relief-Fund-Frequently-Asked-Questions.pdf

Q/A
• How many business leaders are on the call? Around 700 now – had started around 200-300, lately around 100 on the call.
• Can a business legally prohibit an employees travel out of state – can legally require to self-isolate 14 days following travel out of state or out of country? Don’t believe there are any guidelines for people who have travelled. There are some businesses that have required that. Whether they can take actions to restrict off-work hour activities, check with legal counsel around policies, agreements, etc.
• Will DEED send out list of businesses awarded through Small Business relief grants? Yes, but still determining eligibility now, guided by policies to confirm recipient and get funding out before they can publicly share the information.
• Some counties keeping all funds for their own expenses and not disburse to businesses – is that an option? Yes, that is one way of utilizing the funds – there are no requirements that a county distribute to businesses.
• If parent stays home to do distance learning because of concerns about COVID, can they claim unemployment? Yes most likely. Details may differ based on specifics of applicant, but generally speaking yes. Looking at if FFCRA funding would apply.
• If a business has a 2 week slow down in work, can they apply for unemployment for the time cut for those two weeks? Yes – workers should take advantage of that program for their workers.

8/06/2020 Recording of Call
Key Points Summary

DEED – Kevin McKinnon
• Small business relief program – lottery winners have all been sent to non-profit partners, partners verifying info from applications. Once awards made the list of recipients will be provided.
• $2.5M to cultural malls – 12 around the state awarded max of $250,000. Entering into contracts.
• Mask mandate – numbers still ticking up – will be watching numbers in a couple weeks to see if the mask mandate is helping to bring it back down and keep in check. Masks sent out to Chambers have nearly all been distributed to businesses.
• Broadband improvements – work in partnerships
• DEED sent email to all who applied for first grant program asking for permission to share their name/business with their city/county. Went out yesterday.

Department of Education – Mary Cathyrn Ricker
• Have weekly call with educators similar to this call for businesses.
• Safe Learning Plan announced last week. Localized decision using up to date data we have, grounded in the science we know.
• All school systems had been asked to plan for 3 scenarios – in-person, hybrid, distance learning
• Safe learning conditions compared against work done this summer – social/physical distance, air systems, teaching hygiene practices, adhering to masking executive order
• School communities are now determining the safe learning model they will begin the school year in. Will likely change at different times throughout the year.
• Working individually with every school district on all aspects to make sure model started with is the healthiest for their school community. Prioritizing in person learning for certain ages and needs.
• List of essential industries being updated as it relates to school decisions and child care eligibility.

Department of Commerce – Peter Brickewedde
• Appraiser and appraisal license management
• Tracking federal spending negotiations

Department of Labor and Industry – Nicole Blissenbach
• Work comp claims – over 3,700 claims now
• Receiving additional calls since release of announcement related to schools. What are options if not in-person, what are options if hybrid and can’t be at home, etc.
• Who is covered under childcare to Tier 1 workers – access to care possible even if school not in session.
• Still mandate under current order that if an individual is able to work from home, they should be working from home.

Department of Revenue – Cynthia Bauerly
• Local government distributions – $817M of $841 distributed as of this week – 83 counties have come in. 2 or 3 more distribution dates coming up.
• Questions about grants to businesses if no EDA – local charter issue, or can have an agreement with another partner organization who does.

Q/A
• Can a city transfer any or all of their CARES money to schools? Other funding heading to schools from federal government for Coronavirus as well.
• Churches, private schools, public schools, daycares? Not aware of any restrictions.
• Eligible expenses for local government units – can they provide guidance on specific projects? MN Management and Budget is managing and working through all accountability with respect to federal funding. Amy Jorgenson providing the guidance.
• If city has EDA, do they need to use the EDA to distribute or can city council distribute? Believe it lies at the local level – depends on city and EDA structure. If local government has authority to make distribution through their council, they can.
• Is there a minimum required to go to businesses? No requirements for any set-asides – not part of the program.
• Home flexibility issues – when can an employer ask an employee to come into the office and not have it be a violation? A worker who can work from home must work from home under the current executive order. If responsibilities that can’t be fulfilled from home, then they may need to go to work to complete certain job opportunities. Department of Human Rights heading up work from home hotline/email address.
• Mandatory face coverings can be removed, if somebody is alone in a car (company car or other) can it be removed? Yes, if alone.
• Who to contact if charged for COVID testing? Contact insurance company – cost of test is no charge. Prohibition on cost sharing applies to diagnostic testing from doctor. Commerce Department can also be a resource.
• Where do I find the CARES act guidance on MMB website? Will include link on email with recording of the call.The accountability office website is here: https://mn.gov/mmb/covid-19-response-accountability-office/
• Family member only requires checking in to gym, but not working out. What are gym requirements? EO has an exception for when people are in a gym or fitness studio and are able to maintain 6’ of distance when level of exertion makes it difficult to wear a face covering. Must maintain 6’ of distancing

7/30/2020 Recording of Call
Key Points Summary: 

Department of Commerce – Steve Kelly

  • Licensure updates – notaries
  • Working with insurers on testing issues being reported – people being asked to pay for COVID-19 testing.
  • Looking at authorizing advancing projects to put people back to work.

 DEED – Anna Peterson

  • Small business relief grants – preliminary winners contacted this week. Documentation requested and eligibility being confirmed.
  • Last Friday data released for small business grants from spring.
  • Mask disbursement – over 4 million masks disbursed through chambers

Department of Labor and Industry – Nicole Blissenbach

  • Work comp claims – a little over 2,800 as of Monday. Largest portion in health care occupations.
  • A lot of questions into OSHA unit related to face covering requirement, primarily around exemptions and what constitutes a hazard created by wearing a face covering while working. Needs to be a hazard, not an inconvenience or the mask being generally uncomfortable.  e. welding – with welding shield and welding curtain – face mask may cause more of a hazard.
  • When can a face covering be temporarily removed? e. when an individual is alone.  Alone doesn’t mean socially distanced – it means they are the only one in an office, room, cubicle if walls over face level and socially distanced from other cubicle individuals, full enclosed room.  OSHA about 250 calls per day since face covering mandate was announced.

Department of Revenue – Cynthia Bauerly

  • Local government distributions – continuing to distribute
  • Notices for taxes that are still owed – can work out payment plan, with waiving penalty and interest if related to COVID

Q/A

  • Will DEED release guidance on CARES Act guidance for townships and cities? MMB – try to make sure any questions or confusion about eligible expenses are being addressed.  A lot of info on MMB website (link through Dept of Revenue site)
  • Question on eligible uses for CARES funding by businesses, specifically utility payments to government and taxes. Guidance change last week Minnesota Management and Budget opened up ability to use for revenue replacement – for businesses specifically still trying to understand specifics but will connect with MMB to offer FAQ related to eligible expenses businesses can claim under programs using CARES funding.
  • Are faceshields an acceptable replacement for face masks? No, unless specifically called out in the executive order.
  • Temperature screening/checking at entrances – guidance on best practices? Businesses are supposed to address in employee health screenings – at home vs. at work.
  • Increased cases because of large group gatherings – what should businesses do about employees voluntarily attending large group gatherings? State looking at any additional guidance?  Most effective containment to do health screenings and making employees leave workplace with any sign of symptoms.
  • If employee out due to COVID and get a negative test, is there a recommendation when they should return to work? Dept of Health has guidelines on when safe to return to work after exposure or after test.
  • Can you hold an outdoor dance with socially distancing? If private social gathering and strong encourage wearing masks.
  • How about 2 people riding in a golf cart with no plexiglass between them? Not if they are not in same family.
  • State mask distribution for schools? Not sure yet – announcement this afternoon on schools
  • What % of unemployed workers are receiving the extra $600? Will answer next week.
  • Can co-workers drive in a car together without a mask? No – not if in same family.
  • Food processing manufacturers and mask wearing – health threat or food safety threat – if 6 feet apart, is it possible to not wear a mask on a manufacturing floor? If job hazard created by wearing a mask for an individual, exemption to face covering requirement but needs to be a job hazard to individual or others.

7/23/2020 Recording of Call
Key Points Summary

State Call 7/23/2020

DEED – Steve Grove

  • Mask mandate goes in effect this Saturday. Clear signage needed on doors/entrances to businesses. Asking businesses to handle thoughtfully and carefully when faced with customers who do not wear masks. There are some exceptions that businesses should be aware of.  Mandate starts with the individual. Masking requirements for all businesses not just customer facing businesses. Common sense exceptions called out. New best practice is to have a mask in your pocket and use in any situation where you’re going to be within 6’ with someone. Lots of details at staysafe.mn.gov

 Department of Commerce – Steve Kelly

  • One of authorized exceptions in mask order is temporary removal of mask for purposes of identifying identity – banks and credit unions may ask incoming customers to stop and remove mask for purposes of camera related to banking security.
  • August 1 implementation of adoption of law enables financial institutions – banks and credit unions – to watch out for suspect transactions that involve seniors, vulnerable customers.

Department of Labor and Industry – Nicole Blissenbach

  • Businesses should be working to update preparedness plan to take into consideration face covering executive order, and setting expectations for employees while at work.
  • License exams have resumed in St. Paul office Tuesday – Thursday.

Department of Revenue – Cynthia Bauerly

  • Local government distributions – $600M of $840M has been distributed.
  • Local government does NOT need EDA to distribute to businesses/individuals.
  • $200M more will be sent out in next few days, so nearly all of the money will be distributed by beginning of August.
  • Information and Q&A on Dept of Revenue site

Q/A

  • Process for Chambers to distribute masks? Located chambers in each county to serve as focal point for distribution.  Have until noon today to confirm the amount of masks assigned weighted by number of employees in the county.  Chambers should collaborate with other organizations in county to distribute.
  • Will local chambers receive any funding to help with distribution? No – masks are free, but
  • Will there be a list of chambers who have received masks? Nothing private about it, but no secret as chambers begin to move.
  • How do masks apply to manufacturing environment since not a public space? Core principal is to mandate workers and customers, so masking environment required in customer facing and non-customer facing businesses.  If completely separated from other workers (office, cubicle, etc) then there are exceptions.  Common sense – keep mask in pocket and use whenever interaction may occur.
  • Are gyms/fitness centers exempt? Exceptions for strenuous activity, but keep clear social distance between people.
  • Does state mandate apply to private businesses – industrial primarily?
  • Does executive order for masks apply to outdoor farmers markets? Not for customers, customers encouraged to wear mask if within 6 feet though. Workers must wear a mask if socially distancing can’t be met.
  • Are face shields acceptable to be in place of face covering? In some cases – primarily physical exertion or heat makes it difficult to breathe.  Face shields should go below chin to completely cover face. Child care settings – shields okay.  Masks are better though.
  • Are there exemptions for state workers? Are postal workers exempt?  Not specifically.
  • Will 250 max capacity and 50% restrictions be lifted now that masks required? No not yet.  Slight policy change yesterday for outdoor events.
  • Chamber questions about masks – email directly to Anna Peterson.
  • Are shotgun start styles of golf tournaments allowed? People riding in cart without mask with someone from a different household?  Yes and yes, but masks strongly encouraged if in a cart with someone from a different household.
  • Can state create a graphic for chambers to help with distribution of masks? Maybe – would like chambers to have flexibility to do what they want.
  • Is there a contact at Dept of Revenue or Dept of Treasury that can answer questions not included in the FAQ? State is wrestling with as well, colleagues at MN office of Management and Budget is handling the question – FAQs online should have contact info.
  • Can money be directly distributed as grants themselves?
  • If money transferred to another organization (EDA) enough to satisfy deadline requirement? No – money actually has to be expended by actual recipient by law.
  • Masks shipping by Friday, will be received at Chamber by early next week.
  • Small Business Relief Grant program – can we get a list of the number of business applicants per city and how many per city will be granted? Law does not allow to disclose applicants – try to work with applicant to get permission to share info with county.  Will be awhile yet, in process of verifying lottery winners.
  • Will any assistance be provided to 501c6 organizations like Chambers be offered, particularly with all the work they are doing with businesses? Legislature makes a lot of the decisions that are implemented.  Not any talk about new programs?
  • Will recipients of earlier SBEL program from the state be made public any time soon? Yes, releasing as soon as possible – hopefully this week but maybe next.  1,021 businesses received loans, will be made public along with locations and map, also the number of loans each non-profit made and amount of non-profits received to get money out as quickly as they did.
  • What if employee can not wear a mask because of medical condition – can they be allowed to work? Can an accommodation be made for worker?  Can barrier be put up?  Can worker wear face shield instead?  Can worker be at a station where they would be 6’ away from people?  Need to look for ways to accommodate and make safe for worker.

7/16/2020 Recording of Call
Key Points Summary

DEED – Steve Grove

  • COVID Dial Back Dashboard on website
  • Appreciate diligence in messaging related to measures to keep our businesses open and people safe. Primarily around masks
  • Statewide mandate around masks under discussion and evaluation
  • July 25 expiration for $600 top off on unemployment insurance.
  • 75% on UI right now earning more than they did before. 25% of people don’t know this extra $600 is ending.
  • Find jobs most in demand, access to other services
  • Small business grant program. 29,000 applications for 6,000 total $10,000 grants.  Lottery happening later today in partnership with MN Lottery.  Over 20,000 applications for businesses with 6 or less employees.  $62M, move quickly on eligible applicants.  Once confirmed eligibility they will release
  • Employment numbers released for June, press release on website. Unemployment ticked down a little bit.

 Department of Commerce – Steve Kelly

  • News reports show large national banks have been dramatically increasing loan loss reserves. Set of issues state is watching closely. Working with state banks and credit unions to encourage flexibility with borrowers, but want to make sure loan losses don’t become too high.
  • A lot of change in testing environment. Working with MN Dept of Health on appropriate guidelines of payment by insurers for testing.
  • Continuing to issue temporary licenses because of challenges moving peope through traditional means of licensing.
  • Expect results in next day or two from initial data request on claims received and paid related to property and casualty damages from unrest in Twin Cities.
  • Recovery from COVID-19 side, Public Utilities Commission has been asked for ideas for projects anticipated over next several years that can be brought forward to stimulate economy. Energy side of commerce activities to work toward growth in economy.

Department of Labor and Industry – Nicole Blissenbach

  • As more people return to work, call volume into OSHA compliance ticking up slightly.
  • Same in Labor Standards unit and Work Comp numbers now above 2,000
  • Families First Coronavirus Response act – having some concern about info related to that getting out to employers
    • Many employers under impression paid sick leave provisions are voluntary – not true. It is mandatory for any employers under 500 people.
    • Exemption for certain aspects of law for employers under 50 employees – exemption very small, 6 reasons why employee would qualify for 80 hours paid sick leave. All of those reasons for qualifying, mandatory for ALL businesses.  Only exemption is if for care of child if school closed and causes undue hardship on business under 50 employees. More info on US DLI website.

Department of Revenue – Cynthia Rowley

  • CARES money out to local governments. Next certification deadline is July 20. So far, just under $600M to 64 counties and 196 cities and towns. With next certification, another 17 counties, 245 cities, and 63 towns that have made requests.

Q/A

  • When will state release awards for $10,000 CARES Act grant? If received, can local program also be used?  No exact date yet – need to determine eligibility of lottery selections first.   Nothing in program prevents business from getting local money.
  • State business subsidy law does not apply to CARE money within DEED statutes.
  • State business relief grants exclude home based businesses – is there specific language in CARES Act prohibiting home based businesses? Don’t believe anything in broader CARES Act language prohibiting, but State program doesn’t allow.  Ramsey County does have some dollars available for home-based businesses.
  • State Cares Act program excludes SBEL recipients, can local programs include? Not CARES Act provision, just part of the state program.
  • Can hospitality center, hotel, convention center host convention of any time with appropriate social distancing with current provisions? Most guidelines prohibit.  Max 250 people, multiple rooms of 250 people in same center.  Stagger enter and exit times, individual rooms.
  • Do projects with CARES Act funds have to follow prevailing wage requirements? Dependent on project itself, how money is provided, and whether or not it would be subject to Federal Davis Bacon Act. No general answer.
  • How long are mortgage foreclosure provisions in place? Not adopted by all financial institutions, many have put off foreclosures to end of year.
  • Sounds like local CARES Act funding can be flexible. Can same COVID related losses be used from state program and local program?  Any business applying for more than one grant should talk to DEED team but also locality providing separate grant.  Program is meant to cover a whole host of losses, but not knowing how every locality is rolling out program.
  • Mentioned before that counties had 10% set aside for direct relief – is this a requirement? Was part of legislation but not part of the final request.
  • Any updates on how K-12 schools will look in the fall? Not to share on this call.  Anticipate further guidance coming soon on schools.

7/9/2020 Recording of Call
Key Points Summary

DEED – Kevin McKinnon

  • Re-opening closely monitoring other states and spikes across the country are concerning, but extremely grateful for the approach in MN so far that hasn’t led to those spikes for now.
  • In communication with a variety of industry groups and the issues the businesses are facing re: demand and capacity
  • Grateful for messaging businesses have done all across the state related to the importance of masking.
  • Numerous media reports on state/cities mandating masks being considered
  • Small business emergency grant program opened and closed – over 29,000 applications from across the state. Will be cleaning up the list and conducting a lottery within the next week or so, then working with non-profits to administer those who were selected.
  • Releasing names of businesses awarded SBEL funds sometime this month. Had approx. 1,020 loans.
  • Special session expected to be scheduled next Monday to address variety of issues on the table, and finishing up work from last session.
  • Monitoring closely the unemployment insurance cliff – July 25 additional $600 will end from federal CARES Act, so state is preparing for.

 Department of Commerce – Peter Brickwedde

  • Need insurance professionals to begin work, will be going live with changes to accessing licenses tomorrow.
  • June 30 annual real estate renewal window closed on time. Successful renewal period – tracked closely May/June compared to previous 3 years and right in line with previous renewals.

Department of Labor and Industry – Nicole Blissenbach

  • Work Comp – DLI has received 2,018 COVID related work comp claims as of June 26. First line workers accounted for 1,567 of those claims.  Workers in healthcare occupations 1,335.
  • Labor Standards – concerns from US Dept of Labor, many employers aren’t aware of obligations for employees around the federal legislation. Lots of complaints from employees being denied.
  • Construction Codes and Licensing – exams ongoing, seeing great cooperation on social distancing and hygiene codes put in place
  • OSHA – March 1 to June 29: OSHA inspectors have conducted 347 inspections, of those 104 were direct result of complaints, 12 fatality inspections (6 of which were COVID related), received 5,623 inquiries (3 times more than last year) and of those, 707 complaints have come out – about a 50% increase from that time last year, and 383 were COVID related.

 Q/A

  • What type of guidance is being shared with businesses allowing an asymptomatic employee coming back to work? If employee tests positive they are subject to a quarantine order.  If somebody is exposed but not showing symptoms (no test) then recommendations are on dept of health website – may be slightly different depending on critical vs non-critical sector.  Timelines are in the CDC guidelines and linked on the Dept of Health website
  • Restaurant/bar workers not wearing masks – they ARE required to be wearing masks, strongly recommended for customers. Consideration on stronger mask requirements at the state level.
  • Small business grants – will grant money be taxable? Any business who has that question should consult a tax professional/accountant.
  • Can applicant information be shared with communities – both funded and not funded? MN Statue agencies aren’t allowed to disclose applicants for grant programs.  Required to disclose those who have successfully been awarded, but prohibited from actually sharing applicants.  Will ask applicants if they can share their information with others.  Lottery will happen next week, but will take awhile to actually confirm eligibility and awards.
  • When business grant awards are announced, can they include business name and location city and county? Yes – will look much like SBEL, will include same information.  Will also have maps that accompany.  For this grant program there will be over 6,000 businesses who will received $10,000 grants – will all be public at some point.
  • Will DEED release information on additional required documents businesses will need to submit? If selected the business will be notified and the non-profit who is managing the business transaction.  That’s when documentation will be requested
  • Restaurant reservations required – are walk-ins welcome but not guaranteed? Don’t want a bunch of people waiting in an entry area to walk in.  Really related to contact tracing – if employee tests positive later, with the reservations they have a contact list they can reach out to re: possible exposure.  Guidance documents require reservations at this time.
  • Received EIDL advance – now being asked to complete EIDL application: thought it was a grant. It is, but part of bigger loan – grant doesn’t have to be repaid but does have to be part of loan.  Reach out directly to SBA and/or lender.
  • Accommodations being considered for buses? Guidance issued by department of education – unsure of answer.
  • Executive Order says if worker can work from home, they must work from home. Looking at potential changes to that for businesses that can open safely and are looking to loosen restrictions but don’t have specific date on when that will happen.

6/25/2020 – Recording of Call
Key Point Summary:

DEED – Steve Grove
• Launch of small business relief grant program Tuesday – applications live. Program with $10k grants. Apply on DEED website – lottery system. Application portal closes July 2. https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/press-releases/?id=437202
• Partnership – free college courses/classes with Coursera online for anybody in MN. https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/press-releases/?id=1045-436488
• Continue to monitor virus as open plans continue. Be extra careful when out and about – wear masks, social distance, follow the guidelines so Minnesota doesn’t see the spikes like other states have seen.
• No timing yet on Phase 4 of turning the dial.
Department of Commerce – Steve Kelley
• Electric disconnects
• Looking at investing in Renewable Energy to create jobs

Department of Labor and Industry – Nicole Blissenbach
• Construction codes and licensing division have a license exam schedule on website – resuming June 29.
• Preparedness plans for critical sector businesses need to be in place by June 29. Information on https://staysafe.mn.gov/ website including specific and general industry guidance. FAQs on DLI website (click on COVID-19 link on banner).

Department of Revenue – Cynthia Bauerly
• Distribution of local funds announcement coming later today.
• Can it be provided as grants to local businesses? Yes – it is allowable.
• Taxes – individual filing deadline in July coincides with property refund timing and expect significant call volumes in July – call sooner than later if you have questions.
• Will waive penalty and interest for business late tax filing if related to disruption in business from COVID or unrest in Minneapolis.

Q/A
• Businesses who received earlier assistance is not eligible for the new DEED program
• How to recruit workers back to workforce? Virtual hiring events
• What businesses require large plexiglass partitions? Where 6’ separation can’t be maintained between workers and customers. Same as face coverings.
• With Employer UI line being down, how can employers with specific questions get answers? Most of information needed around UI is on website. Team can’t provide legal advice.
• Will the state provide any guidance for us to use the funds in our community and what happens if we don’t have business in our community to disperse money to? Federal guidance is starting and ultimately ending point. Dept of Treasury has website up with lots of FAQs. A lot of allowable uses: direct assistance to businesses and individuals, local public health cost, etc. – long list and guidance from Treasury on that. No plan to narrow the specific allowable type costs. 10% set aside from counties for direct distribution – if businesses not there to use, can be dispersed to residents.
• If new state business relief grant awarded, are they not eligible for local grant assistance? Much like Small business emergency loan – all business will be publicly announced. When using CARES funding from government you can’t pay for same expenses twice, so will need to be careful about all expenses being applied for so as not to use the money in an appropriate manner. Anticipate somewhere around 80,000 applications and most they can do is 6,000 grants.
• COVID testing – if employee exposed and they need to quarantine for 2 weeks, can employer require employee to take a COVID test? ADA and MN Human Rights Act – while typically would be limited/prohibited, because of pandemic situation employers can require it. Any test required by employer must be paid for by employer. Any testing requirement must be applied in a non-discriminatory manner.
• Broadband grant applications from DEED will be released shortly after July 1.

6/18/2020 – Recording of Call
Key Points Summary:

DEED – Steve Grove
• Released new templates for critical sector businesses to create a safety/COVID-19 preparedness plan. Every business required to have one to share with workers and customers. https://staysafe.mn.gov/ 
• Need consumers and MN workers to be safely working – call to action among businesses to emphasize safety message right now. Build consumer confidence by ensuring locations they are entering have safety plan and conditions are safe. Don’t want flare ups/hot spots like we are seeing in other states
• $62.5M in federal CARES act going into grant program. Will be run in unique way built on lottery system: $31.25M will be available to Greater MN through initiative foundations and $31.25M available in metro area through 11 non-profits through emerging entrepreneur lending program. Variety of criteria will be out today on website. Hope to open application process next week. By law it can only be open for 10 days. $18M with businesses less than 6 employees, $10M for underserved, $2.5M for veteran owned, $2.5M for women owned.

Department of Commerce – Steve Kelley
• Cold weather rules
• Licensures – beginning to move back to more regular unextended license deadlines. June 30 renewal deadline for real estate licenses still TBD, but at this time they haven’t heard from too many people so they intend to try and keep regular schedule.
• Initial licenses continue to work with Pearson on their capacity. Realize there is a backlog and are continuing to work through it.
• Rebuilding areas affected by civil unrest and working with insurers re: the number of insurance claims arising from events and trying to determine what additional resources are needed to get those businesses back in operation.

Department of Labor and Industry – Nicole Blissenbach
• Work comp claims – over 1,600 now coded as COVID-19.
• Preparedness plans – templates are there to outline required elements in any plan. Does not have to be exactly like template plan, but needs to include approximately 7 items that apply to any business.
• Industry specific guidance found under each of the tiles on the https://staysafe.mn.gov/ website. If it doesn’t exist for your industry, use the general guidance.
• Developing FAQs and plan to have out and available in the near future.
• Plans don’t need to be submitted for review, but they do need to be supplied to workers and posted at work site.
• OSHA available for questions.

Q/A
• Are 501c6 (chambers) eligible to apply for new business grant program? As of now, non-profits are not named in the law and the ones that were affected by various executive orders – will have more info this afternoon but does not appear non-profits will be eligible.
• Grant sizes available – up to $10k, with $60M that’s about 6,000. Not allowed to duplicate so they will be working closely with Hennepin and Ramsey Counties.
• Funds need to be used by Dec. 30 – quick turn around. Darielle Dannon – bill is still making its way through legislature that will allocate funds given to the state to communities. Dept of Revenue has been negotiating hard.
• Under phase 3 are wedding venues currently allowed at 25% or 50% of maximum capacity of 250? Answer is 25% basic indoor entertainment venue
• Can city request to see a business preparedness plan? Depends on why they are asking. Some cities have departments that may enforce certain city ordinances.
• Are masks a requirement for all restaurant employees? It is a requirement, not just a recommendation for all restaurant workers, not just servers. Highly encourage customers to wear masks as well. Some municipalities have additional requirements that need to be followed as well.
• What are penalties if there are issues with preparedness plan? Enforcement can be done via couple entities: law enforcement, MN OSHA, licensing entities. Routine inspections or inspections in response to complaint, one of the first things they will do is ask for a copy of the plan and see if the plan is being implemented. Typically issues will be addressed working with OSHA. May be some licensing entities that can do some enforcement.
• Businesses can’t get two grants using the same source of money. Will this apply if cities use local CARES money for business assistance? (36 minutes in) – yes if different eligible purpose. Trying to spread money out among as many businesses as possible. Federal CARES act can’t be double dipped for same expenses. State program clear what can be paid for. Counties and cities guidance may look different than what state was allowed to provide grants for.
• Asymptomatic tests for employees in greater MN were denied tests – question asker needs to follow up directly.
• Under phase 3 can golf courses have 2 golfers in the same golf cart from different households? Want to check the golf guidance. Gathering has increased to 25. Sense is that you can’t since social distancing still applies, but will talk to sports team and circle back.
• What is guidance for indoor adult sporting leagues. Can multiple leagues occur at the same time as long as 25% and social distancing guidelines are upheld? Yes.
• Unemployment around ability to come back to work but not comfortable doing so? It really depends on circumstances.
• Fraudulent UI claims being made under employees names – what is being implemented to reduce these claims. Voicemail full and unable to report fraudulent claim. Work through smart measures – if individual or business are seeing the cases, use online portal to report.
• Will DEED be releasing the companies that received small business emergency loans? Yes – program is still reallocating money from lenders who have them back. Approx. $29.3M that is out now. Names of approximately 1,000 businesses will be released – hopefully relatively soon.

6/11/2020 – Recording of Call
Key Point Summary:

DEED – Steve Grove
• Reopenings that took place yesterday
• Inspiring to see how businesses are creatively opening to account for COVID guidelines
• New website launched – www.staysafe.mn.gov
• Want to get economy running again, in a safe way to prevent spread of COVID-19 and keep consumers and workers safe
• Good feedback so far from businesses across the state
• Big themes – criminal justice reform and COVID recovery

Department of Commerce – Steve Kelley
• Working on issues of recovery, part of which includes some of the economic effects that might develop after expiration of peacetime emergency
– Housing stability – would like to make sure mortgage foreclosures and/or renter convictions
– Continue to work with electric utilities to not shut off
• Who will pay for testing as people return to work, increased frequency of testing may be used and who will pay for that – employer cost or covered by health insurers
• Civil unrest – many businesses affected by that are concerned about insurance coverage. Tips for submitting insurance claims

Department of Labor and Industry – Nicole Blissenbach
• Develop more guidance documents, particularly for critical sector businesses
– Will be available on staysafe.mn.gov website on Monday
– If specific guidance for your industry, you can use.
– If not, there is general guidance available that can be used to prepare plan
– 2 versions of Preparedness Plan template: One general for any business and One specific to restaurants and bars
– Look closely at guidance documents – some are requirements, and some are suggestions

Department of Revenue – Cynthia Bauerly
• Distribution of federal CARES Act funding ongoing discussion
– Special session and ongoing discussions with legislature to distribute
– Use funds for expenditures through end of 2020
– PPE, overtime public health work, direct economic assistance for businesses and individuals – local grant programs eligible. Guidance says can’t be used to fund existing program prior to March 1, but CAN be used to fund new program
– Guidance evolves, available on treasury website.
– Hoping to move out in next week or so. Dept of Revenue will administer by receiving certification from local government agencies that there are requirements that need to be met.
Q/A
• EO strongly encourages use of masks, but hasn’t required it. Some cities have own guidelines. Liability with customers who refuse to wear a mask. Can service be refused if customer refuses to wear a mask? Policies can be adopted to require customers who enter wear mask – it is happening and can happen.
• Clarification on use of face shields – salons. Can masks and eye protection be used instead? There is guidance for salons and spas on stay safe website. Also good info on board of cosmetology site. Who is advocate to change guidance?
• Businesses who offer services across business sectors (restaurants who also have space for large events), which sector guidance should they use? Look at guidance for each industry to incorporate safety in preparedness plan for each. One plan acceptable, but needs to address different things that could come up in different industries
• Does DEED intend to issue a public entity specific guidance? OSHA with public health is working on document geared toward public sector and also one for transportation
• Did the latest EO state that all businesses including those deemed as essential need to have preparedness by June 30? Yes that is correct
• What are criteria that need to be met for future phases to occur? Need a couple weeks of phase 3 to see what happens.
• What money is still left in assistance programs? SBA federal program has money in PPP still ~ $100B, Small Business Emercency Loan Program tapped out – it is gone but in active negotiations to get allocation of new money for small businesses from CARES money that they hope to attack starting Monday with special legislation, so hopefully that will be coming soon.
• Is there something in one location to track CARES Money – treasury department tracks money for CARES money to local governments. Believe there will be separate sites for state and federal.

6/4/2020 – Recording of Call
Key Points Summary:

DEED – Steve Grove
• DEED staff has been busy focusing on the response to the civil unrest and damage to businesses from rioting and looting
• COVID-19 updates – another turn of the dial was on Monday with lessening restrictions on restaurants and service businesses.
–  Pent up demand for service businesses – booked solid and hopefully recouping some of lost revenue
• Phase 3 timing info will be shared within the next few days

Department of Commerce – Steve Kelley
• Results of the unrest – people concerned about insurance coverage. In general, violent acts are covered by insurance and business owners in those areas and with those damages should reach out to their insurance providers.
–  Any issues with submitting claims, please let Dept of Commerce know so they can help address.
• Issues of security of pop-up financial services that may show up in the area because of loss of branches and ATM machines.
• COVID-19, ongoing questions about paying for testing in the long run and how to pay for antibody testing and under what circumstances.

Department of Revenue – Cynthia Bauerly
• Focus turned from blanket grace periods to working directly with individual customers on tax obligations. Trying to make sure nobody is paying any interest/penalties because of COVID-19.
• Questions about Coronavirus relief fund – Hennepin and Ramsey received direct allocations based on their size. Working with legislature to determine formula to distribute remaining funds.
– For COVID response, not general obligation expenses.
– PPE, Economic response (grants to businesses), Direct economic assistance for individuals (rent help, etc.).
– Treasury putting out set of guidelines.
– Close with legislature to agreeing on how to distribute
– Funds can also be used in combination – city and county can combine
• Other funds allocated to state also being talked about in legislature for how to move out
– Significant needs for testing and tracing
– Public Health infrastructure
– Program for businesses

Department of Labor and Industry – Nicole Blissenbach
• Continuing on with work in all divisions
• Most issues raised to OSHA have been fairly easily resolved.
• Workers compensation – over 1,000 claims classified as COVID claims
• Received a number of additional questions about ability of employers to ask employees to sign liability waivers preventing employee from having right to file claims – PROHIBITED to disallow filing, or hold employer harmless for injury or illness contracted at work.
o Businesses asking customers to sign similar waivers – but employees and signing waivers related to employment rights are not enforceable under MN law and in fact, not even legal to ask for that.

Q/A
• DEED incentives typically been focused on non-retail and non-service jobs – any changes being considered to help? No discussion around opening up MIF or Job Creation for funding to those sectors, may be other ways to address.
• Rules around outdoor seating – can tents be used in contiguous street or parking lot with local jurisdiction approval for seating? Unsure of answer – suspect if tent includes social distancing requirements and capacity requirements, then it seems that could be something a city could do.
• Are requirements for emergency fencing still required for serving liquor on patios? With fencing and enclosed area, that’s how you control how many people in restaurant so yes, should be closed in.
• Weddings/funeral event centers – following state guidelines max capacity for event center portion and catering portion of their business? As recalled, those groups not in initial phase 2 opening, but believe they will be addressed in next phase opening – will double check.
• Pressure on businesses in border communities – what discussions around retaining MN Businesses in these communities to keep them competitive? Number of different groups talking about these issues
• Will places of amusement be sorted into different categories based on ability to offer hands free experience and social distancing? All based on control level of environment of which you are in, so easier to manage occupancy and risks within museum/theater/etc. vs. bowling alley/indoor playground/trampoline park, etc. so there may be separate guidance on those. Believe they will be included in the Phase 3 plan.
• Guidance on food service workers and returning to work – can contract workers in food and hospitality have temperature screening? Health screening for employees is preparedness plan requirement, so it should be included as part of plan and daily operations for employees.
• Website to track federal dollars being spent at local government level? Working on a site, not sure it would be at local level.
• Preparedness plan template for in-home businesses (cleaning crews, in home daycares, etc)? Plan on website is generic plan with guidance docs to help inform plan for certain industry. Existing plan does include certain things that just need to be addressed and can apply to in-home businesses as well.
• When will Unemployment Insurance lines be opened back up to employers with questions? Applicants have been priority to make sure they get paid – will check and see and get back to group.
• Hotels don’t qualify for state/federal assistance, but limited to 25% occupancy rates and still have full expenses. Never shut down in orders, but have been extremely hard hit because of other businesses being shut down. SBA loans requirement is that you’ve been affected by COVID-19 which if you can show that revenues have been impacted you should qualify for those loans.
• Are rules related to employers and unemployment insurance tied to peacetime emergency if it lapses in June? Not looking to charge employers for putting employees on furlough or having to let them go due to COVID-19, so employers shouldn’t have to worry about that.
• What does going to school have to do with Unemployment Insurance collection? State statute on why school aged kids can’t collect – legislatures are having active discussion to look at this topic. A lot of rules that made sense in another time, but don’t really make sense any more – hopefully many will be addressed in the coming session.

5/28/2020 – Recording of Call
Key Points Summary:

DEED – Steve Grove

  • June 1 – guidance docs and FAQs at
  • Plans are not being vetted directly but are required to be created, posted, shared to encourage consumer and worker confidence
  • Difficult decisions being made to manage the load of new cases and hospitalizations
  • Clarity around what lies ahead in next phases – what about timing? Not able to release yet – working very closely across government re: when those announcements will be made and depends a lot on the fluidity of the virus itself

Department of Labor and Industry – Nicole Blissenbach

Department of Revenue – Robert Doty

  • Continue to work on plan to distribute federal funds from local CARES ACT to be distributed to local agencies.
    • Free tax prepare sites across state were closed down – have reopened virtually. For people who need free tax assistance, encouraged to look at info and link on Dept of Revenue website

Department of Commerce – Steve Kelley

  • Continuing efforts to make sure licensees get licenses renewed. Extension to June 30.
  • Continue to work with utilities to make sure they aren’t disconnecting people.
  • Beginning work on antibody or surveillance testing as people begin to go back to work, and challenges of how that will be paid for.

Q/A

  • Senate file 44-81 – bills to support small businesses. Senate version and House version never became identical – each passed their respective floors.  Continuing discussions and hope to have agreed upon version of bill that is part of special session on June 12 to get resources out to small businesses ASAP
  • Senate file 44-82 – spending COVID relief funds. Passed senate and was sent to house, but didn’t pass house.  Session ended without any agreement.
  • What is MN tax status of PPP funds that have been forgiven – is it taxable income from MN perspective? Would NOT be considered taxable income in Minnesota.
  • Fitness centers and gyms:
    • when can they open?
    • what about personal fitness (1:1 training, small classes, less than 10 people)?
    • outdoor fitness classes with small groups?
    • Clear that owners and gym operators are being very thoughtful in how they could reopen. Issue is the heavy breathing and how the virus spreads, making it more complex. That’s why gyms are in future phase at this time. Looking at ways big and small that gyms can do to sanitize as needed.
    • As it relates to outdoor activities – 10 or less. Currently gyms need to be closed under current guidance.  Outdoor piece geared toward youth sports in small numbers.
    • Do understand the urgency and realize there is a difference between big gyms and small gyms. Working through it and at this time still not allowed to open on June 1.
  • For businesses not yet allowed to be open, can they still host private groups of 10 or less? If businesses are already doing so, is there a fine?  Not allowed and same course of reporting and
  • Has MNDOT come to a decision on whether or not the ROW can be used for restaurants to expand outdoor? Guidance is coming very soon – safety is critical, but there will be flexibility.  Updates later today or tomorrow from MNDOT.
  • Blog post for FAQ for restaurants with outdoor dining, i.e. can customers dining outside come inside to use bathroom – up later today.
  • Can cities seek reimbursement from federal government CARES Act for small business forgivable loans? – will answer next Thursday.
  • Can DEED provide assistance to small businesses for PPE? Hard to procure – difficulty well known.  Given the challenges in getting supplies, state is not in a position yet to offer PPE to small businesses.
  • CARES Act funds – can funding available to rural cities be used for programs being set up now, or only to reimburse for money already spent on existing programs? Still a lot to determine on how it will be deployed, and lots of rules and requirements on how it can be spent?
  • For breweries who don’t serve food – can they open and serve customers outdoors? Yes – follow same guidelines as restaurants.
  • Are garage sales allowed this summer? Will there be a recommendation for that?  Classify as gathering and use guidance for small group gathering – social distancing and sizes to remain at 10 and under.  Use caution.
  • Can firework celebrations for July 4th be held with no public gathering places allowed. At this time 4th of July gatherings not allowed, but could potentially change by July 4.
  • What guidance is available in reopening for event venues? Gathering for events like weddings, etc. still limited to 10 or less.  Generally answer is not allowed to be open.
  • Pools? Not yet opened – in future phase.  Department of Health putting together guidelines specific to pools, but not available yet.
  • SBA data available at city/county level for EIDL approvals? Not sure – will re-check with SBA.

 

5/21/2020 – Recording of Call
Key Points Summary:

DEED – Steve Grove
• New phases releases to open businesses yesterday along with plan for looking ahead
• Another click of dial goes into effect June 1
MN.gov/covid19 under stay safe there is a grid
• June 1: outdoor seating for restaurants, capacity must be 50 people max and 6 feet between tables, 6 people max from a family at a table and 4 people max at a table otherwise, workers must wear mask and customers very strongly encouraged to wear masks.
• June 1: Personal service industries opening, masks required for workers and customers, 25% capacity
• June 1: campgrounds can open with restrictions, charter boats can operate
Next 2 phases shown on grid on website
• Next phase: gathering up to 20, 50% capacity indoors at restaurants, 50% capacity personal service businesses, places of worship, pools, more.

Department of Commerce – Steve Kelley
• Continuing to work with health insurers on coverage of COVID-19. Waiving cost sharing will continue.
• Surveillance and antibody testing continue to be an issue with how it will be paid for.
• Licenses – Pearson VUE has begun to open testing facilities with distancing and reduced capacity.
• Utility worker priority for testing to make sure electric and other utilities can continue to operate to meet demand

Department of Labor and Industry – Nicole Blissenbach
• OSHA workplace safety consultants – updates for guidance on website.
• Employers asking employees to sign work comp waivers – reported and MN work comp law does prevent employers from doing this, so not allowed and not a legally binding document.

Q/A
• Liquor licenses – change to allow for rapid stand up of outdoor dining? Looking into and will have more info next week
• Will MetCouncil be instructed to not charge for temporary SAC charges for outdoor seating? Not being instructed to do so at this time.
• Why restaurants outdoors with 50 people but not churches? Restaurants can be more predictable, churches have never been shut down it’s just the gathering limits that have been restrictive. Conversations around places of worship brought a lot of discussion due to the fact that weddings, funerals, and more event type gatherings that factor in.
• Garage doors in restaurants – can those restaurants open the garage door and seat people inside? No – truly patio space to pass test of being outdoors.
• Any additional funding DEED is working on? Legislative session debate around expanding loan and grant programs for small businesses – none were passed. Discussing further. State money is so minimal compared to what the federal government can do. Options somewhat limited to federal dollars.
• Sanitation supplies in shortage but needed for reopening – how to get the necessary supplies? Movement toward making more available. Supply chain intercepted by federal government and redirected to other states with no plan for doing so. State doesn’t have supplies to get to all businesses – can only focus on healthcare industry.
• How will government deal with businesses that go against order and just open up? Goal is to make the case so businesses can understand why guidelines are in place and so they make the right choice not to go against the order. There is enforcement – would prefer not to have to go that route.
• What can employers do with unsubstantiated report of unsafe workplace? Inspecting the claims is part of process so if not substantiated then the complaint is dismissed.
• Will there be an extension to allow MIF funds to be used (currently set to expire at the end of June)? Will be discussed.
• How long do SBA programs run, like PPP and EIDL? PPP had restrictions on time eligible for forgiveness (June 30?). Expect EIDL to continue beyond that.
• 25% capacity is based on fire capacity, not typical volume of service.
• Any trigger with confirmed COVID-19 cases to close a business? Not specifically. Department of Health would work directly with business to work through.
• Webinar later today – info on DEED website

5/14/2020 – Recording of Call
Key Points Summary:

DEED – Steve Grove
• 4 different executive orders signed yesterday
EO 20-56 – read in full; has details about specific industries
• Includes reopening of retail and malls at 50% capacity, with safety plans
• Reminder – it does not go into effect until Monday
• Social gatherings – small gatherings of 10 people or less will be allowed
• Worker and Business shift – plan for restaurants etc to reopen by June 1 with plan required by next Wednesday
• Retail and malls at 50% occupancy or less. Preparedness plan also required
• Don’t have to submit plan for review – just have one and post it so all workers and customers know what it is.
• Household services opening
• Remote and dispersed camping allowed. Public and private developed camp grounds remain closed.

Department of Commerce – Steve Kelley
• Licensing – closure of Pearson Vue testing centers looking at reopening at 50% capacity. Resources will continue to be strained for some time
• Health insurers deal through May 31 with no copays for covid-19 testing
• Energy – Great River Energy will shut down coal plant in 2022 and investing in new renewable energy primarily from Minnesota.

Department of Labor and Industry – Nicole Blissenbach
• EO 20-54 – Worker protection
• More direction on how current statutes apply
• No discrimination or retaliation against employees with concerns about safety
• Face coverings and gloves can not be prohibited in work place
• Right of workers to request inspection from OSHA
• Unemployment law – adverse work conditions causing person to quit makes them eligible for unemployment insurance
• Accommodation request must be satisfied as it relates to covid-19

Department of Revenue – Robert Doty
• Working hard on plan for distribution of federal funds $667M to counties, cities, and towns

Q/A
• Office settings anyone who can work from home should work from home
• Any workplace posters for best practices? No posters but have lots of resources and checklists to help.
• Customer who thinks caught covid-19 at business? Person needs to test positive – MDH contact tracers. From insurance perspective businesses should look at their liability policy to make sure best practices and recommendations are incorporated into policies and make sure businesses are covered to prevent trouble later on.
• Retailers who were already open are not subject to 50% capacity restrictions
• Public government buildings are able to open but up to each entity with their plan.

Key Points Summary:

DEED – Steve Grove
• Retail curbside and pickup started this week – need plan that addresses safety issues

Department of Commerce – Steve Kelley
• Star Tribune article on public utility commission – working closely to understand challenges
• Antibody testing – how to approach what COVID-19 testing is covered

Department of Labor and Industry – Nicole Blissenbach
• Re: preparedness plan, businesses want to get this right and taking it seriously
• Working on translating the preparedness plan hope to have done by end of this week
• Tracking work comp claims as they come in. This week over 300 codes as COVID-19 claims

Department of Revenue – Joann
• Still watching federal updates to make sure state updates are made/match

Q/A
• New Real estate licenses available? Delaying renewals for existing licenses and need to check on new licenses
• How is SBA keeping big corporations from getting all the money? SBA PPP and Healthcare Enhancement Acts for small business lenders specifically
• Why are C6 not included in PPP? Not included in legislation.
• Can employer increase wages for employees to match increase with stimulus bonus without penalty for PPP? Yes – can’t have lower wages or reduced employee count but can have higher wages.
• Why are bed and breakfast not included in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance? Need to meet eligibility criteria, should qualify. Still doing on boarding to determine eligibility so possible companies are in system but not approved yet.
• Can self employed get PPP and PUA? Yes but need to report I come for PUA and PPP may make you ineligible for PUA.
• In a county with no confirmed cases, summer resort workers are arriving soon – how should they be brought in? Testing if ramps up, be mindful of guidance to stay home and not go to hotels and resorts. Health screening can help.
• Reopening of tourism/recreation related businesses? Outdoor settings are better to prevent spreading. Expect more guidance on tourism, youth sports, summer camps, etc soon.
• How does DEED decide which businesses to reach out to?
• Where should businesses send opening plan to get approved? Not vetting or reviewing safety plans. Currently at about 92% of businesses that can be operating are operating.
• Can DEED streamline the underwriting process for the loan guarantee program? Not through DEED – through the lender.
• Can DEED promote/market the plans in place to spread word and increase consumer confidence so they will shop again? Yes they are talking about it as are others. Don’t want conflicting messages during stay at home order but are working on those messages
• Status of the bill with additional funding for DEED emergency loan fund? Shared understanding this is a shared need and everyone trying to get this done before the end of session (session end date May 18)

4/30/2020 – Recording of Call
Key Points Summary:

Calls moving forward will only be on Thursday morning 7:30am for 45 minutes.

DEED – Kevin McKinnon
• Small business emergency loan fund ($30m). To date 660 loans through cross section of lenders across the state. $20M has been dispersed through today. Lenders still working through applications they have received – most have far more applications than funding they will be able to provide. Bills going through legislature to try to add more money to that program
• Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program – $600/week payment time applicants who are self employed. about 40k people have been made eligible.
• Unemployment Insurance – over 580,000 new claims over last two months. Steadily dropping in April. Largest sectors: food prep and services (100k claims), sales service and admin support also big categories
• In discussions across the state on safe reopening.

Department of Labor and Industry – Nicole Blissenbach
• Work comp – approximately 200 codes as COVID 19 claims at beginning of this week
• OSHA received 1,000 calls – mainly employees with concerns but some from businesses with questions and looking for assistance on a safety plan.

Department of Revenue – Robert Doty
• Still spending a lot of time looking at tax impacts of federal stimulus tax provisions.

Government Relations Director – Darielle Dannen
Legislative updates
• broadband and telemedicine bills moving forward.
• Small business assistance bills at ways and means

Q/A
• If additional funding is approved will more businesses be eligible? Most likely yes.
• Federal level actions to help with setting up local loan funds? Open dialogue on different programs or issues overlooked in previous bills. Work with IEDC and National Governor’s Association and others – no definite answer but looking at it.
• May 15 property tax deadline delayed? No.
• Liability insurance doesn’t cover customers contracting COVID-19 – is anything being done to help businesses with this risk? Unable to answer – talk with attorney to get more definite answers. More protocols a business puts in place to mitigate spread the better off a business will be.
• Regarding dials – will there be one dial for entire state or regional? One dial – executive orders at Governor level. A lot of factors to consider on turning the dial.
• Schools validating ability to give food – can number of business closures by city be provided? DEED data tends to be delayed by a quarter. Happy to help with anybody looking for data to help make a case.
• Unemployment Questions from last week addressed.
• Can employee sent home without pay for not complying with COVID-19 plan? Depends on a number of things and evaluated on a case by case basis.

4/27/2020 – Recording of Call
Key Points Summary:

DEED – Steve Grove
• Dial turn to open over time dependent on multiple factors releases last Thursday
• MN.gov/deed/safework

Department of Commerce – Steve Kelley
• Continued monitoring is the best course of action – banks and credit unions
• Electric utilities – significant drop of energy use working at home.
• Insurance temporary licenses began Friday. Looking to extend other license renewal deadlines

Department of Labor and Industry – Nicole Blissenbach
• OSHA was available over the weekend to help with COVID-19 preparedness plan
• Draft template- suggestions received to address customer facing aspects of a business: they are considering and will continue to work on. Plan as is was primarily for non customer facing re-entry. There are some customer facing guidelines provided for grocery stores that they can look at building on.

Department of Revenue – Robert Doty
• Continue efforts on tax relief
• COVID-19 page – guidance on electronic signatures

MN IT Services – Tarek Tomes
• Workgroup focused on social distancing measures
• Survey on social distancing – looking for trends crossing multiple areas.
• Releasing digital tool to help keep employees/Minnesotans safe.

SBA – Brian McDonald
• PPP additional funding and application acceptance resumes today. So far over MN ranked third on PPP Loans per Capita. All approved lenders should process previous requests
• New FAQs – calculate maximum loan amount, others
• PPP lenders on website.
• Daily trainings being offered. Spanish version offered on Tuesday
• SBA is hiring

Q/A
• PPP lenders submit applications as of today, not previous applications (clarify?)
• Is PPP award info available at county level? No not yet.
• Does a list of businesses who were completely shut down exist? No
• Difficulty serving minority owned businesses – particularly those who don’t work with banks; are there resources? Organizations focused on those needs continue to work on those needs.
• Is contactless pickup from retail store ok? Furniture stores open by appointment only for sales of certain items. Executive Order 20-40 applies ONLY to non customer facing businesses.

Calls moving to 7:30 am beginning Thursday 4/30/2020

4/23/2020 – Recording of Call
Key Points Summary:

DEED – Steve Grove
• Making good progress on federal pandemic unemployment insurance – only for people who have their primary source of income from being self employed.
• 3,972 responses on suggestions received to reopen in a thoughtful way

Department of Commerce – Steve Kelley
• Temporary licenses particularly in insurance field – approach available as early as tomorrow
• Plan for rapidly expanding testing – cost implications on health insurance and identity ways to better manage those costs.

Department of Labor and Industry – Nicole Blissenbach
• Best practices with OSHA
• OSHA website – optional plan, guidance for meat packing plants, fact sheet for equipment, more

Department of Revenue – Robert Doty
• Federal legislation cares act – tax provisions
• Families First – tax provisions
• FAQs on website and IRS info

Q/A
• Department of Labor and Industry draft guide – what is law and what is recommendation? Based on CDC and MDH guidelines and those guidelines are what should be included in a plan for a business. Document overall not required
• 82% number of MN workers still working in critical sector jobs (clarification that it is people working and not businesses open or other indicators)
• S Corp not eligible for PUA (unemployment insurance)? Employees are and should apply.
• If PPP award doesn’t cover full payroll then how does unemployment work? PPP should cover full 8 weeks. Will check
• Anything for 501c6 (ie chambers) assistance? Many voices talking to congress about this right now
• Any additional funding from DEED? Legislature is currently hearing bills re: ~20M more.
• Documented workers who are not citizens are eligible for Unemployment Insurance
• What should be the guide for employers trying to have employee come back who don’t want to come back? Can the person be fired? Depends on specific circumstances. Employer should mark in the system and raise an issue.
• Does state know how many people there are in MN who may have had COVID-19 who haven’t been able to get tested? No. Increased testing announcement made yesterday.

4/20/2020 – Recording of Call
Key Points Summary:

DEED – Steve Grove
• Executive Order 20-38 announced Friday for safe outdoor recreation activity – engage with family at parks and trails, golf courses, water, etc.
• Developing templates for business safety plans and will be posted for public input this morning through Department of Labor and Industry
• Unemployment Insurance – no real new updates

Department of Commerce – Steve Kelley
• Winter mix of gasoline not being used as expected because of less driving

Department of Labor and Industry – Nicole Blissenbach
• Covid 19 DRAFT business preparedness plan is already on their website with link to provide feedback:

https://www.dli.mn.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/COVID_19_business_plan_template.pdf

• OSHA is working hard with the Minnesota Department of Health on increasing numbers of positive cases in certain workplaces

Q/A
• Plan is more of best practices of business to operate – it is a resource, not a mandate
• Families First – there are 6 reasons an employer must pay out the 80 hours and the enforcement of law is US Department of Labor – doesn’t require a positive COVID-19 test
• (~18 minutes in) more about going back to work and unemployment insurance – working on building a more dynamic FAQ that should help. The “worried well” employees are still expected to work for open businesses. Employers can raise issue when they call employees back to work and the employees refuse – process on Unemployment Insurance website to report that.
• Will business premiums be affected by applying for Unemployment Insurance? No it should not be a concern
• Lenders directed to continue taking loans for state emergency small business loans even though there are already more loans than money available – lenders will be provided more detail later this week.
• List of lenders on state loan guarantee program does get updated

4/16/2020 – Recording of Call
Key Points Summary:

DEED
• Instituted 13 week extension to unemployment insurance
• PPP: MN 3rd highest state loan dollars per capita, ~70 – 75% has been spent from the program nationwide
• What and when reopening looks like: lots of business outreach for input, 82% of state currently is still working. Looking at how to re-open from three standpoints: (1) Industrial and office, (2) customer facing, (3) broader customer based

Department of Commerce – Steve Kelley
• telemedicine legislation update
• Seeking Input on availability of notary assistance: Notary services still being made available at banks and credit unions

Department of Labor and Industry – Nicole Blissenbach
• OSHA busy responding to questions about how to make places of employment safer for employees and customers. Guidance on website.
• Large number of calls from employees about being required to use PTO: (~14 minutes into recording) if federal leave is applicable, then that is the guidance that needs to be followed first.

Department of Revenue – Robert Doty
• website updates with FAQs, tax deadlines, etc.

Q/A
• Local lenders only taking applications from current bank customers?  Federal government guidance says banks can prefer existing customers to try and get money out as quickly as possible. Looking at ways for others to reach. Congress talking about adding more money to PPP. Talk about temporarily closing EIDL prior to potentially increasing funding.
• EIDL loans may not arrive before businesses run out of funds: are there any bridge funds? Not really.
• Unemployment Insurance: phone line for employers tough to get through. Employer line not currently available – lots of information for employers online. Over a half million people have applied and they get about 6,000 calls per day.
• Any talk about a statewide allowance for delayed property tax payments? Not at this time – it’s a county level decision.
• (~25 minutes in) When it’s time to bring people back – can an employees refuse to come back because of extra $600/ week? Unemployment Insurance is available If separated from work as no fault of your own – if you can go back to work then you need to go back to work. Can’t choose to stay on unemployment insurance just because you want to.
• In the plan to reeopen the state, are they looking at the metro different from rest of state? Customer facing vs non customer facing is more how they are looking at it. It’s more about actual work environments. (1) Businesses create a plan based on CDC guidelines for how business will operate re: employees and customers, and (2) health screenings at work to make help make sure people are healthy. A big piece is testing: need to be able to test to get the insight needed for identifying more about the virus spread.

4/13/2020 – Recording of Call
Key Points Summary:

DEED
• MN.gov/deed/critical for the recent updates to the essential business list
• Link to submit ideas for transitioning back to opening up – over 250 ideas have been submitted. Keep submitting.
• Unemployment Insurance – pandemic unemployment insurance (self employed contractors, etc): wage rate calculations and processes still being worked on
• Anticipate this week they will have twice as many people apply this month for unemployment as in all of 2019

Department of Labor and Industry – Nicole Blissenbach
• OSHA compliance department for guidance

Department of Revenue – Robert Doty
• updated information on tax type relief on website

Department of Commerce – Steve Kelley
• testing centers have been closed: Working with their technology provider on how to offer temporary licenses remotely
• Working with the banks they regulate to make sure the Paycheck Protection Program moving forward safely and correctly

Q/A
• Federal bill status: Pandemic unemployment insurance: (1) working on infrastructure, (2) working through and waiting on guidance from federal government on how to calculate wage benefits. Never done on this broad of scale before.
• Department of Revenue: allowing electronic signatures on state filings? Being considered and not officially finalized yet
• Nicole: clarify answer from last week on reasonable accommodations – if yes they qualify under Department of Health guidelines then they should make that accommodation and continue to work; if not, options to employee are: (1) could use paid leave, (2) could be lay-off to access unemployment through discussion with employers. Looking into how to help those who live with someone else who had underlying conditions.
• Large industrial facilities not taking appropriate measures – employees can contact OSHA and make complaints. Safe workplace practices to minimize exposure. Name of employee will not be told to employer. Help for industries who are working – OSHA happy to help employers develop plans and procedures. Industry specific guidance for various industry types.
• Will any additional funds be allocated to DEED Small Business Emergency Loan fund? Being discussed.
• Loan fund waiting list presentation to legislature? Overall numbers yes, individual business info no. Numbers in waiting list being transparent since beginning anyway.
• City level or zip code data for who is applying for unemployment? Not more granular than county level. County level data can be found here. 

4/8/2020 – Recording of Call
Key Points Summary:

DEED
• EO 20-33 extended to May 4
• Slide deck available – very data driven decision
• Business impacts – paragraph 10 begin planning how to begin allowing some non critical sector businesses back to work.
• Asking for feedback on best practices for social distancing within businesses.
• MN processed over 200,000 of the $600 federal payments – one of first states to send out to people
• Cleared issues with PTO and vacation pay to issue additional 45,000 payments.

SBA – Brian McDonald
• 500,000 small businesses
• Recognize there are some glitches but working through
• Sba.gov/ppp
• Offering two trainings per day
• Looking to improve outreach to underserved populations
• PPP lenders list on website
• 8 weeks starts from first dispersement
• Minneapolis.mn@sba.gov

Department of Labor and Industry – Nicole Blissenbach
• worker’s compensation legislation passed Tuesday
• FAQ for legislation on website
• Paid leave under families first – qualifying reason for paid sick leave? Posted Monday, broad interpretation, executive orders that have people stay home do apply. If unable to work because of stay at home order they are eligible for paid sick leave (17-18 minutes into recording)

Department of Revenue – Robert Doty
• no updates this week

Department of Commerce – Steve Kelley
• Tuesday front line worker protection workers comp
• Make sure utility services continue to customer and not turn off services.

Q/A
• SBA time to process loans and time to receive funds? Depends on program. Some of EIDL advances (up to $10k) began to be sent out on Tuesday. PPP have been accepted and begin on April 3.
• SBA – EIDL up to $10,000 per employee
• SBA Express bridge loan available
• DLI – essential businesses with employees who are higher risk or underlying healthy condition – accommodations : staggered shifts, work from home, if not then employee could qualify for unemployment. MN Dept of Human Rights
• Small retailers should be able to do curbside pickup like large employers – DEED working through. Submit ideas like that on the form that will be circulated after this
• EIDL loan advance – roughly $1,000 per employee listed on application up to 10,000 employees.
• Cost of worker’s compensation on businesses who aren’t essential businesses? State appropriate funds from existing COVID fund, looking at regulations for CARES Act money to see if that can help cover it.

Look at ways to move forward without losing progress we’ve made so far.

Next week calls Monday and Thursday

4/6/2020 – Recording of Call
Key Points Summary:

DEED
• unemployment insurance: state is shifting resources to information line for those who need to call. Opening up phone lines. Call M-Th 8-2 if questions about your account, call Friday if questions about how to apply
• Visit FDA.gov

Department of Labor and Industry
• no updates

Department of Revenue
• Still working hard to provide guidance on payment filing and due dates coming up

Department of Commerce
• Remind people to watch for scams

Q/A:
• federal legislation – state still waiting on details from federal government
• Business assistance – yes federal dollars can be used to pay back state dollars
• Can employers apply for both eidl and PPP? Yes they should apply for both
• No group UI application assistance: UI very specific to each person and they need to apply directly themself
• Frustrated with slowness of federal relief to MN: state on calls every day and working to move everything along. Think extra $600/week could come later this week. Others will take a bit longer. Money will be back dated to when unemployment started.
• If business didn’t make a profit in 2019 can they still get state/SBA loans? State – they should be eligible. SBA – unsure
• Community Transmission cases – how many in people operating in essential business? State not sure it has been tracked for people who aren’t healthcare workers. Dept of Health
• Can local chambers 501c6 apply for PPP? Unsure – nonprofit 501c3 and 501c9 can but doesn’t mention anything about 501c6
• Many employees asking to be laid off – will laying people off affect business ability to qualify for loans?

4/3/2020 – Recording of Call
Key Points Summary:

DEED
40 banks now approved for small business loan guarantee programs ($30M available)

Unemployment – more people on program now than we’ve ever had at one time before.

Department of Commerce
• Agreement of heath plans to cover covid 19 testing and treatment costs.
• Fewer requests for exemptions as clarifications come out

Department of Industry and Labor
• child labor laws for school age kids: with distance learning do need to adhere to time of day work laws. School day definition does apply.

Department of Revenue
• looking at all tax types with due dates between April 1 and June 30 to see where can provide more relief
• Where statutory authority exists or where legislative approval is needed

Governor’s office
• no comments

Q/A
• small business loan and small business guarantee state does encourage applicants to also apply for federal assistance
• Deed loans – state will begin to publish where those are awarded. SBA needs clearance from federal govt to do that. Help to show local level leaders where there may or may not be gaps.
• Clarify how small business defined for state. Small business Emergency loan program ($30m): state money through local lenders no definition on size cap because of loan size.
• Federal stimulus – state still waiting on guidance for everything in federal bill
• EIDL advances just became available. If submitted last week business needs to apply again for advance but will keep same place in the queue
• PDF of Business guide will be created.
• Breakdown by city?
• Local portal or site for available jobs right now beside Minnesotaworks.net? State looking for new ways to get info out. More we can highlight local opportunity for local employers the better
• Reassignment or reduced hours should check out shared work program
• Local money wouldn’t pay back state loans but federal money can/should

4/1/2020 – Recording of Call
Key Points Summary:

Posted guide for small businesses on deed website for all programs

SBA
Pay check protection plan:
• still developing regulations that will govern program – not really live for a couple more days
• No way to access yet and coming very soon
• SBA loan to keep workforce employed
• Not direct loan from SBA
• Will be forgiven if all employees kept on payroll for 8 weeks, and/or used for interest, mortgages, rent, utilities
• Payment deferred 6 months and no fees
• Applications open this Friday to June 30
• Small business less than 500 employees are eligible
• Over 500 might be eligible – check size standards on SBA website
• Apply through regulated SBA lenders – if participating in program. April 3 open
EIDL is available today. Changed application a couple days ago to more easily process the applications.
• New portal sba.gov/disaster
• $10,000 advance grant possible with application.

Department of Labor
Non Essential businesses – if businesses reported, local law enforcement informed to give reminder to business to not continue operating during stay at home

Department of Revenue
Looking at ways for more relief to taxpayers

Governors office
No updates

Q/A:
• SBA has list of all sba lenders on their website sba.gov/mn
• Money from state doesn’t preclude from accessing federal money
• With lay-off can employers bring back laid off employees with SBA Paycheck program? Checking on answer
• How quickly are DEED loans being processed? High volumes – lenders working as quickly as they can
• Shared work program – auto response emails being received – DEED is going through all applications and emails are being answered.

3/30/2020 – Recording of Call
Key Points Summary:

DEED
• Updates and clarifications to critical sectors list
• FAQs added to website

CARE Act
Additional resources small businesses
1. Pandemic unemployment assistance – people who aren’t eligible
2. Reimburse employers
3. Top up additional $600/week to traditional unemployment. Did during the recession as well.
4. Extended unemployment – 13 week extension

Small business loan guarantee – lenders extend credit.
• 250 or less employees.
• Go to lenders enrolled in program not to DEED.
• Enrolling lenders now

Department of Commerce
License extensions
• Regulatory guidance regarding industries and extensions for licenses

Department of Labor and Industry
• list of FAQ for LI on website

Department of Revenue
• important to go to website for info on tax types related to federal and state taxes
• A lot of tax types and a lot of questions that have been asked. Info on website

Governor’s Office
Criticalsectors@state.mn.us with questions on clarification or questions about essential.

Q/A:
How will DEED promote businesses who are hiring

How are lenders enrolled in program?
• Fill out application that deed reviews
• Enrollment form should be posted today

Self employed who paid into system can access unemployment. Those who haven’t will be able to potentially access the pandemic unemployment assistance

Interaction between all different programs still being figured out.

Talk to local law enforcement if concerned about non essential business operating against executive order.

3/27/2020 – Recording of Call
Key Points Summary:

Exemptions: Modifications made on NAICS code list – dated
* if company doesn’t meet NAICS criteria, that doesn’t mean no. It means check the other two sources besides the NAICS codes for guidance

House and senate passed $330m package yesterday includes:
• $10m for Small business loan guarantee (look for more info)
• Direction for revolving loan funds in cities
Monday the Small Business Emergency fund will hopefully available

Stressed the message that even with businesses in critical sectors, all critical sector workers who can work from home should work from home.

Dual training grant program was open Monday $2M -adv mfrg, healthcare, agriculture and information technology, apply through May 8

https://www.dli.mn.gov/business/workforce/dual-training-grants

Package approved yesterday included aid to foreign tribal nations

Secretary of State resource for virtual notarization – check it out

Small businesses open less than a year – no restrictions on time open for small business emergency loan

3/26/2020 – Recording (not available)
Key Points Summary:

Exemptions to executive order issued yesterday – go to the website for details on critical sectors. Check:
1. CISA
2. Governor executive order
3. Naics code list
If in critical sector and can’t work from home then they can leave home to work. Anybody who can work from home should work from home. Exemption request form available but make sure to check 3 places above first.

Careerforce centers will be all digital starting 8am Friday. Will still have people available to help but centers not open for public interaction.

Property tax deadline set by state statute – county would need to issue any kind of extension on property tax payments

No requirement to have a letter from state if clearly meet critical industries

Businesses should choose non profit lender option on small business grant application.

Construction in general is being added as critical sector – wasn’t specifically called out originally.

3/25/2020 – Recording of Call
Key Points Summary:

Federal stimulus package
Better picture of who is hiring

Department of Commerce
Emergency actions- opportunity to waive, stay or delay regulatory deadlines to licenses

Department of Labor
Expanded FMLA leave and two weeks pay guidance on website now (federal guidance)
Building codes March 31 all new codes go into effect. Date is not changing.
Contractors claiming cities shut down and not doing inspections. Still need to maintain services for code enforcement.
Inspectors essential service? Municipal inspectors still need to be available.
Webpage for municipal inspectors.

Unemployment Insurance – some applied before and some applied after the executive orders.

State emergency operation center
Hsem.pp.state.mn.us

Families first – FMLA under 500 employees, employers under 50 employees can be given exemption of hardship through Department of Labor.

3/24/2020 – Recording of Call
Key Points Summary:

Small business emergency loan program:
Will run program through the Emerging Entrepreneurs Loan Fund
23 lenders named – list on COVID-19 site for employers and businesses
0% interest, payments deferred 6 months, 50% Forgiven possibility
Can’t qualify through bank for credit extension
Need to also apply for EIDL
Not available yet – prepping lenders ready in a coupe days/end of week
$30M – each lender starts with certain amount
1-2 weeks turnaround (?)
Independent contractors eligible? Any business impacted by executive orders is eligible i.e. hair stylist renting space in salon and yes they would be eligible.

MIF revolving loan funds
120 cities across state
Local process entirely up to local jurisdiction

EIDL – SBA
3-4 weeks from submittal to notification
First come first served
Apply for amount to offset loss – loan officer determine term length
No application fee
1-800-659-2955? Check phone #
Rocket Mortgage partnership
Direct loan from SBA not just SBA backed like traditionally done

Shelter in place if ordered:
Essential businesses
Not ordered yet and state has not yet asked for this information from businesses and don’t currently have a formal process to submit requests yet.
Follow guidance from federal government and other states that have already made the call.
If order was given would business eligibility for small business loans be extended to more businesses? State would need additional authority to do that.

Encouraging lodging companies to shut down? Issues people are having with cancelling reservations – need to look into more.

3/23/2020 – Recording of Call
Key Points Summary:

Small business loans – apply sooner than later. Could take 3 weeks to hear if approved or not. Receive up to $25k shortly after approval

Video notarizing and witnessing – consider how to address

$820M SBA regularly. How do they staff the increase with a billion + available

Property tax options – deferring would need to be state and county decision

How do people access free health care? Schools. Public institutions – work through school district.

Hopefully today filing deadline extension announcement from state today

Can businesses take out multiple loans? Can you apply more than once? Need to check

Can employers screen employees for fever when they come to work. Think answer is generally yes but working on more guidance

SBA webinars all full – working with SBA to open more or share on deed website

COVID-19 DEED page best resource for contacts/info.

3/20/2020 – Recording of Call
Key Points Summary:

Working on SBA disaster loan fund – federal

Contractors and UI system – employers needed to have been paying in to access it.

Businesses preemptively asking for exemptions to shelter in place
• lists of critical industries

DEED loan officers and staff still working – contact them with state grant questions

Commerce Department COVID-19 website