Just this morning I thought we were in for a fairly quiet day. Well, that was fast. This afternoon, things are a little different – again. Those of you who know me well, will recognize the phrase I like to use: “I want to make a plan, and execute that plan.” Diddling around drives me batty. Knowing that our Governor was a Command Sergeant Major (CSM) in the Reserves is incredibly reassuring. For you civilian folks, CSM is an extraordinary rank – kind of like a General. Very few of us ever get there. So when he makes a plan, he executes it. Quite impressive!
Today’s Stay at Home order, and how he communicated it, is no exception. We’ve got the links below, both to the video and the FAQs for your reference. The Governor asks us to sacrifice. He recognizes that, indeed, such an order IS a sacrifice, particularly for those who are no longer working and for the small businesses I talk to every day who are considering furloughs – or worse. The upside is that Minnesota’s work in preparation is second to none. Our industries, a diversified powerhouse that helped us survive the Great Recession ahead of the national curve, today is retooling and sharing resources to support the Governor’s ask to gear ourselves up for the pandemic spread still ahead. Again, it’s impressive.
My eyes are on the small business, the nonprofits, who are more vulnerable to economic interruption. Even there, local and state and federal government are providing resources to serve. The US Senate should vote today on the $2 trillion coronavirus bill. Minnesota’s legislators have been working to reach a deal on COVID-19 relief, the list of which can be found here. Thursday’s session will only be one day long, to approve the aid. Cities and counties are exploring which levers they can activate in support of businesses and residents alike.
That said, challenges are real. Employers still are battling issues with insurance coverage, eligibility for unemployment insurance, need for assistance that doesn’t require more debt. So when the Governor talks about “sacrifice,” I know we ALL are feeling it.
Our first responsibility is to our employees and families. Second, we all will have financial repercussions from this. Certainly, Chamber membership is a discretionary expense to most of our members. Revenue from virtually all sources is at risk. So we, too, are considering our own operations and aligning our skills with the challenges we are facing. We are adjusting the goals we set for the year, because new and more important goals are in front of us. We intend to demonstrate our value to the community and members as we continue to build connections that count. Please know that if you can’t find your way through the influx of information available, you can reach out to our Rapid Response Team for individualized guidance. We are here for you. The East Team’s Rapid Response Team, and all our partners, are accessible via Ramsey County’s COVID-19 contact list and inquiries page. COVID-19 update As of this morning, 287 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. Of those, 35 cases required hospitalization and 122 already are on the mend such that they no longer need to be isolated. In total 11,475 tested, 1 death. The counties represented now represent a significant section of the state, the highest count being in Hennepin County at 111 and Ramsey County at 27. The rest of the East Metro: Dakota County at 21, and Washington County at 13. Updates from the City of Saint Paul: Mayor Carter is working to finalize the Saint Paul Bridge Fund, for City Council to approve. Mayor Carter will join me for a webinar on Friday morning to share more details. You can register to join us here.
Ongoing issues are food insecurity during SPPS Spring break and beyond, as well as serving the unsheltered across Ramsey County.
According to DEED, approximately 78% of jobs in Minnesota are in industries that are classified as critical. If you have questions about your industry classification, see the list at www.mn.gov/deed/critical and email email@example.com with further questions.
The State Emergency Operations Center is working with a statewide group of healthcare experts to coordinate setting up alternate care sites to supplement hospitals. They're working on "sites, stuff, and staff"
Resources: Please visit our COVID-19 web page for information and critical resources and our Events page for the listing of webinars happening all across the community. We are posting all that we know, to make it available to you.
Be well! B Kyle President/CEO Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce