It’s been a busy week. In fact, the weeks are flying by. Can you believe we are looking at July just around the corner? The latest “turn off the dial” started on Wednesday, with the allowance of outdoor youth sports scrimmages and games. Still no word on Phase 4 timing…
And grant opportunities continue. As of Tuesday evening, more than 6,000 small businesses already had applied for DEED’s Small Business Emergency Grant (SBEG) program. DEED anticipates awarding approximately 6200 $10K grants. Deadline to apply is Thursday, July 2.
Finally, a reminder about the ongoing need for safety measures regarding COVID-19. We do know how to slow the spread of the virus, though it doesn’t always seem that way – and compliance is, in a word, inconvenient. That said, the New York Times shares a consistent set of lessons, from around the world, about how to reduce the number of new cases sharply.
Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan announced a plan yesterday to distribute $853 million in relief to communities across the state impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the total package, $841 million will be distributed to Minnesota counties, cities, and towns to support local government coronavirus relief efforts. $12 million will be allocated toward food shelves and food banks to help combat hunger across Minnesota. The funding was authorized under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Commerce: licensing renewals have moved back to regular deadlines.
DLI: over 1,800 workers comp claims so far. Licensing exam schedules are now on DLI website, and will resume June 29.
Revenue: individual tax filing deadline was extended to July 15. Know that this will be during property tax time frame, so expect significant call volumes/delays in July. If you have questions, get them to us as soon as possible, preferably in June still, to avoid delays.
DEED has announced that the Minnesota Small Business Relief Grants Program – which was approved by the Minnesota Legislature last weekend and signed by Governor Tim Walz on Tuesday – began accepting applications on Tuesday, June 24.This program will use a lottery system to provide $10,000 grants to small businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees (and Minnesota-based majority owner), impacted by COVID-19, are eligible. Half of the funding will go to businesses in Greater Minnesota and half to businesses in the seven-county Twin Cities metro area, as required by law. Additional requirements include:
$18 million for businesses with six or fewer full-time employees
$10 million for minority business enterprises
$2.5 million for veteran-owned businesses
$2.5 million for women-owned businesses
$2.5 million for operators of indoor retail and food markets with an ethnic cultural emphasis
Federal funding: Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Minnesota's Unemployment Insurance (UI) program has received more than 800,000 applications for unemployment. The impact of this global pandemic is staggering and has impacted every community in our state. Earlier this month, DEED made the formal request to transition to federal funding for unemployment benefits. We expect that the fund balance in our state's UI Trust Fund will go negative in July, and we acted proactively to ensure benefits will continue without delay. We expect that all 50 states will have to do so in order to handle the unprecedented rise in unemployment claims across the country.
The extra $600/week ends in July.
High school students and unemployment. DEED continues to work with legislators to support legislation to temporarily expand the program to high school students.
Unemployment and fraud. We've seen an increase in bad actors who have stolen personal identities from other sources and tried to use them to fraudulently apply for unemployment benefits. If you, or anyone you know, suspects fraud in the unemployment insurance program, we encourage you to report it immediately here: Report Unemployment Insurance Fraud.
Minnesota’s largest Top Workplaces become work-from-home placesFrom the Star Tribune, June 24: Large companies rush to equip employees remotely, then relied on culture to keep them engaged. For all that changed as work-from-home took hold, employees still got their work done, leaders of several large Top Workplaces said. They attributed that success to workplace cultures — developed long before the pandemic — that promote employee engagement. Some leaders can’t wait to get everyone back in the office. For others, positive results from this work-at-home experience have them considering it as part of a more flexible workplace policy in the future.
‘Coming back and biting us’: US sees virus resurgence From the St. Paul Pioneer Press, June 24, (AP): A coronavirus resurgence is wiping out two months of progress in the U.S. and sending infections to dire new levels across the South and West, with hospital administrators and health experts warning Wednesday that politicians and a tired-of-being-cooped-up public are letting a disaster unfold. The U.S. recorded a one-day total of 34,700 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, the highest level since late April, when the number peaked at 36,400, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University. While newly confirmed infections have been declining steadily in early hot spots such as New York and New Jersey, several other states set single-day records this week, including Arizona, California, Mississippi, Nevada, Texas and Oklahoma. Some of them also broke hospitalization records, as did North Carolina and South Carolina. The virus has been blamed for over 120,000 U.S. deaths — the highest toll in the world — and more than 2.3 million confirmed infections nationwide. On Wednesday, the widely cited University of Washington computer model of the outbreak projected nearly 180,000 deaths by Oct. 1.
Virus cases surge among the young, endangering older adults From the St. Paul Pioneer Press, June 24: Coronavirus cases are climbing rapidly among young adults in a number of states where bars, stores and restaurants have reopened — a disturbing generational shift that not only puts them in greater peril than many realize but poses an even bigger danger to older people who cross their paths.
COVID-19 hospitalizations up slightly in Minnesota From the Star Tribune, June 24: Hospitalizations for COVID-19 have risen in Minnesota so far this week, offering a reminder that the pandemic remains a threat despite gradual declines in daily cases and deaths over the past month. The Minnesota Department of Health on Wednesday reported that 340 people were hospitalized for COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus, and that 160 needed intensive care. That is up from the 322 hospitalized cases reported on Sunday, but well below the state’s May 28 peak of 606.
COVID-19 update as of 6/25/2020 Confirmed cases in Minnesota: 33,763 Confirmed cases in U.S. (as of 6/25): almost 2.4M Confirmed cases globally (as of 6/25): almost 9.5M Cases requiring hospitalization: 3,897 (representing 11.5% of total) #s currently hospitalized: 340 (up from 332 on 6/22) #s no longer needing to be isolated: 29,707 #s tested: 529,643 Total deaths in Minnesota: 1,397 (1,102/78.9% cases in long term care or assisted living facilities) Total deaths in U.S. (updated 6/25): over 122K Total deaths globally (updated 6/25): over 483K Cases in Counties represented: Hennepin County: 11,057 (752 deaths) Ramsey County: 4,424 (215 deaths) Dakota County: 1,982 (84 deaths) Washington County: 917 (39 deaths)
Minnesota Chamber lists several assistance options available for small businesses to combat COVID-19-related challenges. The federal and state governments have passed legislation meant to speed capital to businesses, so they can make payroll and other financial obligations. The Chamber has a detailed summary of available resources in the funding section of the COVID-19 Business Toolkit.
Visit our events page for webinars and events and the Ramsey County Means Business page for information to help businesses navigate resources during this pandemic. If you need more personalized assistance, contact our Rapid Response Team to assist you in finding an answer. Be safe and be well,