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Rep. Hamilton discusses working for constituents during COVID-19 outbreak

Monday, March 16, 2020

ST. PAUL – Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Minnesota House is in a “recess," with meetings and floor sessions taking place on an on-call basis until April 14. That said, State Representative Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake) said his day-to-day work with constituents will continue as normal. 


"I am still working for the people of southwestern Minnesota regardless if we're taking a break for a few weeks," Hamilton said. "Many people are going to have questions as to how the State is handling the coronavirus issue, and I stand ready to help. 


On March 17, lawmakers passed a $200 million COVID-19 Emergency Funding bill that ensures our hospitals, health care providers, and our state, county, and local health care agencies have the funds they need to respond to this global pandemic. 


Meanwhile Governor Walz issued an executive order to ensure workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have full access to unemployment benefits. According to the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Program, the executive order makes applicants eligible for unemployment insurance benefits if: • A healthcare professional or health authority recommended or ordered them to avoid contact with others. • They have been ordered not to come to their workplace due to an outbreak of a communicable disease. • They have received notification from a school district, daycare, or other childcare provider that either classes are canceled or the applicant’s ordinary childcare is unavailable, provided that the applicant made reasonable effort to obtain other childcare and requested time off or other accommodation from the employer and no reasonable accommodation was available. The executive order also eliminates the one week waiting period to ensure applicants have access to unemployment benefits as quickly as possible, and assures business owners that benefits paid as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic will not increase their future unemployment tax rate.


If your employment has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the department urges you to apply for unemployment benefits online. Visit the Unemployment Insurance Program website at to learn more. Hamilton said the governor also ordered the closure of all restaurants, bars, clubs, gyms, and other similar spaces. Grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, and others will remain open. Delivery and curbside pickup for restaurants will remain available. If you or a loved one has lost their job or had their hours reduced as a result of these closings, Hamilton urges you to apply for unemployment insurance benefits. You can find more information at 


Hamilton also notes that legislative talks continue on how to best assist small business owners during this time of crisis. Finally, Hamilton urges residents to visit three websites if they have questions about coronavirus: MDH’s COVID-19 page: Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 page: CDC COVID-19 page: Rep. Hamilton can be reached at (651) 296-5373 or at