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RELEASE: Rep. Josh Heintzeman, Minnesota House Sends Business Relief Bill to Governor’s Desk

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House of Representatives approved a $216 million business relief package late Monday evening, sending to the Governor's desk a bill to help small businesses and workers impacted by Governor Walz's latest restrictions on businesses. Walz has twice delayed an announcement on whether the restrictions first announce on November 18th will continue past their December 18 expiration. 

“Harmful closures mandated by Governor Walz have resulted in significant economic hardship for main street businesses and families in our community,” said Rep. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa. “This legislation will help alleviate some of the damage caused by the Governor, but it will not make these businesses whole. These folks don't want a handout, they want to safely reopen their doors and serve the community. The Governor's orders are not backed up by data, and he needs to allow as many businesses as possible to reopen with safety measures in place to protect employees and customers.”

The business relief package includes direct grants to businesses, license and other fee relief, and a 13 week extension of unemployment insurance for workers. The grants are broken into three categories aimed at prioritizing speed;

  • The first category will be $88 million in grants administered automatically by the Department of Revenue (DOR) to restaurants, bars, gyms, bowling alleys, and other businesses who have seen losses of more than 30% compared to last year.
  • The second category is approximately $14 million administered by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) for movie theaters and large convention centers, and
  • The third is $112 million in grants that will be administered at the county level. The county-based grants are intended to help additional businesses impacted by the recent closures that do not qualify for the first two grant categories, however businesses who receive grants from the DOR are not precluded from receiving county-based grants. 

Gov. Walz announced the current restrictions on November 18th, which kicked in just two days later.