It’s been an eventful week in Minnesota! The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines arrived in our state on Monday, hopefully marking the beginning of the end of the pandemic. That night, the Minnesota House and Senate passed a COVID-19 assistance package to support working families and small businesses. Governor Walz signed the bill into law yesterday. He also provided an update on the measures that are in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.
New COVID-19 Assistance
Earlier this week, we delivered new economic assistance for workers and small businesses. The COVID-19 assistance package we approved extends unemployment insurance for Minnesotans who’ve exhausted their benefits. An estimated 100,000 workers, including those whose federal benefits are set to expire on December 26, will receive 13 additional weeks of coverage.
The legislation includes $88 million of direct financial support for small businesses that are experiencing economic harm due to the pandemic. Restaurants, bars, gyms, and more are eligible to receive this aid. An additional $14 million will be distributed to movie theaters and convention centers, and $114.8 million will go to counties to provide grants to other impacted businesses. You can find more information here.
This economic assistance is a lifeline for workers and small businesses, but we know it won’t address all of the issues they’re facing. I hope our leaders in Washington will come together to provide more assistance soon. In the meantime, my colleagues and I will keep working with Minnesotans to find help and support for those who are struggling to get by.
Updated Public Health Guidelines
Governor Walz announced the next steps in Minnesota’s fight against COVID-19 yesterday. Some of the current public health guidelines will remain in effect. Others will be modified, with changes taking effect this Saturday, December 19:
Additional changes will take effect next month. Youth and adult sports can start practices on January 4. On January 18, elementary schools may choose to begin in-person learning as long as they’re able to implement additional safety measures. More information about the new public health guidelines is available here.
Stay in Touch
Challenging days are ahead, but there's light at the end of the tunnel. Please know that I’m working with community members and local, state, and federal leaders to help Minnesotans get through this pandemic. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance or if you have questions or feedback that you’d like to share. You can reach me at email@example.com or 651-296-9934.