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Assistance for Small Businesses and Working Families
Last month, when Governor Walz implemented new measures to “turn back the dials” in response to the deadly surge of COVID cases in our state, we got to work on ensuring those impacted businesses and workers would have some help. While the federal government has more resources to more fully address the issues facing our working families, they were simply moving too slow in their response for Minnesotans.
The package of COVID-19 assistance legislation we passed Monday night isn’t a fix-all solution, but it does provide a lifeline for those struggling to get by until federal relief can arrive. The bill includes a 13-week extension of unemployment insurance and direct financial support for businesses. The Department of Revenue estimates that 5,800 small businesses will receive $82-88 million beginning before the end of the year. Another $114.5 million will be distributed to counties to provide grants to impacted businesses, and movie theaters and convention centers will receive $14 million. In this bill, Hennepin County would receive just over $25.2 million for small business grants.
You can find specifics on this legislation, including eligible businesses, program requirements, and payment amounts here.
The First Round of COVID Vaccines
Last week, before the vaccine's arrival in our state, Governor Walz announced Minnesota’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan. Keeping speed, equity, and safety in mind - the plan was made in partnership with the federal government to ensure we’re making the most of the limited supply we’ll have for now.
The first to receive the vaccine in Minnesota will be health care workers and long-term care residents, followed by essential workers, seniors, and people with preexisting conditions that are more likely to become seriously ill with this virus. While the arrival of the vaccine is incredibly good news, we’re still a long way from it becoming available to all who want one. In the meantime, it’s important that we continue adhering to the public health guidelines that have kept our communities safe - social distancing, hand washing, wearing a mask, and getting tested when we feel sick.
Updated Rules for Restaurants, Bars, Gyms, and Other Venues
While the trend of cases are going down, they still remain at dangerously high levels, and the most recent data we received yesterday day showed one of the deadliest days yet in this pandemic. In response to this, Governor Walz provided an update on the measures bars, restaurants, gyms, and other venues are adhering to, which start on December 19:
- Bars, restaurants, and breweries: Will remain closed for indoor dining, but they may open for outdoor service at 50 percent capacity or up to 100 people.
- Gyms and fitness studios: May open for individual exercise at 25 percent capacity, or 100 people maximum,.
- Youth and adult sports: Practices can resume January 4.
- Outdoor entertainment venues: Open at 25 percent capacity, up to 100 people maximum
- Social Gatherings: Minnesotans may gather inside with one other household up to 10 people. If outside, social gatherings may include up to two additional households (three total) with a maximum of 15 people. Masking and social distancing is strongly encouraged.
You can find information on these updates and more at StaySafe.MN.
The 2021 Legislative Session starts on January 5, which will be here before you know it. To stay up to date on the latest with our work in the Minnesota House, you can subscribe to these email updates here, or by “‘liking” my official Facebook page. You can also reach me at email@example.com or leave a voicemail at (651) 296-7449 with any questions or comments you may have. I appreciate hearing from you.