[ST. PAUL, MN] – At a local Saint Paul restaurant today, Governor Tim Walz announced a COVID-19 economic relief package to keep businesses afloat, support workers struggling to get by, and help Minnesota families keep food on the table. Governor Walz will work with legislators on both sides of the aisle to move forward this much-needed proposal, integrate additional proposals, and call a special session when an agreement is final.
“Our small businesses and the Minnesotans whose livelihoods depend on them are bearing a huge weight for the good of their entire community. As cases skyrocket and hospital capacity is pushed to the brink, our small businesses should not have to bear the financial consequences alone. We’re in this together,” said Governor Walz. “I am committed to turning over every stone to find funding that will help make sure our businesses stay afloat, our workers are supported, and our families can put food on the table.”
“In the restaurant industry, we are all too familiar with 90-hour work weeks,” said Mike Runyon, co-owner of The Nook in Saint Paul. “We know what it’s like to wake up and head into work feeling like you just went to bed two minutes ago. And we’re not out here saving lives! We understand the urgent need to support our health care workers and protect hospital capacity right now. But as we know, the hospitality industry is drowning. There’s no stimulus money or extra unemployment for our staff. We are in desperate need for our governments to step in and help during these restrictions.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Governor Walz has invested $100 million dollars to support more than 8,000 Minnesota businesses. The state has also given nearly $840 million in support to local governments, much of which has been distributed to small businesses across the state. Also last week, the Governor wrote a letter urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to act quickly to provide assistance for workers, families, businesses, and states.
“We know the vast majority of our small businesses are doing the right thing,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “And these restrictions are hard. But they are necessary to save lives. That’s why we need to come together to provide aid that will support Minnesotans and our small businesses as we weather this surge in cases and hospitalizations.”
The COVID-19 relief package includes critical measures to:
- Keep Small Businesses Afloat
- Provide direct aid to businesses through Business Assistance Program
- Waive State and regulatory fees for bars, restaurants, event centers, craft breweries, and more
- Establish eviction moratorium so small businesses can stay in their locations
- Support Workers Struggling to Get By
- Extend unemployment benefits for an additional 13 weeks, helping as many as 100,000 workers whose benefits currently end next month
- Provide a $500 one-time emergency payment to struggling families
- Help Minnesota Families Put Food on the Table
- Establish one-time grant to restaurants to provide food for healthcare workers, homeless shelters, and long-term care facilities
- Provide a tax credit for businesses that donate food that would otherwise spoil or be thrown away
The Governor will continue to work with agencies, stakeholders, and legislators on additional measures to help Minnesotans and our economy.
“COVID-19 has brought unprecedented challenges to Minnesotans and businesses and we need to help them now,” said Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove. “Today’s package, crafted in response to requests from industry leaders and others, provides solid support to help businesses through this time and support Minnesota workers affected by the pandemic.”