We are living through a very difficult time right now as our country struggles to contain the COVID-19 virus. One of the most important things to all of us right now is access to reliable information about closures, public orders and other directives.
The Chamber is working hard to make sure we convey that information as quickly and accurately as possible. As fast as things are moving the best place for you to access that information is on our website or by friending Monte Chamber on Facebook.
At this point most events and meetings in our community have been postponed or cancelled, that goes for our Chamber meetings as well. Many offices and businesses are also closed or on altered schedules so call ahead before you go somewhere.
Resources for Businesses
- Minnesota Department of Revenue details on business tax changes – Details on the sales tax payment extension for eligible businesses.
- Minnesota Department of Economic Development resources for employers – Information on staffing, hours, unemployment insurance and assistance for small businesses.
- Coronavirus and unemployment insurance – Specific details on mandatory or voluntary quarantines, changes in hourly work or layoffs, and COVID-19 related costs.
- U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) guidance for employers – Links to information on small business products and loans, guidance on access to capital and the local assistance directory.
- SBA Disaster Assistance Loans Businesses and Nonprofits– How to get started.
- Department of Labor and Industries’ “worker protections” – A summary of FMLA, sick leave, unemployment insurance.
- Force majeure and Coronavirus – Understand how the “act of God” concept relates to contracts under the Coronavirus.
- Minnesota Department of Commerce Licensing Unit guide – Information for Minnesota licensees, regulated entities and consumers during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
- List of Executive Orders from Governor Tim Walz
CONSIDERATIONS FOR EMPLOYERS, EMPLOYEES
- U.S. Chamber guide for employers – Outlines how to work with and communicate to employees, make a business continuity plan before and after employees become sick.
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for business – Health and workplace details and suggestions for COVID-19 impacts on different types of businesses and employee activity.
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS) travel advisories – Ongoing updates on travel advisories within the United States and abroad.
- Minnesota Council – Society of Human Resource Management (MNSHRM) – Resources for HR professionals (login required).
- U.S. Department of Labor guide to FMLA in public health emergencies
- Information about business interruption insurance – A FAQ developed by the Insurance Federation to provide answers on business interruption coverage.
UNDERSTANDING ECONOMIC IMPACTS
- U.S. Chamber Foundation guide to corporate aid – A list of corporate entities who donated or changed business practices to help fight COVID-19 around the world.
- Wall St. Journal guide to economic impacts – Summarizes data points to watch that will define economic impacts.
- Quick take on Coronavirus’ economic impact – Summarizes how businesses have been impacted so far.
SMALL BUSINESS RESOURCES
The Department of Labor is providing information on how small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees.
Additionally here’s info on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick or family leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.
- DEED Creating Emergency Loan Program for Minnesota Small Businesses.
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is creating an emergency loan program to help Minnesota small business owners who need immediate assistance to meet their families’ basic needs during COVID-19 closures.
The loan program was created under the Small Business Assistance Executive Order 20-15 announced by Governor Tim Walz on March 23. The loan program is intended to help businesses temporarily closed under Executive Order 20-04, later clarified by Executive Order 20-08, which stopped onsite customer dining at restaurants and bars and closed an extensive list of other small businesses whose owners may not have adequate cash flow to withstand temporary closure.
“Over the last week, we’ve heard from many of Minnesota’s small businesses who are facing significant hardships because of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Governor Tim Walz. “Small businesses are the backbone of our communities, and now more than ever, we’re looking to creative solutions like DEED’s emergency loan program to help them weather these extraordinarily difficult times.”
“We know that this emergency loan program is just one tool businesses will need to leverage to stay afloat,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “It’s an important one because it will get cash flowing quickly to the small Minnesota businesses that need it most.”
Executive Order 20-15 directs DEED to create a Small Business Emergency Loan Program by making available $30 million from special revenue funds. These dollars will be used by DEED’s lender network to make loans of between $2,500 and $35,000 for qualifying small businesses. The loans will be 50% forgivable, and offered at a 0% interest rate. If other financing becomes available to small businesses that received an emergency loan, such as federal funding, the emergency loan must be repaid. These emergency loans will be made by an existing network of lenders DEED works with across the state. Depending on the size of the loans offered to businesses, DEED estimates this emergency loan program will provide needed resources to between 1,200 and 5,000 businesses. DEED expects loan applications will available later this week through our lender network. Minnesota small businesses should send questions about this emergency loan program to ELP@state.mn.us.
The executive order also allows local units of government or lending partners which have a revolving loan fund to use those funds to issue loans to retail and service providers for the next 90 days. DEED estimates that up to $28 million in capital could be accessible through local revolving loan funds and local governments through this action. Local partners will be looking at ways to deploy these resources to support their local businesses.
For the latest information from DEED for employers and businesses and workers, visit the DEED COVID-19 Information page on the DEED website.
DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and its services, visit the DEED website or follow DEED on Twitter.
KEEPING WORKPLACES SAFE AND HEALTHY
- U.S. Chamber guide to healthy habits – Background on COVID-19 and best practices to stay healthy and deal with employee diagnosis.
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updates – Ongoing updates on the disease, how it is spread, where is exists and testing.
- Minnesota Department of Health resources – Updates on cases in Minnesota, best practices to prepare and prevent spread in workplaces.
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) COVID-19 health updates – Detailed updates on risk factors, symptoms, treatment.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guide for workplaces – Specific to federal standards for preventing spread in workplaces.
- Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) COVID-19 resource page (English) – Daily updates on the number and nature of Coronavirus cases in Minnesota and best practices for citizens to remain safe and healthy.
F.A.Q. about Executive Order 20-04: Providing for the Temporary Closure of Bars, Restaurants, and Other Places of Public Accommodation
In response to the potential growth of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, MNsure is offering a special enrollment period for eligible Minnesotans who do not have health insurance.
Those who are eligible can enroll in health insurance coverage through MNsure from Monday, March 23, through Tuesday, April 21.