DEED Call Notes 4/30/2020
APPLE VALLEY CHAMBER NOTE: We received the following paragraph of what is likely to happen with the Governor today (AN EXTENSION IS LIKELY):
“Early heads-up on what we can expect from the Governor at his 2pm briefing today: it is anticipated that Governor Walz will extend the SAH Order today and slightly “adjust the dial” (link to that powerpoint presentation is below) with guidance opening up category of businesses that can operate with proper social distancing and have competitive considerations. The term “curbside commerce” is coming up related to multiple sectors such as animal grooming and retail. The extension will likely be less than a month and there isn’t likely to be further guidance today on businesses that remain closed. The administration has been silent about specific businesses.”
2020 04 30 Call, DEED
Thursday, April 30, 2020
Nicole Blissenbach, Asst Commissioner of Department of Labor and Industry
Robert Doty, Asst Commissioner of Revenue
Kevin McKinnon, Deputy Commissioner of DEED
Darielle Dannon, Legislative Director
Anna Peterson, DEED Chief of Staff
Purpose: regular business call with state government. How can we do more for business?
Questions are being circulated into the forum through this daily communication. Always seeking ideas for more targeted supports.
NEXT WEEK, CALL WILL BE ONCE A WEEK ON THURSDAY, 7:30 – 8:15AM.
DEED, Kevin McKinnon
- SBEL: $30M fund to assist businesses impacted by EOs 20-04 and 20-08.
- To date, 660 loans. Cross section of lenders across the state.
- About $20M has been disbursed as of today, $10M remaining. That said, lenders are still working through apps they have received. Still have far more apps than funding remaining.
- Series of bills going through the Legislature now that would add more $ to the program. More updates along the way.
- PUA program. To date, about 40K people have been made eligible for PUA funding. Equates to about 88K weeks of PUA paid. About $30M in benefits. This is $600 payment to all applicants. Remember, this is new/different from standard UI program.
- Nearly $75M total payments have been sent out.
- UI: in last 6 weeks, have processed over 580K new claims. The first 3 weeks of that we had well over 100K each week. it’s been steadily dropping in April and now, last week of April, as of today we’re not to 30K claims for the week yet.
- Largest sector impacted is food prep and services, almost 100K claims. Sales and service and other ofc/admin support are big categories as well.
- Continue to communicate with a variety of groups re safe re-opening. Earlier this week, a section of the non-essential employers opened up. They don’t have to open, is up to the individual employer. Continuing to work on what safe re-opening looks like.
- Re EO 20-40 and determining if you qualify to re-open: Businesses needing specific guidance on whether or not they qualify can go to theguidance page on the DEED website.
- Workers whose employer is re-opening under EO 20-40 may no longer qualify for unemployment. They must report to UI if they refuse to return to work for their employer
- If you still have a question that you need answered about whether a business meets the definition of industrial or office, please email [email protected].
- Workers comp: earlier this week, we’ve had approx 200 work comp claims coded as “COVID-19 claims.”
- OSHA: as of beginning of this week, received over 1000 calls this month. Up from approx 300 this month last year. Majority of those calls are from workers reporting safety and health concerns. Also receiving calls from businesses with questions. Keep reaching out!
- When we receive calls from workers, we are asking they initially bring concerns to the employers directly, to be resolved there. that has been successful in many situations. Also making contacts out to employers where workers have not been successful or comfortable doing so.
- Great guidance from associations and businesses on safety. For ex, Grocers Assn put out customer guidance. State would love to see that submitted so we can learn from it and incorporate into our guidance.
- On DEED Safe Work Website is form asking for best practices you have implemented, share with the state so we can add to our thinking/guidance as well.
- Spending a lot of time looking at tax impacts of federal stimulus bills. CARES Act and FFCRA Act. A number of tax provisions that a part of those bills.
- Some impacts require MN tax law conformity. Working with Legislature.
- Encourage people to go to our website, Dept of Revenue, re tax relief.
Dannon, Legislative update
- Broadband Telemedicine bill moving thru Legislature. They seem to be identical at this point, headed to the floor. Additional $ for broadband for parts of state unserved and for student support and telemedicine.
- As Kevin pointed out, we’re working on a package of additional funding to support small business. Bills have been sent to Ways and Means and Finance Committees. Are somewhat different at this point; members of those committees are beginning to work through details. Good possibility that both will clear Legislature in the next 2 weeks we have left.
- If legislature provides additional funding, will they include a wider sector of businesses that are eligible? Dannon: that is one of the provisions in both bills, making a change in who’s eligible and how much funding is available. Committees are very well aware of the businesses that are closing, want to address.
- DEED: what might be on horizon at federal level for communities to add to loan funds, CDBG and others? McKinnon: open dialogue continues with Congress and the delegation on various other items through a variety of different agencies on different programs or potentially some of the issue that may have been overlooked in some of the previous bills. We are working with IEDC, National Governors Assn and others, on pieces that would impact that. On the horizon: at this point I can’t give a definite answer about what they might be considering, but there is a whole host of issues out there that continue to be raised.
- Revenue: has the 5/15 property tax deadline been delayed yet? Has been requested for months. Doty: have heard that a fair amount. The deadline has not changed. Is in statute, and Dept of Revenue does not have the ability to move that. Moving that would take legislation.
- Hearing from businesses that liability insurance will not over them if customer gets COVID-19 and traces infection back to the business. Exposes us to being sued. Any federal protections for business? Blissenbach: none of us can answer on this call. the more a business can show they are following all of the guidelines, they will be in a better place. But as far as legal liability, people will have to talk to an attorney for more definite answers. The more protocols in place that comply with guidelines from CDC, MDH and OSHA, the better.
- Re the “dial” Gov Walz shared on his slides last week: areas of MN are in different places re COVID-19. will there be regional dials and who does the dial turning? Peterson: currently, 1 dial for the state and the dial turning happens with EOs at Governor level. McKinnon: a lot of factors that go into turning the dial. Certainly, the balance of public health, social distancing, and economic recovery are the considerations that go into this. things can pop up in individual counties, as we’ve seen recently, unfortunately. https://mn.gov/covid19/assets/04-22-20-covid19-gov-walz-update_tcm1148-429595.pdf
- School districts applying for waivers to continue supplying meals are required to provide data proving economic impacts. Data on businesses closed by city would be very helpful but is not available. Since there will be many more data requests, can these rules be revised on a temporary basis to help us? Provide # of businesses without names of the businesses? Dannon: we have staff at DEED on this … I have seen at least 1 request. DEED’s data tends to be delayed, like 1 quarter after. We can work with you, but challenging to provide exactly what this question is asking. Please reach out to us for data to make a case. Economic analysts are working on these requests. Reach out to me, McKinnon, or Peterson on this, and we will assist you.
- Letter from UI informing me that an employee laid off from her 2d job. We will be responsible for UI costs. Seems in conflict with Governor’s directive. Peterson: EO relieves tax paying employers from UI charges. Will gather details from applicant. Any UI benefit paid to that person will be excluded from calculating future UI pymts.
- How to dispute UI charges as they are inaccurate? Answer: can raise issue on www.uimn.org on how to do this. Log into employer account and raise an issue there or submit question to UI staff if you’re having trouble. Also really great videos there to walk you through the process.
- Can a employee be fired or sent home without pay for refusing to follow required safety measures? Blissenbach: hard to give one answer as broadly as I’m hearing it. Depends on a number of things, potentially. What was the directive, was refusal to comply based on a guideline that is required by CDC or MDH….? Was the person covered by a contract or collective bargaining agreement….? Answer is, “it depends.”