DEED Call Notes 5/14/2020
APPLE VALLEY CHAMBER NOTE: This is much clearer clarification to the Governor’s EO last night allowing more to open. Here is quick Table of Contents to quickly know what applies to your business.
QUICK SUMMARY (Details below)
GOVERNOR’S EXECUTIVE ORDER REOPENING MOST OF ECONOMY
—Keep working at home
—Protect workers from retaliation, let wear own PPE
—Extends Peacetime Emergency to June 12
—Retail & Malls with limitations (Starts Monday 5/18)
—Encourage elderly stay home (not required)
—OK gather 10 or less
—Remote camping only
—Sports (i.e. tennis, not basketball type sports)
—Entertainment closure through May 31st
(DEED required to post rules by Wed.)
—Retail & Malls—50% or less
—MUST have preparedness plan & share
—Household services can return
—Licensing reopening testing to 50%
—No co-pays for COVID, who will pay for testing?
—Adding wind energy projects to MN
—Protecting from retaliation
—Worker PPE (can’t violate decency)
—Worker right to refuse work
—Worker right to invite inspection OSHA
—Worker UI eligible if quits for those reasons
—ADA, must adjust schedules, work stations, work home
—CARES act funds to local government
—Working from home stays the same even next week
—Posters for safework (use template but can make own)
—Mask decency detailed
—BUSINESS LIABILITY DETAILS (#5)
—ALL MUST HAVE PLAN, EVEN CRITICAL SECTOR (#6)
—Protecting workers from customers not adhearing (#7) Can flag customer
—If already open do you need 50% Occupancy (NO), only newly opening
—Is GOVERNMENT EXCEMPT FROM RULES (NO) (#9)
—Can business be fined for opening anyways? (YES by DLI or Public Safety)
—CAN BUSINESS MAKE MASK MANDATORY FOR CUSTOMERS? (YES if in plan)
DATES FOR OPENING
- Retail: May 18, 2020. See guidelines below.
- Malls and Shopping Centers: May 18, 2020. See guidelines below.
- Hair Care, Barbers, Salons: Anticipated June 1. A link to re-opening guidelines will be added as soon as available.
- Gyms, Movie Theaters, Bowling Alleys: Anticipated June 1. A link to re-opening guidelines will be added as soon as available.
2020 05 14 Call, DEED
Thursday, May 14, 2020
Steve Kelley, Commissioner of Commerce
Nicole Blissenbach, Asst Commissioner of Department of Labor and Industry
Robert Doty, Asst Commissioner, Revenue
Steve Grove, Commissioner of DEED
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.
MOVING FORWARD, THESE CALLS WILL BE ONCE A WEEK ON THURSDAY, 7:30 – 8:15AM.
DEED, Steve Grove
- Last night from Governor:
- EO 20-56, signed 5/13/2020, re safely reopening Minnesota’s economy and ensuring safe non-work activities during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency
- EO 20-55, signed 5/13/2020, recommending people in high-risk categories stay at home except for necessary activities. If you can work from home, do so (over 65, in nursing homes, underlying health conditions).
- EO 20-54, signed 5/13/2020, protecting workers from retaliation, and allowing them to wear their own PPE
- EO 20-53, signed 5/13/2020, extending the COVID-19 peacetime emergency through June 12
- EO 20-56 to ensure safe nonwork activities can continue, reopens retail, malls with some limitations. Goes in effect on Monday, 5/18.
- Encourages masks, given health data on its efficacy.
- COVID strikes at risk populations at a much harsher rate than others. Meant to ensure those with health conditions or elderly are encouraged to stay at home at least through May 31. not “required,” but “strongly encouraged.”
- 3 broad buckets of changes:
- Social gathering: shift allowing gatherings of 10 people or fewer. Even if not members of same household. Caveats for legislative meetings, driving gatherings… some churches, movie theaters have instituted innovative “driving gatherings,” which are permitted provided everyone stays in their car. Tribal lands, within the bounds of their sovereignty, are exempt.
- Workers and businesses: differentiation highlighted in terms of slowly and carefully reentering more business and commerce without rushing too fast and risking a spike that would lead to turning the dial back….
- Recreation: now remote camping allowed for single household use. Not in a developed campground with shared common space. Includes house boats, though campgrounds are still closed. Sporting advancements as well, like outdoor practices for 10 people or under. Think tennis vs basketball… basketball is still too many people and too close.
- Key health factors: critical piece to determine the risk of a business setting
- How much contact
- How long that contact is
- Predictability of the setting
- Given that restriction, Governor has continued closure of entertainment venue through May 31. also asking DEED, MDH, DLI to develop a plan for those businesses opening by Jun 1.
- By next Wed, required to post guidelines for how that will be done.
- Order continues to ask people to work from home whenever possible.
- Retail and malls: hold occupancy at 50% or less for max occupancy code for that structure. Sought guidance from retail assns here… not a perfect measure, but provides a good mental model for keeping traffic down. Still need preparedness plans. Share with employees and customers, post. No need to get “approval.” goal is to provide confidence for both employees and customers.
- For malls, additional guidance on our website. Key difference is the common areas, where gathering is still discouraged. Rope off, extra sanitation,
- Household services can go back to work…
- This progress has been based on input from you. Thank you.
- Licensing: one of the challenges has been the testing centers provided by Pearson-Vue. Working with them as they plan to re-open at 50% capacity.
- Had worked with health insurers for assurances through May 31 not to charge co-pays to people diagnosed with COVID-19. now working on post-May 31 as the demands of the pandemic also change. Also need to consider antibody testing, and who’s going to pay for that and when is it covered by health insurance.
- In energy space, GRE shut down its coal plant in ND in 2022. related to that, investing in new renewable energy in wind projects. The first are located in MN and we’re hoping to get the bulk if not all of that new investment located in MN. As we face difficult economic times, we hope this will be a source of econ development across the state.
- EO 20-54, protecting workers from unsafe working conditions and retaliation.
- Primarily a restatement of obligations and rights already in statute. Helpful because it provides more direction on how these apply to the current situation.
- Employers can’t discriminate or retaliate against worker who communicates about occupational and health safety matters related to COVID-19. OSHA statue already.
- Must also not discriminate for wearing PPE the employee provides. That PPE can’t violate industry standards or decency.
- Workers have the right refuse to work under conditions they reasonably believe present risk of immediate death or physical harm. Includes unsafe environment re an infectious agent.
- Also covers the rights of workers to request an inspection by OSHA or DLI if they believe health or safety standard is not being met.
- Restates that DLI has the ability to receive complaints and has the ability to enforce those provisions.
- Unemployment law statute allows for a worker who quits because they have raised an adverse work condition complaint to an employer who then fails to correct… still eligible for UI if they quit.
- Right for individuals covered by ADA or Human Rights Act to request reasonable accommodations. Includes disability or health conditions that put them at high risk of contracting COVID-19 or having complications as a result. Could include adjusting schedules, work stations, allowing them work from home or use leave…
- Working on distribution of federal funds thru the CARES Act going to local govts in MN.
- $657M distributed to counties and cities and towns.
- Ww Legislature and Gov ofc to develop plan for how these funds are distributed, timing, and providing clarity on eligible costs.
- This morning Commissioner will be testing at House Ways and Means Committee on the House version of this plan.
- A number of questions about office settings and whether employees could or should come back to the office: anyone still, if they can work from home, should. Doesn’t change even next week.
- Questions for DLI: is DLI producing posters for workplace best practices and will there be anything tailored to workplaces? Blissenbach: no posters, but a number of resources for businesses and many are industry-specific. Includes checklist mentioned earlier, and linked through the www.mn.gov.deed/safework website. Create your own plan is fine, just cover the checklist in the template we’ve provided.
- Employee protections in EO 20-54 are important. How are they different from protections already provided in existing law? Blissenbach: they are basically a reiteration, but tailored to the current situation. More than existing law is the protection for workers who are wearing their own PPE. Majority of the order IS a bringing together and restatement of worker protections and employer obligations in MN OSHA Law, MN Human Rights Act, and Unemployment.
- Can you give some examples of how PPE could violate safe, health, decency standards? Blissenbach: decency standard would be if an employee were to wear a face covering that has an inappropriate pattern on it. that’s what we were targeting. Another ex would be if there is a policy related to a mask somehow would make things worse… (?)
- Can you address business liability related to COVID-19? For ex, if a business takes precautions and follows a plan, but a customer contacts them believing they got COVID in their business? Grove: general process is to ensure that person gets tested… that’s critical. Then MDH conducts contact tracers to isolate that exposure. Need to have that thoughtful plan in place. If we get social distancing right, they’re wearing PPE and following guidelines, the chances of that happening is much smaller. Steve Kelley: from insurance perspective, important for business owners to re-read their liability policies and talk with insurance agents if possible. Is important to follow policy standards related to implementing best practices/guidance from health authorities. Hard to provide blanket direction, but it is important to talk with your agent to determine if your practices can create any liability openings. Don’t want to say you’re not covered because you weren’t following guidelines. Blissenbach: can’t comment on when liability can be attached. But we do know the best practices based on CDC and MDH. If followed, will put you in a better place if there is a question of liability.
- Some pushback from critical sector businesses, saying they’re not required to have preparedness plan. Will it be required for ALL, regardless of critical sector status? Grove: we have debated this at some length. You can see the logic on both sides. Retroactively applying a new regulation to businesses already up and running can cause new challenges. Remind ourselves that every business operating today must be following CDC guidelines. Is an operational ask, not a different standard. So we do hold everyone accountable to the same rules/practices. We know many businesses, those getting it right, are creating preparedness plans. That’s where our idea came from. No matter your type of business, if there is a complaint from employee or customer, they are encouraged to call into state hotline and challenge it. The preparedness plan is important both for safety and employee/customer confidence.
- Can you talk about ensuring customers are following guidance? How can businesses protect employees from customers not adhering to best practices? Grove: the guidance is trying to limit unpredictable behavior and contact within a business. This is why we’re encouraging everyone to wear masks. There will be cases where customers aren’t abiding by social distancing guidelines. Business has the right to flag that for the customer. Can notify us to help them navigate that situation. Guidance does apply to customers too. MN Retailers Assn has provided a great 3-page document to address this. also on our /safework webpage.
- Will businesses already open be subject to the 50% capacity requirement? Grove: no. This applies to the businesses reopening.
- Are govt facilities like city halls able to open on May 18? Grove: definition of a “business” does include state and local govt for the purposes of the EO. Of course it’s up to that govt about how/when to re-open. DMV, for ex, is more like a retail setting. But a careerforce center, requiring time and engagement, is more like a restaurant/bar. Customer facing govt can open, but it’s up to the individual authority about how/when.
- A number of questions about individual businesses and industries. EOs are clear and detailed, read them and you’ll find your answers.
- If a business violates the EO and opens anyway, are there penalties in state or federal funding for noncompliance? Blissenbach: DLI would have authority to issue penalties for violation of worker protections or failure to follow guidelines. Also enforced if violation of the EO itself (like a business open that’s not allowed) would go through public safety. Carries penalty with it, listed at end of EO.
- Has there been any discussion about mandatory masks wearing, like “no mask, no shoes, no service”? Blissenbach: EO strongly encourages, but doesn’t require. An individual business could require. Can be part of the preparedness plan.