DEED CALL NOTES 5/21/2020
APPLE VALLEY CHAMBER NOTE: Today’s conference clarifies much of what the Governor announced yesterday but you will find the Q & A portion particularly interesting as well as the many exceptions they haven’t thought out yet. Be sure to read. After announcing what can open June 1st, the following phases are only plans to be announced in the future but noted so you can see what is ahead.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
CITY APPROVES APPLE VALLEY CHAMBER’S REQUEST FOR:
ORDINANCE RELAXATION FOR EXPANDED OUTDOOR SERVICE AREAS
—NOTE: THIS APPLIES TO ALL APPLE VALLEY BUSINESSES AND INDUSTRIES
ANY BUSINESS IN APPLE VALLEY can establish (Beginning May 15, 2020) ON IT’S PROPERTY, PARKING LOTS or GREEN AREA:
1. DRIVE-UP or DRIVE-THRU AREA
2. CUSTOMER ORDERING, WAITING or PICK UP AREA
3. CUSTOMER SEATING or CUSTOMER SERVICE AREA
4. MUST COMPLY WITH SOCIAL DISTANCING PRACTICES
Additional Businesses Reopening Soon
Effective on June 1, 2020
Restaurants and bars can reopen for outdoor service only as long as they:
- Have adopted and implemented a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan
- Ensure a minimum of 6 feet of distance between tables
- Limit on-premises capacity to no more than 50 persons
- Limit table service to 4 persons, or 6 if part of one family unit
- Require reservations in advance
- Require workers to wear masks and strongly encourage masks be worn by customers
Personal care services (such as hair salons, barbershops and tattoo parlors) can reopen to provide services indoor as long as they:
- Have adopted and implemented a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan
- Limit number of clients inside the business at any time to ensure 6 feet of distance between persons except when providing services
- Reduce occupant capacity to no more than 25%
- See clients by appointment only; do not allow walk-ins
- Require workers and clients to wear masks at all times; do not provide services that cannot be performed without masks
2020 02 21 Call, DEED
Thursday, May 21, 2020
Steve Kelley, Commissioner of Commerce
Nicole Blissenbach, Asst Commissioner of Department of Labor and Industry
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 regular communication. Always seeking ideas for more targeted supports.
11am webinar today for those with more questions.
MOVING FORWARD, THESE CALLS WILL BE ONCE A WEEK ON THURSDAY, 7:30 – 8:15AM.
DEED, Steve Grove
- Main focus of press conference yesterday was announcement of new phases effective June 1 as we continue to reopen the economy.
- Governor also laid out the full 4 phases of the reopening process, without assigning dates to upcoming changes.
- Recognition of how desperate these times are.
- Mn.gov/covid19, StaySafe tab, lays out the 4 phases of reopening.
- As we open settings with more contact, and more sustained and unpredictable contact, we need to continue employing safety procedures. Details start to get really important, to ensure we are getting this right. don’t want to have to back off again.
- June 1
- Restaurants: outdoor seating. Less dangerous than indoors. Keep at 50 customers max, 6′ distance between tables. Max table size 6 for family, 4 if not. Reservations required. Masks required for employees, encouraged for guests. Data is so clear that masks help with spread of disease. Looking for municipalities to get creative in determining outside space. Recognize it won’t work for everybody. Significant playbooks available.
- Personal services opening: salons, barbershops, tattoo shops. Indoor, but max capacity of 25%. 6′ distance, by appointment only. Both worker and customer require masks.
- Campgrounds and charter boats. Common areas very carefully monitored for social distancing and sanitation. On a boat still need to ensure social distancing unless all members of same family.
- Phases 3 and 4 available as well.
- Phase 3
- Gatherings to 20, restaurants up to 50 and indoors.
- Personal services: moving capacity up to 50%.
- Outdoor entertainment moves into gear, with moves and outdoor concerts open.
- Places of worship, max 100, 6′ distance.
- Pools at 50% capacity.
- Phase 4
- Gyms, personal fitness, entertainment, bowling alleys, movie theaters.
- Details on website.
- These have been developed in close partnership with business.
- Still not at peak of disease (now estimated at early July).
- Governor is deeply grateful for input from business community.
Commerce, Steve Kelley
- Commerce continues to ww health insurers in their response to COVID-19.
- w/Malcolm, sent letter to them re intentions about waiving cost sharing through the summer. MN Council of Health Plans yesterday stated they continue to cover in network hospitalization without cost sharing by members or insureds. And won’t go against deductible.
- Antibody testing continues. You should be clear with your insurer how that is going to be paid for. Until we get more experience with antibody testing, that continues to be up in the air both nationally and locally.
- Licensures: Pearson Vue began opening testing facilities at 50% capacity. Can begin to work on backlog of individuals who have applied for licensure but needed to complete testing and fingerprinting.
- Energy utilities: ww them on protecting their workforce, esp those engaged in critical operations. Ww Dept of Health to ensure those workers can get priority access to testing if the need arises.
- Insurance: as you reopen, and you adopt recommended guidelines, insure you are lined up with expectations of insurers re the practices you put in place. Think about how well you do in applying those guidelines so that there isn’t an issue with insurance if a problem comes up later.
- OSHA Workplace Safety Consultation actively working with MDH and DEED on new guidelines.
- If businesses have questions or need help with guidance, encourage you to reach out to OSHA Consultation on that.
- Receiving some reports, still following up, there are employers asking employees as they return to work to sign work comp waivers, limiting people from applying for work comp if they contract COVID-19. MN law does prevent such actions. Not allowable under work comp law. Want to flag that for you, wouldn’t be an enforceable agreement.
- Liquor licenses: will there and can there be a waiver of state liquor license statute to allow for rapid stand up of outdoor dining provisions? Grove: great question, extremely relevant. Discussing how that can work at state level, no announcements yet. Many municipalities already have guidance in place.
- Will the METC be instructed to not require payment of temp SAC (sewer access charges) charges for temporarily enlarged outdoor patios and restaurants? Grove: METC not being instructed to not charge at this time.
- Number of questions on the Governor’s thinking behind decision re minimum of 50 in restaurants but 10 in churches. Campgrounds can open and share facilities but people can’t be in church for more than an hour….. Can you talk about that? Grove: Governor was asked this yesterday. All kinds of challenges regarding the “fairness” of this. As it relates to restaurants and churches, we talk about the predictability of the environment. MDH guidance is that restaurants are more predictable. Churches have never been shut down, but the gathering size has been challenging. Length of contact time and less predictability… nobody is super satisfied with that answer, including the Governor. A lot of time spent on discussing places of worship. Weddings, funerals, event based gatherings… Such a central part of what makes us human… really tough issues to grapple with. Very aware there are areas of these decisions that don’t feel completely congruent. Even earlier, could get to Wal-Mart but couldn’t get into a small retail… no one is celebrating that this is the perfect move, or anything close to it. Real fairness issues along the way. Also worth noting that there are fairness issues as to how the virus is impacting people. 34% labor force are POC unemployed, 17% for white only workers. Horrible for all, clearly, but virus has impacted certain people more than others as well. Governor is making best decisions he can given the information he has. He wants to move forward as quickly as possible, without creating “hot spots.” These are economic decisions about how challenging things are, including the challenge of having to back down again if we develop hot spots. People’s trust to enter commerce at all will be violated, because people think we aren’t getting it right. need to go slow enough such that the gradual pace of reopening allows for us to get this right. Very aware that this is not a satisfying answer for the business who is facing failure if you can’t reopen on June 1.
- Many restaurants have garage doors to create open air settings. Can they seat people inside restaurant? Grove: I believe that’s indoors. 3 walls and a roof… encourage restaurants to truly think about patio space, truly outdoors. Blissenbach: not specifically addressed in the guidance.
- Is there any additional funding DEED is providing for small businesses remaining closed or still struggling? Grove: debate during legislative session around expanding loan/grant programs for small businesses. As you saw with many things in the session, not a ton got passed. Good dialogue and debate did happen. As we look towards special session, and how we can spend federal CARES Act $, are discussing further. All the more important as economic impacts continue. $ state govts can put into fighting the virus pales in comparison to what the federal govt can do. Yes, we are discussing what the state can do. But we can’t print our own $, can’t go into debt. State revenues are falling a lot as business has slowed…. We are hoping the federal government can figure out how to get more $ to stimulate the economy. And having conversations there as well. As a state, we are looking at everything possible we can do to help business.
- Employers are preparing to open, struggling to get enough cleaning products, including sanitizer, masks. What is state doing to ensure businesses can get these products and at a reasonable price? Blissenbach: I know there has been movement towards making that more available at state and city levels. For ex, call with City of Mpls yesterday. Doing a lot of work there to help businesses get the necessary supplies to open safely. I don’t have specifics. There is a workgroup, will bring back specifics next week. Grove: from COVID site – severe limit of PPE. As Governor walked through yesterday, we’ve had examples of procurement of supplies that get intercepted by the fed govt and used elsewhere. Dept of Admin is in charge of procurement… as it relates to business getting access, we just don’t have the supplies to get PPE to equipment. State wants to help more but is focused on healthcare and assisted living facilities right now.
- How will you deal with business defying Governor’s orders? Grove: is a challenge. Goal is to not use force. Goal is to make the case and hope that businesses understand why guidelines are in place and take advantage of new opportunities to get commerce going. That said, re the bar in Albany, Atty Gen did take action to prevent them from opening. Law enforcement is responding to complaints… is for public health concerns. There is enforcement, not something that we want to have to be engaged in, which is why we’re trying to explain as best we can, while providing path to growth.
- In EO, does “worker” applies to both employees and independent contractors? Grove: I think it depends on the nature of the business. Blissenbach: that was a purposeful language choice to apply to more broadly than just “employees” in state law. So “worker” applies to broader category of people.
- What protections do employers have from unsubstantiated complaints from employees that workplaces are unsafe? Grove: if there is a report, DLI investigates. Protection is that investigations happen. One of the reasons a safety plan is in place. Is something the dept can reference. Blissenbach: when concerns or complaints come in to OSHA re workplace safety or health, we have a process by which we try to work with employers to see what they’re doing, determine if it does pose a health risk, and work with employer to address it. We don’t take complaints and automatically assume there is a violation.
- Regarding EO 20-15 that allows cities to use MIF funds for other purposes. Currently expires EOM June. Will it be extended? Grove: we need to discuss. I think we should consider. McKinnon: that’s exactly right. is something to consider.
- How long do SBA programs run, like PPP or EIDL? McKinnon: to my knowledge, PPP has some restrictions on the time that you’re eligible for forgiveness, through June 30. EIDL, I assume, continues after that because this is a disaster loan and, as long as there are resources in the program, will remain open.
- Are we allowed to hold in person seminars for electricians for CE credits? Many are holding off on online training. Kelley: since testing centers we use for our licensees are reopening at 50% capacity, my initial assumption would be that these testing operations would fit into the “business can reopen at 50% capacity” in the current guidance. I am uncertain about the education portion because we have been encouraging people to do education online, and not yet seen return to instructional courses in person. Blissenbach: I can update that we are in the process of completing plan to allow CCLD Division to offer construction trades licensing again, with safety precautions in place. Should get information on that out soon. Re education, I’m assuming the requirements of limited capacity would apply in that context as well.
- Is the 25% operating capacity for personal care businesses based on fire capacity of bldg or typical volume of customers served pre-COVID? Grove: fire capacity.
- Are requirements for closure in place in the case of an infected person contact tracing exposure back to a business? How long must company close after contact with infected person is identified? Blissenbach: are you asking if there a specific trigger that would cause a business to close down after a positive test? There isn’t a specific #, but MDH and county public health agencies have been coming in and, after receiving notice of a positive test, conducting contact tracing and ww employers re precautions that need to be taken moving forward. They work on with employer after contact tracing, and also inform those who’ve had exposure as to when that rises to the level requiring a quarantine order. MDH will work through this when there are a number of positive tests in the workplace.