DEED Call Notes 6/11/2020
APPLE VALLEY CHAMBER NOTE: These notes from the Governor’s Commissioners came out yesterday afternoon and give key insight into many of the uncertain or gray areas of the regulations you must deal with. Topics include:
Insurance—Who pays for testing
Insurance—Big tips, links
Open Plan for ALL
CARES ACT local funding from Feds
—Face Mask Enforcement, Liability, Refusal
—Salons/Cosmetology: Masks, Shields, When Exceptions
—Large Meeting Places, Restaurants
—Public Sector: Transportation
—Even Essential MUST now have a plan
—Future Reopening Dates
—Does PPP Still Have Money
—Does SBEL in MN Have Money
—Avoiding Foreclosures, Homelessness
—More Cosmetology Answers on Face Shields, Who to Ask?
—Must plan be submitted for approval; Any “Must Have’s”
2020 06 11 Call, DEED
Thursday, June 11, 2020
Steve Kelley, Commissioner of Commerce
Nicole Blissenbach, Asst Commissioner of Department of Labor and Industry
Cynthia Bauerly, Asst Commissioner of Revenue
Steve Grove, 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?
MOVING FORWARD, THESE CALLS ARE ONCE A WEEK ON THURSDAY, 11am – 11:45am.
Commerce, Steve Kelley
- Insurance: ongoing question is, who will pay for testing as people return to work and businesses start to look at ways to assure the safety of workers in the workplace? And increase in testing may be a strategy. Who should pay for that? Public health, employer, health insurance? Convening a group to help advise us on that issue.
- Following civil unrest, many businesses that were affected are concerned about their insurance coverage. Have provided tips for submitting claims, have been trying to stay in touch with agents and the business owners through Mpls and St Paul, to understand what the claim issues might be, if any. And working to ensure the insurance companies are making the claims process as smooth as possible. Don’t want access to insurance proceeds to get in the way of rebuilding.
- Department of Commerce links on insurance tips for business or residential property owners that may have sustained damage or loss from the destructive events: Business | Residential
DLI, Nicole Blissenbach
- Work comp claims classified as COVID-19 have now exceeded 1500 by beginning of this week.
- Big focus, since EO on Friday (EO 20-74, June 5 https://www.leg.state.mn.us/lrl/execorders/eoresults?gov=44), is to develop more guidance documents, specifically for critical sectors, now that there is requirement for ALL businesses have a business preparedness plan in place by EOM June.
- OSHA Consultation unit has been working on additional guidance. Will be available on Stay Safe website on Monday, 6/15.
- If there is industry-specific guidance, you can use that in preparation of the plan. If no industry-specific guidance, use the general guidance ready already. Some require more specifics than others.
- 2 versions of templates: one is general, 2d is specific to restaurants and bars. English, Somali, Hmong, Spanish. Some items are “must do”s and others are recommendations.
Revenue, Cynthia Bauerly
- Distribution of CARES Act funding is ongoing question. We are working on this with legislators.
- Special Session, ongoing conversations about how to distribute funds to local govts.
- Treasury guidance: local govts can use those funds for expenditures through EOY Dec 2020. Can use for specific costs due to COVD-19 response. Ex are PPE for staff, overtime related to public health work or other staffing issues, can – pursuant to that guidance – be used for direct economic assistance to businesses and individuals. Cannot be used to fund programs that were in place and already in the budget as of 3/26/2020. but a new grant program set up in response to COVID-19, for recovery, rental assistance (as examples), would be allowed under federal guidance.
- Guidance does continue to evolve, you can see on Treasury website.
- Hopeful we can move this $ to local governments within the next week or so. Again, need to work on agreement re allocation with Legislation. Revenue will administer by receiving certification from the local govt stating they understand receipt allows federal government to reserve the right for review, to assure accountability of use.
- Will the state consider providing additional guidance on face mask requirements? Some are concerned about handling customers who refuse to wear masks. Are they open to lawsuits for those refusing? Additionally, if a business refuses to enforce face mask requirement, what are potential consequences? Would state consider stripping them of business license? Blissenbach: EO strongly encourages masks, does not require. City of Mpls has mandated masks in all indoor public locations. Not sure of considering changing that language. As far as potential liability for customers who don’t wear masks, not sure I can comment. I can only refer back to EO language. Grove: seeking clarification… can business refuse service to a customer if they are asked to wear mask and they don’t? Blissenbach: some businesses have adopted “requirement” policy. Is happening and can… As far as liability, I can’t comment on. But we are seeing businesses do this.
- Clarification re face shields: who do I talk to re face shields? Board of Cosmetology, not hearing back. Can we modify for eye protection and masks since we can’t get them or do procedures with them on. Who addresses this for them? Blissenbach: there is guidance for salons and spas, on the Stay Safe website, my understanding is that face shields are required when there are procedures performed that do not allow for the customer to be wearing a mask. A good example would be a facial… then the face shield is an added requirement in addition to mask, for employee while performing that service. Board of Cosmetology also has good information on their website. Grove: this question has come about in other situations, like a hot kitchen. Masks are important, better at containing particulates than is a face shield but, in other situations, the function literally can’t happen with a mask and face shields can work.
- For businesses that offer services across sectors, i.e. restaurants that also offer large meeting spaces, do they follow industry guidelines per event or based off of what sector they are classified in per business license? Blissenbach: meant to inform preparedness plan. If you have a business that crosses over, you will want to look at guidance for each of those industries. Your plan will need to incorporate how you’re planning to address the health and safety of the employees, regardless of where they work in the business. Best way is to look at what’s required in each area. May need to look at different guidance docs when you’re developing your plan, to address safety issues that may arise in each. So one plan, but address different things that come up in different industries.
- Does DEED or other agencies plan to submit public-entity-specific guidance? Blissenbach: I believe OSHA Consultation, with MDH, is working on a document that is geared towards public sector and, possibly, one focused on transportation.
- Did latest EO, June 4, state that all businesses, even those “essential,” must now have preparedness plan by June 30? Including Target, Wal Mart, etc? Blissenbach: yes.
- I understand the difficulty of setting specific dates for future phased re-openings. What are the general target dates for future target dates? And what are the criteria to be met for future phases to occur? Grove: as I’m sure you saw with launch of Phase 3, we have claw-back measures to determine how they’re going. 5 of them. Some are doing well, some are more challenged. We use that to determine Phase 4. also looking at the state of the economy, societal well-being. Safe to say we will need a couple weeks to see how Phase 3 goes, but we’re moving as quickly as possible.
- High level overview of what assistance is still currently available? How much $ is left in each program and are they still accessible to small businesses? Grove: PPP has over $100B still available nationally. Rep Phillips in MN led charge on PPPFA, to extend time and modify requirements to improve flexibility. SBEL in MN is tapped out. Near end of negotiations to get more CARES Act for businesses in MN; so, we believe more $ is coming.
- It was mentioned that housing stability is key component to recovery. Several businesses in RE sector process foreclosures as primary function. Any $ for them since they can’t process foreclosures as that inability deadline is extended? Kelley: at this point, we haven’t addressed that question. So, if businesses are performing those services and can provide us some data about the challenges they are facing, that’s something we can factor in to looking at solutions. The broader impact we’re trying to avoid is people becoming homeless and all the consequent economic dislocation that comes from that, including increased difficulty in searching for job. Do recognize there are downstream impacts, but please reach out to Commerce Dept.
- Is there a public website to track CARES $ by state and then local govts? Something in 1 location? Bauerly: not aware of that. Treasury tracks the funding provided to states and local jurisdictions over 500K. State of MN is planning to set up a program within the state to track and monitor CARES Act funding. Will be housed at MMB, so more to come on that.
- Follow up to salon question: they are looking to advocate for a change to the face shields guidance and they want to know who to talk to. Other states are allowing for modifications. Grove: point person Governor’s office for that industry. For any incoming questions or suggestions, open form on Stay Safe. You can submit your question there. I encourage you to use that. MDH is using this based on CDC guidelines, but that doesn’t mean change isn’t possible. I encourage you to submit thoughts on that form. We read them all. Peterson: Board of Cosmetology does have a connection to the agencies working on this. reaching out to them and having that be passed along, if they’re in agreement, might be helpful as well.
- Businesses in other states, with plans in different formats… is MN template required? Blissenbach: no, not required. Also don’t need to submit the plan for approval to any state agency. Only requirement is that you address the “must haves.”