DEED Call Notes 7/30/2020
APPLE VALLEY CHAMBER NOTE: Today on the Thursday DEED conference call, there are answers about everything from notary, tax penalties, golf carts, coworkers in same car, private social gatherings and much more. Check these answers out as these are from the Governor’s Commissioners and really rule.
—SBRG awardees named by cities (website)
—Chamber Mask Disbursement
—Licenses, working on appraisal licenses
—Notary Process temporary exemption
—Insurers and diagnostic test payments
—Utility Companies to help jumpstart economy
—OSHA and Facemasks
—When facemarks can be removed
—CARES Act to Municipalities $841 million
—Congress next Coronavirus Relief Package
—Tax delayed by Covid, may get penalty waiver
—Guide for small cities for business assistance
—Cities use of covid $
—Previously had to be Covid loss, changing now
—Face shields instead of masks? No
—Companies making Temperature Checks?
—Returning from positive back to work
—Outdoor Dance socially distanced
—Golf Carts without dividers
—Masks at private social gatherings
—Weddings and bocce ball tournament
—Mask distribution for students
—Coworkers driving in car must wear masks
—Food manufacturers requirements
2020 07 30 Call, DEED
Thursday, July 30, 2020
Steve Kelley, Commissioner of Commerce
Nicole Blissenbach, Asst Commissioner of Department of Labor and Industry
Cynthia Bauerly, Asst Commissioner of Revenue
Anna Peterson, Chief of Staff, DEED
Kevin McKinnon, Deputy Commissioner of DEED
Darielle Dannon, Legislative Director
DEED, Anna Peterson
- SBRG update: assignment to NP administrators done on Tuesday. Preliminary selected winners notified as well. Now the NPs work with them to verify eligibility.
- Last Friday, SBRG awardees from the Spring, released by cities. On website.
- Mask disbursement: over 4M disbursed through 88 chambers. Is going smoothly. They are starting to disburse.
- Commissioner Grove will be back next week.
Commerce, Steve Kelley
- Licensing has been a top priority. Moving through a more regular process now.
- Still struggling with completing certain educational requirements due to limited capacity at testing centers. But becoming more of a regular process.
- RE licenses at EOM June went relatively smoothly. Currently working on appraisal company licenses, due Aug 1.
- Working with Land Title Assn on creating temp exemption for notary processes that would use video, when people have not completed remote notarization preparations that were authorized by the Legislature previously. Bill is being proposed for August Special Session. Concerns are being expressed by some notaries.
- Continuing to ww insurers on testing issues that have been reported. i.e. people being asked to pay for COVID-19 diagnostic tests… issues in how the providers are handling those issues. Ww MDH to communicate federal law re this.
- Continue to ww utility companies on projects they can promote to help jumpstart the economy. Will continue into the Fall. PUC needs to authorize those projects.
DLI, Nicole Blissenbach
- Work Comp Claims: as of Monday, just over 2800 so far. Still seeing largest portion of those in healthcare occupations, but also a number of others as well.
- A lot of questions into OSHA unit (about 250 calls/day) re face covering EO released last Wed. one of the biggest areas of questions has to do with exemptions and what constitutes a hazard that would be created by wearing one while working.
- Will be updating FAQ list to address more specific questions… bottom line – this really should be a “hazard,” not just uncomfortable or inconvenient. One ex would be: an individual welding, already wearing face protection…
- When can face covering be removed? When individual is alone… not “socially distanced” but, instead, the only one in a room or cubicle (if walls are over face level and socially distanced).
Revenue, Cynthia Bauerly
- Re CARES Act # to municipalities: now pushed about $800M of the available $841M across the state.
- Watching federal level; continued changes to guidance coming from Treasury and communicating with recipients.
- Also tracking Congress and next Coronavirus Relief Package. House version has $ for cities; Senate version does not.
- In the Spring, as businesses needed to close, we had extended grace periods re tax filing deadlines. As deadlines are upon us, want to ensure people know we are available to ww you. If you received bill/notice re tax filing, or if you received penalty/interest notice (but you couldn’t file due to COVID), give us a call. Can set up payment plans and have committed to waiving penalties/interest if non-filing was due to COVID. Please contact us.
- CARES Act $: will DEED be releasing guidance on CARES Act Business Assistance for smaller cities to follow? A lot of misinformation floating around. Bauerly: work we are doing with MMB is to ensure those questions/confusion re eligible expense are being addressed. Fed statute/guidance from Treasury dictates, but doesn’t cover every scenario. Revenue site links directly to MMB website for more info. If you have questions, can send thru DEED website to get to MMB or connect to Amy Jorgenson, lead of Internal Audit at MMB and providing the guidance… happy to join local conversations. Working with cities, township assns, etc., to get info available.
- CARES Act $: can be used for govt utility or payment of tax obligations? Is this explicitly excluded from eligible uses? Bauerly: previously, had to be COVID-related expenses or due to loss of business resulting from. New guidance that opened this up. Now can be used for, ex, revenue replacement for local govts. How that translates to the grants to businesses is still being understood.
- Many questions for DLI: are protective mouth shields acceptable for business owners to wear instead of a mask? Blissenbach: face shields? No, unless you’re an individual specifically allowed instead of a face covering due to exemptions.” Face covering” is defined in EO. Different from a face shield, which are not as protective. A portion of EO talks about schooling and there are some options in that context.
- We are using a survey system requiring employees to take temp at home and report. Now the co has temp screening equipment to screen employees at entrance. What is your guidance on best practices? Blissenbach: all businesses should address, though I don’t have best practices advice. At home vs at work, I haven’t seen any studies on that. EEOC does make it clear that they will allow a temp check (is not an impermissible medical exam under MN Human Rights Act).
- We are seeing increased cases statewide and nationally due to people participating in large group gatherings. How should we treat employees who voluntarily attend such gatherings, putting themselves at risk? And is state considering policy to address this? Blissenbach: would be good to have Commissioner Grove here for this one. MDH is following trends and source of outbreaks… but what can employers do? Best guidance would be to stick to health screening. This is the most effective thing. If people are showing any symptoms, they must immediately leave the workplace. There are options for employers to implement different policies or procedures to help identify people quicker, but nothing at state level that I’m aware of.
- If employee is out due to COVID, once they get negative COVID test, when can they get back to work? Blissenbach: MDH has those guidelines. I don’t have that with me here, but you can search for it.
- Can you hold an outdoor dance if we can be socially distanced? And please confirm how new mandate addresses 2 people in a golf cart w/o plexiglass. Peterson: EO says wear mask and be 6′ apart. So an outdoor dance with these limitations is possible. In a golf cart, can’t have 2 people in it (if you’re not in same family). Blissenbach: EO states that, for indoor/outdoor private social gatherings, that falls under the “strongly encouraged.” So if the dance is private social gathering, then face coverings are “strongly encouraged.” Re golf, there was guidance released but I ask you to look it up because I can’t confirm.
- Questions about weddings and bocce ball tournament… Peterson: read EO carefully about “private gathering” guidance. Blissenbach: athletes in outdoor events, masks are “strongly encouraged” rather than mandated.
- A number of questions re plan to have mask distribution for schools. Peterson: no plan for that right now. Governor will speak to plan for schools in the Fall… will know more after that and address this question.
- What % of unemployed workers are receiving the extra $600? Peterson: we have that info but not with me right now. Will follow up and share next week.
- Can coworkers drive together in car? Blissenbach: mask would be required.
- Food processing mftrs and mask wearing: will state consider providing flexibility to mftrs where mask or shield provides food risk? If 6′ apart, is it possible for them not to wear a mask? Blissenbach: if the situation would be where individual wearing covering wold create hazard for self or others, that is an exemption to the face covering requirement. That has to be a job hazard. Contact OSHA to help with that determination.