DEED Call Notes 8/6/2020
APPLE VALLEY CHAMBER NOTE: The following is a good recap of many of the grant programs for businesses. The County is excepting applications until August 14th for their $10 million in grants up to $10K each business accepted. The City of Apple Valley last Thursday when we testified before City Council, has approved $400,000 in $10,000 grants for businesses but applications forms are not quite ready yet.
—DEED loans recap
—Unemployment Ins Resources
—Guide for small businesses needing help
—Review of $62.5 M SBRG program lottery
—Business names will be released
—$2.5 million for cultural malls for $250K each
—Mask Mandate update (If can work home, you MUST)
—Safe Learning School Plan
—Appraiser Licensing Renewals due
—Low income energy assistance
—Childcare Tier 1 workers
—Local funding for Covid $841M distributed, 83 counties
—743 Cities/towns requested (Apple Valley $4 million)
—Cities may pool money with other cities
—CARES ACT rules for city
—No federal restrictions on how cities distribute
—Can employer ask employee to come into the office
—Do some insurance companies not cover cover test?
—Gyms and masks
2020 08 06 Call, DEED
Thursday, August 6, 2020
Peter Brickley, Asst Commissioner of Commerce
Nicole Blissenbach, Asst Commissioner of Department of Labor and Industry
Cynthia Bauerly, Commissioner of Revenue
Mary Cathryn Ricker, Commissioner of Dept of Education
Anna Peterson, Chief of Staff, DEED
Kevin McKinnon, Deputy Commissioner of DEED
Darielle Dannon, Legislative Director
DEED, Kevin McKinnon
- Resources and information for businesses: https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/
- Resources and information for Unemployment Insurance: https://www.uimn.org/
- Guide for MN Small Businesses who need help
- $62.5M Small Business Relief Grant (SBRG) program 6 weeks ago…
- lottery done, initial winners sent to NP partners (15 across the state) to confirm eligibility.
- Some NPs had up to 900 grantees to work with….. Asking for patience.\
- $10K grant awards to businesses: when awards are made, will release a list of businesses who receive the funding.
- 1/2 is for Greater MN, 1/2 for 7-county metro.
- Another component: $2.5M associated with cultural malls, assisting tenants within. Earlier this week, announced the 12 malls awarded. Max of $250K each.
- Mask mandate update
- Numbers are starting to move up a bit. We hope the mandate will help and will be reflected in the numbers moving forward.
- This week: Telecommuter Forward, broadband program
- Certify communities that have good partnerships with broadband providers to improve broadband in their areas… and promote telecommuter-friendly workspaces.
- This week will announce communities certified most recently…
- Broadband grant program is open and accepting applications through 9/30 for $20M funding from legislature a couple years ago.
- PUA (pandemic unemployment assistance) $600/week package that ended EOM July
- Continue to follow discussions at Congressional level
Education, Commissioner Ricker
- Last Thurs, Safe Learning Plan
- Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan: Click here to see the details of the full plan.
- Localized decision making using up to date data, grounded in science.
- In June, asked school systems to plan for 3 scenarios: in-person, hybrid, distance learning in a pandemic. May see all 3 scenarios in this upcoming year…
- Goal 1: students and staff are safe.
- Goal 2: prioritize in person learning, particularly for youngest learners, when it is safe to do so.
- Plan is to regularly provide county-level health data, 14-day average, to help the districts make decisions. Best case scenario for learning model, tracking to changing data.
- Learning model they start with does not need to be the same model they finish the year with.
Commerce, Peter Brickley
- In the midst of appraiser licensing. Renewals due EOM August. On track.
- National Assn of Insurance Commissioners summer national meeting is underway virtually this year.
- Tracking federal spending negotiations, particularly funding for LIEAP, low income energy assistance program. Commerce administers this program. Subset of larger discussion around another potential federal stimulus package.
DLI, Nicole Blissenbach
- Workers comp: big jump, over 3700 claims now.
- Additional calls since EO related to schools. Many around employees. How does FFCRA fit in here… can they telework, can they request reasonable accommodations due to health conditions…
- And who is covered under “childcare must be provided to tier 1 workers..” may have access to this during school day even if school not “in session.”
- Answers depend on eligibility of the various version of leave/childcare available…
- Still mandated: if you CAN work from home, you MUST.
- Contact us with questions.
Revenue, Commissioner Bauerly
- Update Local Coronavirus Relief Fund distribution: as of this week, $817M of the $841M distributed.
- About 83 counties have come in. awaiting on 2 to request.
- 743 cities/towns have made their requests.
- 2-3 more distribution dates coming up.
- Opportunities to provide economic assistance to businesses if you don’t have an EDA: that is a local charter issue.
- Program allows for arrangements between jurisdictions to pool their resources and use those funds. If one doesn’t have an EDA, pool with neighbors for joint efforts.
- DEED sent email yesterday to all who applied but not chosen in lottery for SBRG… asked them to provide authority to share their name/application with their city/county.
- Commissioner Ricker, will you be updating priority worker list? list currently reflects summer care but not school year. Ricker: working on summer care list, reviewing for the school year.
- CARES Act funds: can a city transfer any/all of their funds to school districts? Together with:
- Can CARES Act funds be used for churches, schools, and/or daycares? Bauerly: federal guidance on this, housed on MMB website. Those funds can be used by local govts for grants to businesses. Doesn’t specify what kind of entity it needs to be. Not aware of restrictions for NPs, for example. General purpose is expenditures related to COVID. Other funding is headed to schools from federal govt for Coronavirus relief as well.
- Who/what dept should I speak with re eligible expenses for local govt units receiving CARES Act $? i.e. broadband for distance learning… Bauerly: MMB is managing and working through the accountability… Amy Jorgenson is providing guidance. Let’s connect these people directly.
- If a city has an EDA, must they use that EDA to distribute small business relief grants? Or can City Council distribute based no public purpose? Bauerly: no federal/state limitation on the local govt distributing funds. My understanding is that this is a local decision/guided by local charter.
- Are cities/counties required to distribute a minimum $ or % to businesses/individuals affected? Is some $ dedicated to one or the other? Bauerly: no requirements for set-asides for any particular purpose. Up to local determination.
- Can Nicole talk more about home flexibility issues? When is it ok for employer to ask employee who can work from home to come into office and not have it be a violation? Blissenbach: if you can work from home, you must. If you do have some job responsibilities that cannot be performed at home, must go to office. Is individual determination.
- And can you explain new “Work From Home” enforcement initiative? Human Rights Division is responding to calls/email from workers who are being asked by employers to return to work. Successful when working with employer/employee together to work on a solution.
- Mandatory face coverings may be temporarily removed when an individual is alone. Should still carry face covering… if in cab of bobcat or loader, must put back on when out of equipment. Is this the same for business/commercial vehicles…? Blissenbach; yes, addressed in EO. Alone in vehicle or cab of machinery…. Can unmask. Once you exit that alone space, must replace mask. But if you are outdoors, guidance requires mask only if you can’t maintain social distancing.
- If a person is being asked to pay for COVID testing through a drive-in test side, because clinic coded it as office visit rather than just test, what action should the individual take? Peterson: MDH says to contact the insurance company. Doesn’t apply to office visit. Some insurance companies have agreed to waive cost of visit, but not all of them. Brickley: as a coda… the prohibition on cost sharing applies to diagnostic tests ordered by your doctor. Commerce has gotten reports as well of confusion over charges for additional services provided while also getting tested for COVID. So Commerce can be a resource as well.
- Where do I find CARES Act guidance on MMB webpage? Bauerly: MMB home page, search for “CARES.”
- A family mbr only has been required to wear face mask when checking into gym, but not while working out. Blissenbach: EO does have exception for when people are working out, 6′ apart.