APPLE VALLEY CHAMBER NOTE: Instead of a table of contents for today’s notes, we encourage you to read it fully. It discusses DEED’s response as to IF DEC. 18TH OPEN DATE WILL OPEN. It’s interesting about the number of OSHA calls that have been placed with Attorney General, Dept. Public Safety and MN Dept. of Health (over 15,000 calls, 1161 citations and only 117 were COVID related). There have been 21 complaints about gyms/fitness and only 9 on bars and restaurants. Later you will see a great deal about THE APP BEING INTRODUCED TO ALERT YOU IF ANYONE AROUND YOU HAS HAD COVID EXPOSURE (as well as its privacy concerns), and the second paragraph from the end shows a COMMENT ABOUT BUSINESSES/RESTAURANTS BEING “JERKED AROUND” WITH THE DEC. 18TH TIMELINE PLAN. Today’s is really informative information. Please read it fully.
2020 12 03 Call, DEED
Thursday, December 3, 2020
Peter Brickwedde, Asst Commissioner of Commerce
Robert Doty, Asst Commissioner of Revenue
Beth Johnson, Dept of Revenue Policy Advisor
Terek Tomes, Commissioner of MNIT/CIO, COVID app (MN IT Services)
Steve Grove, Commissioner of DEED
Mark Simmer, staff, DEED
Jen Gates, Comms
Darielle Dannon, Legislative Director, DEED
Kevin McKinnon, Deputy Commissioner for ED, DEED
Nicole Blissenbach, DLI
DEED, Steve Grove
· Dial-back measures
o Challenging but essential to protect people and economy long-term
o Recognize this is an existential threat for so many businesses
o Holding so many roundtables, one-on-one conversations…. Understand the trade-offs
o Big question: what happens on 12/18? Not yet decided. A lot of data is being looked at, how virus is developing. There ARE some promising signs.
o Virus/case/death counts aren’t rapidly improving, but are improving somewhat
o We are hoping people adhered to guidance over Thanksgiving, waiting to see results of the holiday weekend. Still in the lag time re data.
o We know how important advance warning is. And we know how painful the last alert, within 48 hours of implementation, was. Spoiled goods, lost revenue opportunities, nothing short of tragic. Without moving that quickly, hospitals would have been in even worse shape than they are.
o As it relates to what it happens on 12/18, goal is to give more advance warning so businesses can prepare. Regardless of what that guidance is.
· Budget projections
o Huge shift from May in terms of 2020 surplus. Actually up $600M.
o How that $ is spent is the job of the Legislature/Gov office.
o Deep in negotiations this week on business relief package. Lots of good and thoughtful conversations with legislators, hospitality industry…
o Challenge is widespread across hospitality….
o What we’re hearing consistently: speed is critical. Need to negotiate package that will help businesses quickly.
o State package is a bridge till federal package can arrive. Close conversations with federal representatives. Rep Phillips, Sen Klobuchar are especially active on this….
o Hope to use surplus in a unique way, esp with delay in federal package.
o Deep engagement with business community remains critical.
Commerce, Peter Brickwedde
· Involved in legislative negotiations
· 2 weeks ago, more calls on COVID insurance line than in previous months. Connected to Minnesotans getting charges for COVID testing. Have been primarily resolved.
· Licensing exam/test center facilities:
o Continue to monitor closely.
o Facility in Fargo, primary service point for NW MN. As of 2 days ago, back online and open. Taking appointments for MN-based exams.
o Had some schedule crunches in metro due to personnel issues due to positive COVID employees.
o If you are having problems scheduling, please reach out to our staff so we can assist on an individual basis.
DLI, Nicole Blissenbach
· Workers Comp data
o Thru 11/18, approx 8500 claims classified as COVID-related.
o Continuing to track acceptance/denial rates re covered under Presumption language. In non-presumption industries/occupations, denial rate around 96%.
o In presumption industries/occupations, denial rate around 31%.
o Trend still continues.
o Working on report on effect of that presumption language which will include these #s. will be ready within next month.
· Occupational Safety and Health/OSHA
o #s through EOM Oct. Nov #s in next few days.
o OSHA email/phone inquiries March-Oct is approx 15K.
o From that, have opened 1343 non-formal complaints and 253 formal complaints. Of the formal, 130 are COVID-related.
o We have conducted 766 on-site inspections. Issued 1161 citations. That’s all citations, not just COVID. Of those, 117 are COVID-specific.
o 301 discrimination intakes and have opened 80 cases. Will cover people who claim to have been on receiving end of adverse employment actions after complaining of health/safety environment at work.
· Ww other agencies re complaints in response to last EO, related to businesses that are alleged to violate that order and remain open when they should be closed.
· With AG and DPS and MDH, received 21 complaints in gyms/fitness area.
o 9 complaints on bars/ restaurants
o 21 involving venues/events
o 12 involving misc category.
o Following up with coordinated agency. Achieving voluntary compliance in most. A few have required some further action.
Revenue, Beth Johnson
· Working with DEED on providing business relief programs. And ww legislature.
· Stressing: taxpayers experiencing financial hardship due to COVID and concerned about paying tax/agency debt can contact us and discuss options. Please call. we are committed to working with our customers during this difficult time.
· Updating our website to communicate COVID-related change for taxpayers.
MNIT, Tarek Tomes
· “COVID Aware MN” app re contact tracing efforts
· We need adoption from as many Minnesotans as possible.
· Is a tool built on exposure notification capability.
· Allows us to “bring phones to the fight”
· Launched last week Monday. In 1st week, 250K downloads. Already providing codes to people who have tested positive so they can warn others re potential exposure.
· Represents an opportunity: can help us reduce spread. Allows for much hoped-for ability to reopen.
· Challenge to reach everyone who has been exposed. Esp with exponential community spread right now. Don’t know who to notify…
· This is data privacy-centric app. Notifies people of potential exposure. The more who use, the more effective.
· Partnership with Google and Apple. Exposure notification framework. Only available to countries and states. No location is ever tracked, no identity is ever shared…
· App works 100% opt-in. available in Google and Apple stores.
· Phones generate a random # that constantly changes to protect their identity. When 2 phones are within 6 feet for 15 minutes, phones exchange these random #s via Bluetooth.
· Subsequently, when someone tests positive, have the choice to use the app to warn others.
· If they choose to do so, given unique code entered into app. People who had been within 6′ for 15 minutes receive an exposure notification warning. Doesn’t tell you who or where or even precise date/time. Just a range, “within last 3 days….” all to ensure data privacy is at the core of this.
· From an adoption perspective: even 10-15% adoption can really help slow the spread.
· From there you can quarantine and get tested.
· Opportunity is tremendous, while premise is simple: based on the willingness to adopt and warn others and then to follow the recommendations related to subsequent precautions.
· Our ask is to partner with you and promote the tool. www.covidawaremn.com includes complete kit for imaging, social media. Please share.
· Grove tells us we still have 6 mths ahead for broad distribution of vaccine. In many ways, the upcoming months will be harder than the last 6. this will help.
1. Re COVID app: a friend tested positive but didn’t get code. Another person said it took 4 days to get code. Is this anticipated? Tomes: app is absolutely working. Patient gets test at a location, get results. Subsequently, that positive test is forwarded to MDH. Contact tracing team provides the code, not the local test site. We’ve provided over 7K codes thus far. Average 1000 codes/day. Desire is to move that closer to actual testing date. But it is only provided for verified positive test. Can’t be triggered erroneously or maliciously.
2. Re COVID app: can someone from MNIT speak to this? People don’t believe there will be true privacy. Tomes: absolutely. Noteworthy: code developed in partnership with a NP org, the “PathCheck” group. Source code is in public domain. Those who live in that space have applauded the transparence re the make-up of this app and the safety/security measures. For those who understand what a tool like this could represent, state does not receive any contact/location info at all. Absolutely will make ourselves available to talk to different groups of people.
3. Business assistance: SD has 15-min COVID test for schools on site. When available in MN? Grove: no MDH official on to get best answer; will respond privately. That said, rapid escalation of testing availability. In terms of in-school testing, is happening in some cases but I will circle back with a better answer.
4. DLI: can DLI explain what fed emergency temp standard would do for employers or a new federal infections disease standard? Blissenbach: not sure what standard is being asked about. I might need more detail. related to change in quarantine time? Or related specifically to OSHA standards?
5. Comment: to avoid what feels like being jerked around, can we get realistic timeline to business re restrictions? Restaurants planning for 12/18 reopening, which we all now isn’t going to happen. Better for them to plan for longer restriction that is opened earlier rather than shorter time that is extended. Grove: last thing we want to do is jerk around this community. Last spike was so swift and fast, required quick action. No illusion that this was acceptable to the business community. Strong desire to provide advance notice and as much clarity as possible. Most challenging thing re this virus is its unpredictability. And in business, most important thing IS predictability. Consumer confidence also depends on this. so challenged/deflated… but it will come back. And part of that is consistency. Good news: the future of this is in our hands if we take care of ourselves, mask up, socially distance, wash our hands.. But I do hear the note about predictability, loud and clear. Is a fair comment and we take that to heart. As does the Governor.
6. OSHA issuing emergency temp standard early in Biden administration. Blissenbach: there has been talk re Federal OSHA issuing emergency standard early on in next administration. If that happens, we’d be enforcing Fed OSHA standards. If adopted, all employers subject to OSHA standards would be required to follow/implement that standard. Many emergency temp standards that have been adopted by states across the country are similar to MN. Like business preparedness plans, social distancing in the workplace, other administrative precautions where appropriate, etc. Don’t know what such a standard might say. Much of what is happening around the country we already are enforcing here.