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APPLE VALLEY CHAMBER NOTE: New variant virus IS in MN now as noted below. If continue 60,000 vaccines/week, would take 3.5 Years for all MN to get vaccinated! Wow. They are really waiting for more Federal vaccines quickly. If new President through OSHA sets emergency higher standards for the workforce, MN being state planned would still have to be at least as strict (see below). Tax filing begins Feb. 12th. If you applied at 65+ which opened at noon yesterday but most couldn’t get through, if you got to an online “waiting room,” the state will be contacting you to set up for a vaccines.
—Governor budget released next Tuesday
—Unemployment 4.4%, people stopped looking
   (Good news: Less than 10% on UI call themselves permanently laid off)
—Restaurants beginning to fill
—Convention Centers/Theatre grants accepted until next Friday 1/29
—Covid numbers holding steady (no Christmas bump)
—UK Virus IS IN MN (35-50% more contagious)
—60K vaccines a week would take 3.5 years
—Yesterday’s pilot program online for 65+ crashed
—Mobilized National Guard and more agencies to help
—FHA loans, deadline of EOM for relief is Feb. Talk to your lender. (EOM is alternative to FHA requiring only 3.5% down payment)
—Talk of OSHA issuing emergency workplace higher Covid standards
—Mandated paid leave expired, Can provide on your own as employer.
—Tracking new bills in state legislature.
—Feb. 12th is federal and MN filing first day. Tax preparers can accept returns before then but must wait until then to file.
—Phone # to call if you didn’t get relief payment you think you should
   (Last day to appeal or apply is Feb. 5th)
—County grants only if no tax liens to the state of local governments
—If you tried yesterday to get scheduled 65+, and got to their waitlist, MN Dept. of Health will contact you when there is an opening.

2021 01 21 Call, DEED

Thursday, January 21, 2021

10:53 AM

Beth Johnston, Policy Advisor Dept of Revenue

Max Zappia, Asst Commissioner of Commerce

Steve Grove, Commissioner of DEED

Kevin McKinnon, Asst Commissioner of DEED

Elizabeth Frosch, Chief of Staff, DEED

Mark Simmer, staff, DEED

Nicole Blissenbach, Asst Commissioner of DLI

Dan Huff, Asst Commissioner of MDH

Darielle Dannen, Gov Relations Director, DEED

Jen Gates, Comms, DEED


Helpful Links:


COVID-19 Information for Businesses – Stay Safe Guidance

COVID-19 Information for Minnesotans – Covid-19 Information and Resources

Minnesota Unemployment Insurance – Minnesota Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program

Information for Businesses – A Guide for Minnesota Small Businesses Who Need Help

MN Dept. of Health

Businesses & Employers – Businesses and Employers: COVID-19

New COVID vaccine tracking: https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/index.jsp

MN Dept. of Labor & Industry


MN Dept. of Commerce

Commerce COVID-19 Updates

DEED, Steve Grove

  • Governor’s proposed budget will be released 1/26/2021.
  • Unemployment rate is down to 4.4%.
  • People have stopped looking for work, so this is not a good barometer of recovery.
  • 67.5% labor participation rate, down from 70% in Feb 2020. still 5+ percentage. points above the national average.
  • Less than 10% of those who got on UI last month describe themselves as “permanently laid off.”
  • OpenTable data says that people are coming back to the restaurants.
  • Remain cautiously optimistic.
  • www.Mn.gov/deed for deeper dive.
  • Convention center/movie theatre grants
  • Still accepting applications, due 1/29/2021.
  • County programs are in full gear.
  • All 87 counties have received their $ from MMB.
  • Most programs are open to servicing their direct communities.

MDH, Dan Huff

  • Pleased with where our numbers are now.
  • Not seen a significant bump in numbers after Christmas and New Year’s.
  • At 6000 deaths now in MN, a tragedy.
  • Cautiously optimistic; in a race between vaccinations and the virus/new variant(s).
  • UK variant IS in MN, expected to be 30-50% more contagious, based on epidemiological studies.
  • Vaccine:
  • We had a plan, working on Group 1A (LTC and medical providers/first responders)
  • Fed govt asked us to target all Group 1 (65+, preexisting conditions)
  • Fed govt promised more supply to support this plan, but they don’t have sufficient.
  • 60K vaccines/week. At that rate, to give every Minnesotan 2 vaccines, will take 3.5 years.
  • Planning continues: pivoted based upon new guidance.
  • What has remained constant is the supply from fed govt.
  • Expanding to allow for a pilot program, new traunch: those who are 65+ and our educators. 12K doses of vaccine to these 2 groups.
  • In this pilot, community mass vaccination sites are being stood up, web based system for sign-up (has crashed once already).
  • Entire state operation has been mobilized, with multiple agencies and National Guard.
  • Ultimately, we need more vaccines. Steadily increasing the # of people vaccinated. I don’t know when we will be able to expand the reach.

Commerce, Max Zappia

  • Not many new updates from last week.
  • Commerce is tracking mortgage forbearance opportunities from fed guaranteed loans in CARES Act
  • Press release earlier this month: if your loans are backed by FHA, deadline of EOM Feb. talk to your lender immediately about relief you think you may need (as it relates to COVID).
  • This issue could adjust with new Administration.
  • As we get more clarifying information, we will get it out.
  • Several policy proposals in from of the Legislature. Commissioner is testifying today.

DLI, Nicole Blissenbach

  • Skip workers comp and OSHA updates, they haven’t changed from last week.
  • Tracking at the federal level: there is talk about federal OSHA possibly issuing emergency workplace standards to protect workers from COVID in the workplace.
  • If that were to happen, though MN is a state-planned program, we’d need to enforce standards at least as effective as fed standards.
  • Types of standards being discussed: are being enforced already in MN, because MDH guidelines already are pretty strict and OSHA is enforcing.
  • FFCRA provisions expired on 12/31/2020.
  • Lots of discussion with new Administration.
  • Again, mandated paid leave expired, but employers CAN provide paid leave and receive the tax credit. Available thru 3/31/2021.
  • FFCRA tax credits” on IRS website.
  • Tracking bills introduced in MN Legislature, COVID-related.
  • Emergency paid leave on state level
  • Recall and retention rights for certain workers in hospitality industry.

Revenue, Beth Johnston

  • This week, MN individual filing season opens on 2/12/2021, same day as federal filing season.
  • Tax and software providers may be accepting returns before 2/12, but will submit when the systems open.
  • Last week, initial business relief payments to nearly 4K eligible businesses. Part of legislation signed last month.
  • Businesses that didn’t get relief payment but think they qualify (or if amount was wrong), use online inquiry process. Open thru 2/5/2021.


1.   County programs require that a business has no lien against it to the state. Can you clarify? McKinnon: intent there is that there are no current tax liens to state or local units of govt. Construction or other liens may be on a filing, but we’re looking specifically at liens to govt.

2.   If someone tried to schedule through pilot program on Tuesday, on wait list, will they be contacted when spots open or do they try again? Grove: Dan Huff had to step away. I believe you don’t have to try again, but will confirm with MDH and get back to you.

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