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AV CHAMBER NOTE: They started the conference today with DEED Commissioner saying they are listening to “THE MOST AUTHENTIC VOICES ARE BUSINESS, CHAMBERS AND TRADE ASSOCIATIONS.”
Today’s midday conference really has clear guidance on many topics including a new $62 million grants for businesses from DEED with $18 million for businesses 6 employees or less. They give clear guidance of mask wearing, restaurants, weddings, city enforcement of preparedness plans and Executive Orders from the Governor, golf carts, fraudulent Unemployment Insurance claims from the dark web etc.
  • Critical Sector preparedness plans(by 6/20)—Share w. employees, customers
  • Phase 4
  • Safety builds consumer confidence
  • Governor signed Small Business Emergency Grant ($62.5 million from CARES)
  • Utilities disconnecting extension
  • Licensure
  • Real Estate Licenses June 30th deadline
  • DEED & Department role in civil unrest rebuilding
  • Workman’s Comp Claims
  • Inspection Code
  • Are non-profits eligible for new program
  • Clarity on the Small Business Emergency Grants
  • Phase 3 reopening, wedding venues capacity
  • City authority to see your business plan
  • Is employee mask wearing a mandate
  • Many not following guidelines
  • Complaints can cause review of your preparedness plans
  • OSHA and Preparedness Plan enforcement
  • Restaurant Workers Maske (ALL)
  • Doubling up on grants (can’t double dip)
  • Employee’s turned down for testing
  • Golf Carts with two riders
  • Indoor Adult Sporting Leagues opening
  • Laid off employee refuses to return. Is Unemployment cut off?
  • False Unemployment from mostly dark web “bad actors”. Your bus. ID stolen.
  • DEED will release names of companies that received SBEL from State.


2020 06 18
Thursday June 18, 2020
10:56 AM
Steve Kelley, Commissioner of Commerce
Nicole Blissenbach, Asst Commissioner of Department of Labor and Industry
Steve Grove, Commissioner of DEED
Kevin McKinnon, Deputy 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?
Questions are being circulated into the forum through this regular communication. Always seeking ideas for more targeted supports.
DEED, Steve Grove
  • Released on Monday new templates, in partnership with DLI, to create preparedness plans. Every business now needs one, including critical sectors. Helpful guides. Core ask: plans to coincide with CDC and MDH guidelines, and provide clarity for both workers and customers.
  • www.Mn.gov/deed/safework
  • Call to action for this group: a lot more of the economy is now open, most every sector has some options to reopen. Get a lot of questions about timing for Phase 4, and when existing restrictions will be changed. Definitely an active discussion. What is key: we all need to act in a way that is safe, to mitigate the spread of this disease. A lot of the most authentic voices are business, chambers, trade associations. Our ask to you is to emphasize the safety message right now. Builds consumer confidence, which is goal to encourage people to safely reengage in commerce. To help jump-start the economy. Safety message is an economic viability message.
  • Other states are having flare-ups. We want to avoid this. is a humble ask and request, partnership on this.
  • Actively discussing what restrictions we can continue to lift.
  • Monday, Governor signed into law the Small Business Emergency Grant program. DEED, Senate, House partnered together to create. $62.5M Federal CARES $ going into this program. Will be run out of DEED, all grants. Will be built on lottery system.
  • Basics of the new SBEG program (McKinnon)
  • Guidelines will be on website later today.
  • $31.25M for Greater MN, through Initiative Foundations.
  • $31.25M for metro, through 11 NPs we work with through our Emerging Entrepreneur Lending Program.
  • Criteria created through law, we will have out later today.
  • Application process should open next week.
  • By law, application process will be open for 10 days. Goal is to be done before 7/4, and then get lottery done and grants disbursed immediately after.
  • Carve-outs:
  • $18M for fewer than 6 emp
  • $10M for MBEs
  • $2.5M for VBEs
  • $2.5M WBEs
  • Marketing extensively. More to come today.
Commerce, Steve Kelley
  • Continuation from last week: have had some success ww our utilities to have commitments related to avoiding disconnections or applying MN Cold Weather Role for the next couple months. Positive development.
  • Monitoring financial institutions.
  • Licensure side: beginning to move back to more regular license deadlines. One more to consider coming up: June 30 renewal deadline for real estate licenses. At this time, since we have not heard from many people that they’ve been unable to do what they need to do to renew licenses, our intention (absent additional info) will be to get back to regular schedule. Not finalized yet.
  • On initial licenses, ww Pearson Vue on its testing capacity. Backlog of applicants.
  • Along with DEED and other depts, involved in rebuilding in the areas affected by civil unrest and ww our insurers… # of insurance claims arising as a result, assisting public authorities to determine any additional resources necessary to help get businesses back into operation. Continuing effort with insurance stakeholders.
DLI, Nicole Blissenbach
  • Work comp claims related to COVID 19: over 1600 now.
  • Inspection Codes and Licensing: amendments to 2018 Residential Code are now virtual seminars. Can get CE credits. On website.
  • New requirement re critical sector businesses also needing preparedness plan by 6/20: was in EO 20-74.
  • Be sure to cover the 7 required topics listed in the template
  • Also look at industry-specific guidance. See StaySafe website.
  • Share plans with workers/customers. State does not need to review.
  • OSHA Consultation is staffing phones and is ready to help with your company-specific questions.
  1. With Legislature passing SBEG program this past weekend, are 501c6 eligible to apply? Chambers and others… McKinnon: as of now, more guidance this afternoon, NPs are not named in the law. And the sectors that were affected by various EOs are the ones that really were the intent. So it doesn’t look like NPs are eligible.
  2. Can you provide info on grant sizes available for the SBEG? McKinnon: up to $10K. With 60M or so, will do about 6K grants to businesses. Is important to understand that this is federal CARES Act $. Ramsey and Hennepin counties also received CARES Act $, and businesses will be able to get only one. Working closely with them both on their award winners to ensure no duplication.
  3. As guidance comes out, are there best practices established so smaller communities can ensure we support businesses in a timely manner? $ must be used by EOY… Dannon: this is about using the CARES Act $. Bill still making its way through Legislature, not yet signed by Gov, that will allocate funds to local communities per capita. That will be driven by Dept of Revenue. Not yet done, and I would imagine Revenue will provide a great deal of guidance in coming weeks.
  4. Under Phase 3 of reopening, are wedding venues allowed 25% or 50% up to a 250-person max? Grove: 25%. And that’s congruent with indoor entertainment.
  5. Preparedness plans: can a city request to see a business’s plan? Also, seeing input out there that “wearing masks as employee is guideline not mandate.” is this right? Blissenbach: re a city requesting to see a plan – why are they asking? Some have depts that enforce certain city ordinances, like Mpls has a labor standards unit in the City and through that they can request documents (including preparedness plan). So it depends on the power of that dept… investigation, etc. re wearing of masks as guideline rather than mandate, guidance does require employees to wear masks. Grove confirmed this. we are seeing reports of different establishments not following guidelines, and that’s troubling. Highly encourage customers to wear masks as well… we are not out of the woods yet, and we need to continue with this safety message. OR, FL are 2 examples of states that are backing down again… we don’t want that to happen. Peterson: remember there are municipalities with additional requirements beyond the state’s guidance.
  6. Who enforces the preparedness plan completion? And what are penalties if they’re not completed? Blissenbach: required by EO. Enforcement of EO can be done by law enforcement, AG office… more common ways it will come up, esp re preparedness plans, will be through MN OSHA. When they do a routine inspection or in response to a complaint, one of the first things they do is ask for copy of preparedness plan. Will walk through it to ensure requirements are covered and being implemented. Goal is not to have a “gotcha.” instead, is to ensure people understand the safety and health protocols to be implemented. Typically dealt with through employer making changes. This process is working successfully. Beyond that, important to note that some licensing entities can have some enforcement if the business is regulated.
  7. Restaurant workers: are masks required of ALL workers, or just servers? Grove: all workers.
  8. Does preparedness plan guidance for transportation and delivery services apply to private RR? Or should they use general guidance? Grove: templates out there are for optional use. Meant to be a resource, not requirement. Overall guidance docs are intended to shape the safety plans. Blissenbach: guidance docs are specifically tailored to industries. That said, your industry may not fit perfectly. Structured in such a way that you can pull out pieces that apply to you, add them to your plan, and not implement the items that don’t apply. You may need to look at more than 1 guidance doc. Like a grocery story with a restaurant in it. That ex would use both grocery and restaurant guidance…
  9. SBEG: McKinnon just said businesses can’t get 2 grants from CARES $ (like from Ramsey/Hennepin and then from DEED). Will this be the same for SBEG and then local business assistance – if funds are used for a different eligible purpose? McKinnon: yes, if there’s a different eligible purpose. But my guess would be, we’re trying to help as many businesses as we can. $10K might not be a lot, but there are hundreds of thousands of businesses in our state and we’re trying to make this go as far as we can. Is an issue, ensuring you can’t “double dip” and use the same expenses. Ours is clear what you can pay for: rent, utilities, etc. Counties and cities’ guidance may be a little different.
  10. Asymptomatic employees who got tests (in GreaterMN) and denied tests. Peterson: MDH wants to receive email to learn more about the clinics that are turning people down. Want to follow up because they should be available.
  11. Under Phase 3, can golf courses have 2 golfers in the cart that are not in the same household? Grove: I want to check the golf guidance. My sense is that you can’t… let me talk to Sports Team, circle back.
  12. What’s the guidance for indoor adult sporting league – can it be open with fewer than 25 people, and the facility is under 25% fire code and following all social distancing? Grove: yes.
  13. UI: if you have laid off employee due to COVID-19 and you’re ready to bring them back, if they refuse to return to work, are they still eligible for UI? Grove: details matter here. Guiding principles: with healthy worker and not special circumstances related to vulnerability or childcare, then UI can’t continue to pay them if they have the ability to go back to work. Is more complex than that broad statement. If there are questions, engage directly to UI team based on weekly benefit request you make.
  14. UI: increased reports from businesses of fraudulent UI claims under their business names. What measures are being implemented to reduce? And is there anything we can do? Grove: these fraudulent claims are on the rise, to be sure, across the country. All are made largely by bad actors using SSNs from “dark web” sources. No breach of our system, move very quickly to turn back those fraudulent claims. Every UI system in the country has a % of fraudulent claims. Connect with FTC and law enforcement to let them know – your business ID may have been stolen.
  15. Will DEED be releasing the names of companies that received SBEL now that that program has sunsetted? McKinnon: yes. Program still is reallocating some $ from lenders that had some left, but about $29.3M is out. Names of the thousand businesses will be released. not sure how quickly that will happen, hopefully relatively soon.
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