Business relief package
Governor Walz announced loosened restrictions to the current “Pause” today as he signed a business and unemployment relief bill into law today. Starting at midnight on Saturday morning the following items will go into effect:
- Bars and restaurants will be allowed to resume outdoor dining. It will be limited to 50% capacity, or 100 customers. Indoor dining and drinking at the establishments will not be permitted at least through Jan. 11.
- Fitness studios and gyms will be able to reopen at a quarter of their capacity with a 100 person limit. People must wear masks and maintain 12 feet of social distancing. Fitness classes can resume Jan. 4.
- Youth sports teams will be able to start practicing on Jan. 4.
- Family gatherings will be allowed with one other household, up to 10 people, and up to two other households outside.
- Outdoor entertainment venues will be open at 25% of their capacity, with a 100 person maximum.
Business Relief Program
The Minnesota Legislature passed a $216 million business relief package at this week’s special session. This funding package is broken down into three components – $88 million in direct relief payments from the Department of Revenue to businesses closed as a result of the current “Pause”, $114 million to Minnesota counties to support businesses and $14 million in direct relief payments from Department of Employment and Economic Development for movie theaters and convention centers. Included with the funding support were waivers to State fees and extension of unemployment benefits. More information will be coming out soon. Below are more details on what is known now.
Direct Payments to Businesses
The Department of Revenue shared the following information on the pool of $88 million for direct business relief. Payments range from $10,000 to $45,000, depending on the number of employees.
Eligible Businesses This program provides direct payments to businesses required to temporarily close or reduce services in November under Executive Order 20-99. Businesses in the following categories, as reported by the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance program, may be eligible:
- Full- and limited-service restaurants
- Cafeterias and buffets
- Breweries with taprooms
- Family wineries with tasting rooms
- Distilleries with tasting rooms
- Bowling centers
- Gyms and fitness centers
Program Requirements We will send payments to eligible businesses that meet the rest of the program requirements:
- Located in Minnesota
- Had at least $10,000 in taxable sales in 2019
- Filed Sales Tax returns in 2019 and 2020
- Experienced a 30% drop in year-over-year taxable sales for April-September periods
- Required to temporarily close or reduce services by Executive Order 20-99
Relief Payment Amounts Eligible businesses will receive a payment based on their number of employees and participation in the state Unemployment Insurance system. The payments are considered taxable income and will be calculated as shown below.
EMPLOYEES (FULL- AND PART-TIME)
1 to 20
21 to 100
101 to 300
301 or more
Qualifying small businesses not in the state’s Unemployment Insurance system will receive $10,000.
- We will use current tax and unemployment records to determine what businesses are eligible and the amount of their aid payment.
- We will notify eligible businesses through their e-Services account by December 31, 2020.
- We will mail payments to eligible businesses in early-January 2021. Payments will be mailed to the main sales tax account address. Electronic payments are not available for this program.
More Information We’ll update our website with the latest payment and program information.
Business Supports to Minnesota Counites
Minnesota Counties will receive $114 million to be then distributed to businesses within the county. The amount each County receives will be through a formula. More information will come out when Hennepin County provides details on its allocation. Businesses can receive relief dollars both from the direct funds through the Department of Revenue listed above and through the county relief program.
Direct Aid to Movie Theaters and Convention Centers
The Department of Employment and Economic Development will award $14 million in grants to assist movie theaters and convention centers.
- Qualifying movie theaters will receive a grant of $15,000 per screen for the first two screens in the theater and an additional $10,000 for each additional screen, with a maximum grant per theater of $150,000.
- Specifies that grant funds must be used for the operating expenses of that theater.
- Qualifying convention centers will receive a grant of up to $500,000 in an amount in proportion to the size of the venue and its workforce.
The Department of Agriculture will create a program to waive the late fees if a licensed food retailer, manufacturer, wholesaler, or broker renews their license after the applicable deadline in 2021.
- Waives the annual caterer’s permit and 2:00 a.m. permit fees in the calendar year 2021.
- Requires the Metropolitan Council to refund wastewater permit fee paid in 2020 to breweries that produce less than 20,000 barrels per year. Also requires the council to apply for a credit up to $2,000 for strength charges incurred in 2020 to any brewery that falls within the Metropolitan Council Environmental Services Microbrewery Program.
- Appropriates $142,000 from the general fund in the fiscal year 2021 to the Metropolitan Council to offset wastewater revenue lost from issuing the refunds and credits to breweries under section 2.
Additional Unemployment Benefits
Provides up to 13 weeks of additional special unemployment benefits to individuals who exhaust their regular unemployment benefits, state, federal extended benefits, and not receiving benefits under CARES Act, other federal employment extension benefits, or any other extension benefits at the state or federal levels.
- Makes benefits available from the unemployment insurance trust fund from December 27, 2020, through April 10, 2021