In Minneapolis and around the globe, the Coronavirus pandemic presents an extraordinary public health crisis, and an extraordinary challenge for small businesses. As the City of Minneapolis works to shift our own operations to remote work, we are also moving quickly to respond to the questions and needs of our residents and businesses.
Thank you for everything that you are doing as individuals and organizations to both reduce the spread of the Coronavirus, and to support local businesses in all the ways you can. We are in this together.
How to Stay Updated
Mayor Frey’s office is inviting the Minneapolis business community to join an open call on Friday, March 20 at 11:00 a.m. to share information about how we are supporting our local businesses through the current the COVID-19 pandemic. You can also submit your questions in advance online.
Please register for Open Call for our Business/Employer Community: Office of Mayor Frey – City of Minneapolis on Mar 20, 2020 11:00 a.m. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
As you have questions about how City services, regulations, and resources impact your business or the businesses you serve, please check the FAQs. If you don’t see what you are looking for or have questions about your specific situation, contact the Small Business Team at (612) 673-2499 or SmallBusiness@minneapolismn.gov.
The state of Minnesota also has two dedicated COVID-19 hotlines:
Community mitigation (schools, child care, business) questions:
651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504
7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903
7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Many businesses in Minneapolis and across the state have been ordered temporarily closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These closures are intended to slow the spread of the virus, and protect our health systems and our most vulnerable community members.
Until March 27 at 5 p.m., the following types of businesses must be closed or significantly change their operations:
- All bars, restaurants, and coffee shops, and other places of public accommodation must be closed for in-person dining, but may continue to provide takeout and delivery service. Food establishments interested in a temporary food pick up zone may request signage through the Public Works Department
- Places of public accommodation include adult day care centers, which must be closed
- Spas, nail & hair salons must be closed
- Virtually all other businesses where people congregate for fun or entertainment (for example bowling alleys, theaters, fitness centers) must be closed
Sales tax grace period
Restaurants, bars and other businesses impacted by the temporary closures now have a 30-day grace period in paying sales and use tax, under a grace period announced yesterday by the Minnesota Department of Revenue. This means that affected businesses with a monthly Sales and Use Tax payment due March 20, 2020 will have until April 20 to make that payment. These customers should still file their return by March 20. Penalties or interest will not be assessed during the grace period. Find out more at the Minnesota Department of Revenue website.
Access to City Services
The City will continue to provide necessary services to businesses and residents; how those services are delivered will look differently in order to maintain the recommended social distancing practices. See the City’s main Coronavirus page for more detailed information about specific services or call 311.
For licensed businesses, Mayor Frey has issued a waiver of late fees for renewal of food, taxi, liquor, wine, beer, or catering licenses. This allows businesses additional time to submit renewals without penalty.
Resources for Small Businesses
The City is moving quickly to expand our technical assistance support to include specific guidance on COVID 19 response. Support includes:
- Navigating the process of layoffs and other employee issues
- Assessing finances and triaging outstanding expenses
- Working with lenders and other creditors to negotiate payments
- Applying for relief funds if/when available
- For food establishments::
- Moving to online ordering/delivery
- online sale of gift certificates
- other strategies for temporarily adapting business models
Updated information about participating providers will be posted to the Coronavirus FAQs for small business. For questions, contact the Small Business Team at (612) 673-2499 or SmallBusiness@minneapolismn.gov.
The federal Small Business Administration has announced Federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans will be made available for businesses sustaining losses due to COVID-19. This resource has not yet been made available for Minnesota, check back here or at the SBA’s COVID-19 site for updated information as it becomes available.
City staff continue to work with our partners to gather information about other resources and to develop additional support strategies for small businesses impacted by COVID 19.
Support for your employees
An employee’s accrued sick and safe time hours are legally protected for their use due to Coronavirus symptoms, testing or infection. Protection extends to the employee and the employee’s care of a covered family member.
On March 16, 2020, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued an executive order to ensure workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have full access to unemployment benefits. Governor Walz’s executive order also relieves taxpaying employers of benefit charges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that your Unemployment Insurance (UI) tax rate will not increase if your workers collect unemployment benefits because of COVID-19. For more information, see the employer and worker information available through the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).