Thank you for your continued partnership and work on behalf of our city throughout what has been – and will remain – a trying time. COVID-19 presents an evolving threat, and I know you appreciate the necessary role social distancing measures will play in stemming the spread of the virus.
Over the last 72 hours, we’ve heard directly from many of you and your staff. I’m writing today to provide you with an update of what we’re doing in the city and where we intend to join your advocacy efforts.
I know that there are many questions for employees and employers impacted by recent action at the state and local levels. Each scenario is different, and we know that many are hurting right now, but we are in this together. That is why I am encouraging all employers within the City of Minneapolis to retain their employees and pay retained employees who have accrued earned Sick and Safe time if the business is financially capable of doing so.
Employers who are incapable of retaining their employees and paying the full earned Sick and Safe time benefits can consider reducing the hours of employees and applying for Shared Work benefits offered through the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Importantly, the State of Minnesota recently eliminated wait time to apply for unemployment benefits – so if you need the support, apply immediately.
Employers who are unable to retain their employees and pay earned Sick and Safe time and who are unable to reduce work hours may choose to sever the employer-employee relationship. The employer should encourage the employees who are not retained or who are affected by reduced work hours to apply for Unemployment Insurance benefits from the State of Minnesota at uimn.org.
Employees who then return to work within 90 days are entitled to their previously earned safe and sick time accrued balance.
In all situations, I encourage you to follow the guidance provided at www.uimn.org.
Earlier today, we also learned that the State Revenue Department is deferring the collection of Sales Tax payments due on March 20, 2020 with no late fees or penalties. That’s a move I pushed for alongside many of you, and a move I applaud.
We hope you’ll join us for a conference call on Friday, March 20th at 11:00 a.m. to learn more. Details to follow.
The city of Minneapolis is …
- Waiving all licensing late fees for food, taxi, liquor, wine, beer, or catering licenses
- Helping establish “Food Pickup Zones” in an existing meter area or signed or unsigned parking area for businesses who are allowed to continue operation for pick up and take out foods that do not currently have their own off-street parking. You can apply for this free permit online and it will be valid through March 30th.
- Establishing the COVID-19 Emergency Mental Health Fund
- Expanding Business Technical Assistance to provide enhanced services, direct support in targeted areas
And as mayor, I’m continuing to push for emergency business relief funding from the State of Minnesota and federal government to address cash strapped companies
Information is coming out at a dizzying pace, and we will be doing our best to provide updates from the local level. Check the city’s COVID-19 information page where we’ll be providing information as it’s available.
Please take care of yourselves in the days ahead – we’re all in this together.
Shauen Pearce, my office’s Director for Economic Development and Inclusion Policy is copied on the e-mail. Please reach out to her if you have questions or need further information.
Mayor of Minneapolis