Minnesota - COVID-19 Covered

Minnesota

Total Cases: 132,122 (October 25)
Fatalities: 2,381 (October 25)
Testing:
  •  The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced a pilot of the COVID-19 Test at Home saliva program. Minnesotans in two dozen counties or tribal nations will be able to order a saliva test online, to perform in the comfort of their own home. These tests are available in select service areas free of charge to any Minnesotan who believes they need to be tested. (October 22) 
  • Governor Walz opened the state’s new Infinity BiologiX (IBX) COVID-19 saliva testing lab in Oakdale, Minnesota. (October 20) 
  • Governor Walz announced the expansion of the state’s saliva testing program, including the opening of new saliva testing sites and a pilot of the mail order program. (October 13)  
  • COVID-19 testing locations in Minnesota can be found here.  

ECONOMIC RESPONSE

Essential Service Designations:

  • Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan announced a $3 million investment in mental health services for children and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. (October 8)  
  • Minnesota Department of Health announced new guidelines for designating essential caregivers in long-term care settings, such as nursing homes, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (July 10) 
  • Per Governor Walz’s Stay at Home Order, essential sectors include, but are not limited to, the following: health care and public health, law enforcement, public safety, first responders, emergency shelters, congregate living facilities, drop-in centers, childcare, food and agriculture, news media, energy, water and wastewater, and critical manufacturing. (March 25)

Labor & Workforce Guidance, Standards and Regulations:

  • Minnesota released reopening guidance for businesses based on sector. Details for each sector can be found here.   
  • Governor Walz announced that Minnesota has received approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. (August 29 
  • Minnesota released guidance for employers in the meatpacking industry to reduce worker exposure to COVID-19. (May 26) 
  • Governor Walz signed an executive order to provide immediate relief to employers and unemployed workers by streamlining applications for Unemployment Insurance and implementing a federal notification requirement to help Minnesota qualify for additional federal UI funds. (April 6 

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • Governor Walz announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated primary agricultural disasters in parts of Minnesota due to extreme drought conditions and that farmers in Jackson, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, and Rock counties are now eligible to apply for emergency loans through the USDA Farm Service Agency. (October 21) 
  • Governor Walz announced a $53.3 million investment available now to support child care providers and protect Minnesota families’ access to child care during the COVID-19 pandemic. (October 13)  
  • Governor Walz announced that $100 million in CARES Act funding will be allocated for housing assistance and homelessness prevention. (July 14) 
  • Governor Walz announced $100 million from the CARES Act will be allocated for Minnesota rental relief. (July 14) 
  • Governor Walz announced a $12 million effort to fight Minnesotan hunger due to the COVID-19 recession. (July 8 
  • Governor Walz signed an executive order banning creditors and debt collectors from automatically intercepting COVID-19 relief funds. (May 4 
  • The Minnesota Senate reportedly approved a relief bill in response to the pandemic that would extend the due date for approximately $1 billion in state taxes, expand a handful of tax credits, and lower charitable gambling rates. (April 30) 

Business Support & Resources:

  • Governor Tim Walz signed the $1.9 billion Local Jobs and Projects Plan that will invest in construction and renovation projects across the state and create thousands of jobs for Minnesotans. (October 21) 
  • Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan announced a $7.7 million plan to support agricultural producers, meat processors, and farmers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. (October 19) 
  • Governor Walz signed an executive order extending emergency relief provisions for livestock-related businesses. (July 17) 
  • Governor Walz announced the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development is accepting applications for the $62.5 million Small Business Relief Grants Program for businesses impacted by COVID-19. (June 23 
  • The Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development announced the Minnesota Small Business Loan Guarantee Programwhich can provide capital to businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. (March 30) 
  • A $300 million coronavirus aid bill passed the Minnesota House, which would include $40 million in emergency grants and loan guarantees for small businesses. (March 26) 
  • An executive order signed by Governor Walz authorizes the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development to establish a Small Business Emergency Loan program for small businesses affected by COVID-19. (March 23) 

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Reopening:

  • Governor Walz signed an executive order that extends the peacetime emergency, which gives the state flexibility in responding to rapidly evolving issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. (October 12)  
  • Governor Walz signed an executive order that extends the COVID-19 peacetime emergency, which gives the state flexibility in responding to rapidly evolving issues stemming from the pandemic. (September 11)  
  • Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced bars will be required to close for indoor service. (July 29) 
  • Governor Walz announced a statewide indoor mask mandate. (July 22) 
  • Minnesota’s Health Department announced youth outdoor sports can return to games and scrimmages starting June 24 and indoor youth sports can resume games and scrimmages on July 1. (June 19 
  • Phase 3 of Minnesota’s reopening plan is in effect, which allows the following: limited reopening of indoor dining, gyms and entertainment venues; hair salons, barber shops and tattoo parlors can expand to 50% capacity with reservations; place of worship can expand to 50% capacity; outdoor event venues including sporting events, concerts and theaters can open at 25% capacity; indoor social gatherings are limited to 10 people and outdoor social gatherings are limited to 25 people. (June 10 
  • Governor Walz signed an executive order allowing bars and restaurants to expand outdoor dining to “Trunk Highway right-of-way space” to help provide flexibility for businesses without existing outdoor dining space. (June 2 
  • Governor Walz outlined the phases of Minnesota’s “Stay Safe Plan,” which would allow limited outdoor dining at restaurants and bars, and 25% occupancy at barbershops and Salons starting June 1. An outline of the plan can be found here. (May 20)

SCHOOL PLANNING

K-12:

  • Governor Walz today signed Executive Orders 20-85 and 20-86, which formalize the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidance regarding the total classroom occupancy allowed in higher education settings and allow cooperatives to waive in-person meeting requirements. (August 26)  
  • Governor Walz announced Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan for public school reopening, giving parents the choice of in-person instruction, distance learning, or a hybrid model. (July 30) 
  • Minnesota health and education officials asked school administrators to plan for three possible scenarios on reopening in the fallin-person learning for all students; hybrid learning with social distancing and capacity limits; and distance learning only. Officials promised a decision by the week of July 27 on which of the three will be used. (June 18  

State Higher Education:

  • A list of Minnesota universities and colleges planning to reopen in the fall can be found here. 
  • The University of Minnesota leaders have mapped out a plan to reopen classrooms, dormitories and other common spaces this fall. (June 12) 

 

Produced by Marathon Strategies, an independent PR firm that delivers intelligent communications and research solutions. For information, email Phil Singer at COVID-19@marathonstrategies.com