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Saturday, Minnesota tragically heard of the first reported death confirmed to be from the novel COVID-19 virus. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported the March 19 death of a Ramsey County resident in their 80s who recently tested positive for COVID-19 and was the contact of an earlier confirmed case.

“Gwen and I extend our deepest sympathies to the loved ones during this time of loss,” said Gov. Tim Walz. “As COVID-19 continues to spread in Minnesota, we must all do what we can to keep each other safe.”

Since the outbreak started in December 2019, more than 284,000 cases and 11,800 deaths have been reported worldwide. The U.S. reported 19,624 cases and 260 deaths as of this morning.

Additionally, Walz announced Saturday's more economic assistance for small business impacted by the pandemic. Saturday’s announcement comes on top of actions earlier this week to delay tax payments for small business.

Support for Small Businesses

Walz Saturday announced that small businesses in Minnesota are now eligible to apply for disaster assistance through the Small Business Administration (SBA) for economic injury during the COVID-19 pandemic. This announcement comes after Walz sent a letter to the Director of the SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance requesting that Minnesota businesses be eligible for this assistance.

“Small businesses across Minnesota are putting the health of their neighbors before their bottom line,”Walz said. “This assistance will help our state’s businesses recover from the economic hardship caused by COVID-19.”

The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing during the pandemic. Small businesses may apply for a loan at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.

On Wednesday, March 18, the state also granted a 30-day Sales and Use Tax grace period for businesses identified in Executive Order 20-04. Identified 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. For more information, visit revenue.state.mn.us

Previous Actions by Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan:

March 20: Walz signed Executive Order 20-10 combatting price gouging.

March 20: Walz signed Executive Order 20-11 securing Federal authority to continue human services programs.

March 20: Walz signed Executive Order 20-12 preserving access to human services programs.

March 19: Walz signed Executive Order 20-09 to delay elective surgeries and procedures in order to conserve health care resources and reduce contact between patients and providers.

March 18: Walz took action to support businesses affected by COVID-19 by announcing a 30-day Sales and Use Tax grace period for businesses identified in Executive Order 20-04.

March 18: Walz signed Executive Order 20-08 clarifying the types of businesses and places of public accommodation subject to closure per Executive Order 20-04. The executive order clarifies that the closure order applies to salons, barbershops, and other similar establishments.

March 17: Walz signed Executive Order 20-07 providing paid leave for state employees who are not able to work for reasons related to COVID-19 and suspended the waiting period for insurance coverage for new employees. 

March 17: Walz signed Executive Order 20-06 to exempt vehicles and drivers providing direct assistance for emergency relief efforts in response to COVID-19 from certain regulations including provisions on weight and hours of service.

March 17: Walz signed Ch. 70 S.F. 4334 into law, allocating $200 million toward an emergency and long-term grant program to respond to the needs of health care and long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

March 16: Walz signed Executive Order 20-05 to strengthen Minnesota’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and ensure that workers who are not able to work as a result of COVID-19 have benefits available. Specifically, this Executive Order waives the employer surcharge and allows the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to pay unemployment benefits immediately, providing fast relief to employees who need it.

March 16: Walz signed Executive Order 20-04 to order the temporary closure of Minnesota restaurants and bars to dine-in customers. He also ordered the temporary closure of other places of public accommodation and amusement, including theaters, museums, fitness centers, and community clubs.

March 16: Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-03 to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota’s Veterans Homes. This executive order allows Veterans Homes to protect residents and staff by temporarily restricting visitors, reducing the risk of COVID-19 spread among residents.

March 15: Walz signed Executive Order 20-02 authorizing the temporary closure of Minnesota K-12 public schools to students in order for school administrators and teachers to make long-term plans for the continuity of education and essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

March 13: Walz signed Executive Order 20-01 declaring a peacetime emergency in Minnesota and unveiled legislative proposals to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic.

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