Gov. Tim Walz led by example today and announced he will self-quarantine and work remotely after learning he had contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. He continued to take bold action to oversee the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic signing executives orders, extending Minnesota’s tax filing deadline to align with the federal government, and submitting a new supplemental budget to respond to the crisis.
The Executive Orders signed today will protect renters and homeowners from evictions during this emergency, provide emergency assistance to small businesses hit hard by the pandemic, and help ensure that hospitals have the personal protective equipment and gear they need to care for fellow Minnesotans stricken by COVID-19.
Protecting renters and homeowners
Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-14 to suspend eviction proceedings during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency. Loss of housing is catastrophic at any time, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, this loss endangers the health and well-being of all Minnesotans. While this order clarifies that tenants who can continue to pay rent during the peacetime emergency should continue to do so, landlords and financial institutions cannot begin eviction proceedings that would remove tenants from stable housing.
Aiding small businesses
Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-15 to authorize the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to establish a Small Business Emergency Loan program for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Minnesota’s small businesses and independent contractors are among the worst hit by the pandemic. DEED’s emergency loan program will help Minnesota small business owners who need immediate assistance during COVID-19 closures.
Supplying health care workers with protective equipment
Walz signed Executive Order 20-16 directing all non-hospital entities to conduct an inventory of their personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, respirators, and anesthesia machines, report the result to the state, and either donate such equipment to a local coordinating entity or preserve it. On Saturday, Governor Walz directed the National Guard to transport PPE from storage at Camp Ripley to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Governor Walz also signed Executive Order 20-17 to clarify that Executive Order 20-09, ordering all elective surgeries and procedures be postponed, applies to veterinary surgeries and procedures to conserve protective equipment.
Extending Minnesota’s tax deadline
Governor Walz also announced that taxpayers filing their annual Minnesota Individual Income Tax return for tax year 2019 now have until Wednesday, July 15, 2020, to file and make their payments without any penalties or interest.
Funding to Combat COVID-19
The Governor and Lt. Governor announced a revised supplemental budget, allocating an additional $356 million toward the state’s COVID-19 response. The revised budget would support and protect Minnesotans during the COVID-19 pandemic. It would provide emergency grants to child care centers; support families struggling financially through the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP); support veterans and their families facing financial burdens; increase funding for food shelves; offer small business loans; and increase resources for Minnesotans struggling with homelessness. The budget would also create a COVID-19 Minnesota Fund that would give the state government the resources necessary to deploy resources and respond to the needs of Minnesotans in real time.