The Minnesota Senate and House passed a state COVID-19 relief package. The bill, SF 31, provides financial assistance to businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and executive orders, extends unemployment insurance benefits and extends the deadline for free or reduced-price lunch applications.
Here is a summary of the relief provisions:
- Business Relief Payments: $88 million
$88 million will be distributed in grants to “qualified businesses” which were closed to the general public through Executive Order 20-99 (attached) – the most recent order closing certain businesses. These businesses include restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries, wineries, fitness and recreational sports centers, bowling centers, and specialty food stores. Businesses must show a 30% decline in sales for the year, have a physical presence in Minnesota and meet other qualifications listed in the bill. If qualified, the Minnesota Department of Revenue will distribute grants to businesses ranging from $10,000 to a maximum of $45,000.
- Movie Theater and Convention Center Grants: $14 million
$9 million will be distributed in grants to movie theaters with indoor seating and $5 million will be distributed to with regional or statewide significance and a capacity of 1,500 or more. These grants must be used for the direct operations and upkeep of convention center facilities.
- County Relief Grants to Local Businesses: $114.8 million
Funds will be distributed to all 87 counties on a per capita basis and the county will provide relief grants to local businesses. The intention of this grant fund is to give flexibility to counties to make grants to individual businesses and nonprofits that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and business closures, but may not have met the strict guidelines in the previous grant categories.
- Unemployment Insurance Benefits Extension
Extends unemployment benefits for an additional 13 weeks to April 20, 2021. Over 112,000 Minnesotans will be impacted by this provision.
- Regulatory Relief
Several regulatory relief provisions are included in the bill including waiver of the caterer’s permit fees, permit fees for sales after 1:00 a.m., refund of the wastewater permit fees for brewers, and waiver of late fees for license renewals by food retailers, food manufacturers, food wholesalers, and food brokers.
- Free and Reduced-Price Lunch Deadline Extension
The bill grants an extension of the deadline for school districts to report the number of pupils enrolled in the free or reduced-price lunch program.