Greater Mankato Growth Blog

Governor Walz Announces Updates to Current Dial-back Restrictions

Today, Governor Walz announced changes to current dial-back restrictions through Executive Order 20-103.

Effective Friday, December 18, 2020 at 11:59 pm, through Sunday, January 10, 2021 at 11:59 pm, the Governor has extended the provisions of Executive Order 20-99, with some modifications published in executive order 20-103. The order calls for the following changes or extension of measures related to businesses, educational institutions and social gatherings:

  • Social Gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 10 people (two households) while indoors with masks worn at-all-times. Indoor gatherings are discouraged. Outdoor social gatherings are limited to three families and 15 people outside.
  • Indoor entertainment, restaurants, bars and establishments will remain closed through January 11, 2021.
  • Outdoor entertainment will be allowed at 25% capacity, up to 100 people at a time.  If food and drink are served, people must be seated. 
  • Gyms and fitness studios will re-open at 25% capacity with no group fitness classes, pool activity or use of showers.  Masks must be worn at-all-times with social distancing of 12 feet at gyms.
  • Youth sports will resume practices on January 4.
  • Elementary schools (K-5) can conditionally open to in-person learning starting on January 18, 2021. It is the Governor’s goal to get back to in-person learning and the state will purchase PPE for schools, teachers, etc.  
  • Outdoor dining allowed at 50% capacity, up to 100 people, seated only, only 4 per party/table.  50% of the walls must remain open for airflow.  Food trucks fine but people must sit down to eat.

Additionally, Walz will be signing a $216 million Business Relief Package into law. 

MN Legislature Passes Business Assistance Package

The Minnesota legislature has passed a business assistance package in response to COVID-19 impacts which includes approximately $217 million to the General Fund in FY21 and about $25 million in FY22. Its provisions include three business relief components: 

  • Business Assistance Grants 
  • Unemployment Insurance Extension  
  • Hospitality Industry Waiver of Certain Fees 
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Radio Mankato Hosting Restaurant Rally

This is a guest blog post written by Ashley Hanley of Greater Mankato Growth member business, Radio Mankato.

Radio Mankato is proud to help our local restaurants during these challenging times.

That is why we have launched the Restaurant Rally. The Rally takes place every Tuesday in December from 9-10 a.m. with Lisa Kaye and Crew on Minnesota, which can be found on your radio dial at 93.1 FM.

All commercials and music will be paused during this time. Restaurant and business owners are encouraged to call the station during that time, free of charge, to let our listeners know of services, deals and ordering information.

This is the first time in Radio Mankato’s history that we have paused live music and commercials. However, we as a station felt this is one small way we could help give back to our local businesses and help rally together. 

The phone number to call is: 507-625-9393.

Any local business is encouraged to participate.

Thank you to sponsors Prime Source Funding, Drummer’s Garden Center and Floral, and United Prairie Bank.

Greater Mankato Growth Signs on to Minnesota Ready Coalition Letter

MN2030_logo_10Greater Mankato Growth has partnered with the Minnesota Ready Coalition lead by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce to call on Governor Tim Walz to provide immediate support to those businesses and their employees most impacted by the issuance of Executive Order 20-99.  Greater Mankato Growth joined 90 partner chambers and associations across the state in sending the Governor a letter this week regarding the urgency in supporting these businesses/organizations.  Our organization continues to follow and educate members on proposed relief plans and take action to support local businesses through a variety of initiatives. Read More

What We Know about the Proposed MN State Relief Packages

Update: Details of the final relief bill have not yet been announced. A special session is expected to take place on December 14, 2020 and state leaders are optimistic that legislators will be able to work out an agreement by that time.

MN State Government leaders announced two proposed relief packages for businesses and individuals who have been impacted by the recent shutdown and COVID-19 in general. Legislators are still working through the details of both packages with a final relief package expected to be released on December 1. Greater Mankato Growth will share additional information as soon as it becomes available.

Here’s what we know about the Governor’s proposed package:

  1. Direct relief through the Minnesota Department of Revenue is planned for all 14,000 businesses affected by the shutdown.
    • Details on this are not specific, but Governor Walz referenced direct payments to businesses and waiver of regulatory fees. Governor Walz also called for a moratorium on eviction for small businesses.
  2. Extension of unemployment benefits by 13 weeks to individuals who have been on long-term unemployment.
  3. Direct payments of $500 to families receiving MFIP or DWP benefits.
  4. A one time grant is being proposed for restaurants to supply healthcare workers, homeless shelters, and long-term care facilities.
  5. Proposed tax credit for businesses that donate food that would otherwise spoil or be thrown away.

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MN Governor Announces Dial Back on Social Activities

Today, Governor Tim Walz announces Executive Order 20-99 taking effect on Friday, November 20 at 11:59 p.m. (CST). 

In general, key points from the Governor’s announcement include: 

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Shop Local This Season and Beyond

We’re fast approaching the holiday shopping season and whether you start shopping before Halloween, or wait until the last minute, there is a big emphasis on supporting local businesses this year.

Whether you realize it or not, YOU are playing a role in our community and YOU are individually stimulating the local economy with your support and in turn, helping support Greater Mankato’s unique character and personality. When you support local, money is kept in the community because locally-owned businesses often purchase from other local businesses, service providers, and farms. Purchasing local helps grow other businesses as well as our region’s tax base. In fact, for every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S., approximately 67 cents stays in the local community. So when you support local all year long — you can help create a BIG IMPACT.

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Governor Walz Announces Changes to Social Setting Limitations

Today, Governor Tim Walz announced Executive Order 20-96 (click the link for full details) , taking effect on Friday, November 13 at 10 p.m. (CST).  The announcement amends Executive Order 20-74 with specific steps for social gatherings and guidelines for bars and restaurants. 


In general, the order calls for the following measures: 

  • Limits all social gatherings (indoor or outdoor) to 10 people and all social gatherings involving members of more than 3 households (regardless of the size of the gathering). 
  • Bars, restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffeehouses, taverns, brewery taprooms, wineries, golf courses and clubs, dining clubs, tobacco shops, and other places of public accommodation offering food, beverages, tobacco products for on-premises consumption, are required to close by 10 p.m. every day, starting Friday, November 13. Delivery service, or curbside pick up options already in place for certain industries in this group is still allowed. 
  • Venues that host celebrations, receptions, and gatherings will be capped at 50 people, effective November 27 at 10 p.m. 
  • No bar seating service.
  • This figure is reduced to 25 people on December 11 at 10 p.m.  

The Governor also announced a proposal for $10 million in additional funding to businesses that have already applied for relief through the Small Business Relief Grant Program.  This program provides $10,000 grants to impacted businesses. 

Update on Greater Mankato Growth’s Restaurant Advocacy Efforts

FromTheDome

Over the past several months, Greater Mankato Growth has been at the table on behalf of it’s members participating in weekly calls with the Department of Employment & Economic Development (DEED) officials to obtain first-hand information, advocate, ask questions and provide feedback from the Greater Mankato region.

Most recently, our organization began participating in calls specifically focused on issues surrounding the restaurant/hospitality industry.  To best understand the needs of this industry locally, we have convened two listening sessions with restaurant/hospitality members and continuing these as needed to learn more and bring forward local concerns to State officials as well as determine what we can do to be supportive here in our community.

On October 16, Greater Mankato Growth sent a letter to Governor Walz respectfully sharing direct feedback from members in this industry in addition to asking for partnership, further action and support.  You can view the letter here.

Our advocacy efforts will continue and if you would like to help share messaging and/or provide local testimonials supporting our businesses, please contact Jaci Sprague at jsprague@greatermankato.com for more details.

Haven’t Voted Yet? – Check Our Election Resources

With four days left to election day, we would like to remind area voters that there are resources available to help you vote at GreaterMankatoElections.com. Our website has election resources that can help you determine where and how to vote and can help you decide between candidates, if you have not done so already. Our website contains candidate questionnaires ranging from local races to the race for Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District. In addition, you can find saved recordings of the candidate forums that we hosted as well as links to forums hosted by other organizations in our community.

Important! A recent decision by the US Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that all mail in ballots received after 8pm on Election Day must be set aside, with the expectation that a future ruling will invalidate those votes. We are encouraging all voters with outstanding absentee ballots to submit those ballots in person.

TRACK YOUR BALLOT: https://mnvotes.sos.state.mn.us/AbsenteeBallotStatus.aspx

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#GoodJobsNow – DEED Launches Campaign to Connect the Unemployed With Quality Jobs

Want a free way to leverage promotion of your employment opportunities to the whole state? The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has just launched the #GoodJobsNow campaign, an initiative designed to let job seekers know that companies across multiple industries are still hiring for quality jobs that pay a living wage. In the announcement of the campaign, DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said, “Right now, as many Minnesotans face uncertainty, DEED is working to provide job seekers with job opportunities and career training resources through virtual CareerForce services, our regularly updated 30 Jobs in Demand list, the Dislocated Worker Program and now the #GoodJobsNow visualization.” Target industries for this campaign in the Greater Mankato Area include manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, transportation, construction, and IT.

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Strong Electrical Efficiency Rebates Remain for Xcel Energy Customers

This is a guest blog post by Greater Mankato Growth member business, Laketown Electric Corporation, to accompany their Business Focus video:

There is little doubt that the advancement of LED has drastically changed the landscape of the electrical contracting market for the better. Five years ago, a two-lamp fluorescent fixture would consume roughly 59 watts would deliver approximately 4,000 lumens and would last approximately 20,000 hours. They were not controllable except for on/off or occupancy sensing both with a special ballast. Once the tubes failed, they needed to be recycled in a special manner. 

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