Coronavirus and COVID-19: Stay Informed, Be Prepared
We are monitoring the evolving situation with the Coronavirus and the spread COVID-19 cases by engaging our national partner organizations, State and local public health officials, and our member partners to bring you the latest updates and anticipated impact. Check all our media channels for alerts for new posts: bookmark this webpage, watch your email inbox, connect with us on Facebook , Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.
Governor Walz announced an update to the Guidance for restaurants, which now allows up to 10 unrelated guests at one table in restaurants. All other provisions -- 50% capacity, a limit of 4 guests per party in a bar, and that all guests must be seated -- remain in effect.
In sharing today's decision, Commission Grove said, "Minnesotans have a strong sense of the common good. They know that taking commonsense health and safety steps help to slow the spread of COVID19, and in turn save lives. This change to allow more people at a table or in a party is based on this strong sense of personal responsibility to our community and, we are confident that Minnesotans – young and old – will do the right thing to keep themselves and others safe."
Hospitality Minnesota has provided the following statement in response to media inquiries:
Today’s decision to now allow 10 guests at a table in restaurants is a step forward, which we’ve heard will help some operators as the patio season winds down and we approach the holidays. We continue to advocate for safely increasing capacity and revenue, and the governor has indicated he is continuing to review our requests. We all need to work together to help save this industry and the 1 in 10 Minnesota jobs it provides. With over half of restaurants and 30% of hotels facing permanent closure in the coming months, Minnesota needs a comprehensive strategy and we will continue to do everything we can to work on a path forward.
As reported by the Star Tribune, MDH has correlated 924 cases with visits to restaurants or bars this summer. These are cases where the Department assumes transmission occurred at a bar or restaurant but has not proven causation. Over the same period of time there have been over 45,900 cases identified in Minnesota. This means that 98% of transmission occurred in settings outside of restaurants or bars.
KEY TAKEAWAY: The Governor’s June 10 dial turn has not led to a significant spike in COVID-19 cases in this sector. Our state, its operators and its patrons have effectively mitigated the public health risk, while allowing critical expanded economic activity.
Governor Tim Walz has issued Executive Order 20-81, calling for a statewide mask mandate that will go into effect on Saturday, July 25.
To help with compliance, state officials have released face covering recommendations and requirements. Some highlights include:
• The public must now wear masks indoors, and outdoors when waiting in lines for service when social distancing is not possible.
• Children under 5 and individuals with health conditions that make wearing a mask difficult are exempt.
• Masks are required for workers indoors, and outdoors when they cannot maintain appropriate social distance. They are not required when individuals are working alone.
• In restaurants, masks must be worn by all occupants when entering, moving about and leaving an establishment. They are not required while eating or drinking.
• Businesses are encouraged to post clear signage to guests about the mandate. Businesses are not required, though may elect, to refuse service to a patron not wearing a mask.
The State will be distributing 4 million disposable masks through local chambers of commerce across the state. Contact your local chamber if you would like a supply of disposable masks for patrons who don't have one with them.
Today, in partnership with the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association and Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild issued a press release to build greater awareness and commitment to the guidelines. Our industry's survival is dependent on every operator following the safety guidelines and engaging their customers to do the same. "By doing our part to maintain social distancing and wearing a mask in bars and restaurants, we show respect for each other's safety and support of our favorite businesses ability to continue operation,” stated Liz Rammer, Hospitality Minnesota CEO in the release.
The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and the State of Minnesota have offered free, downloadable signage for you to use to engage guests in complying with safety guidelines.
Hospitality businesses across Minnesota received welcomed news with Governor Walz’ announcement that restaurants can open on June 10 for indoor dining at 50% capacity, capped at 250. This is a positive step toward the long and difficult economic recovery of these small businesses.
Likewise, our lodging, resort and campground businesses can open their pools at 50% capacity, along with other amenities, that will allow them to accommodate guests and stem cancellations and revenue loss.
The long shutdown has been crippling for many owners/operators, and it will take our collective efforts to support these businesses as they work to rebuild the public’s confidence in venturing out. Our industry looks forward to safely welcoming its employees and customers back.
Already reeling from the pandemic, Minnesota is also facing another long recovery from the events of the past weeks. Our hospitality businesses are uniquely suited to help bring people together and reweave the fabric of our communities. Reopening them more fully—and safely-- will foster economic recovery, promote public mental health and well-being, and help to revitalize our communities’ civic life.
Also announced today, ALL businesses will now be required to have a completed a preparedness plan by June 29. Current practices do not to stop or pause until the plan is completed. State agencies will have additional guidance for preparing plans are expected no later than June 15. We’ll post those as they are made available.
Knowing from the Department of Employment and Economic Development, the Department of Health and the Department of Natural Resources that decisions are made by the Governor’s Office, and not at the agency level, we need members to weigh in and make your voice heard by contacting Governor Walz:
Toll Free: 800-657-3717
Yesterday, restaurants and lodging facilities were allowed to begin offering limited patio and outdoor seating for food and beverage service. This is not sufficient, so we have been working for weeks (letter to Gov. Walz and safety protocol) to safely re-open our hospitality businesses. Our current efforts, needing swift action, are focused on:
Allowing in-dining (Hospitality Minnesota Star Tribune Board Op-Ed) at restaurants and bars, beginning at 50% capacity immediately or at June 8 at the very latest;
Opening private indoor and outdoor pools at lodging facilities and campgrounds consistent with CDC guidance on safety and utilizing smart capacity limitations for social distancing; and
Opening fitness centers and recreational play areas at lodging facilities and campgrounds with fair and clear guidelines for enhanced sanitation and promotion of social distancing.
Minnesota’s hospitality and tourism industry needs the government to make these changes swiftly. We are in danger of losing critical businesses and jobs and we are exporting revenue by the day to nearby states that have already relaxed limitations. The State must act now on these three items.
In light of the Governor’s announcement that restaurants can open to very limited outdoor seating beginning on June 1, Liz Rammer released the following media statement:
“The news today was surprising and disappointing especially given the many conversations we’ve been having with the Governor and the Hospitality Roundtable convened by DEED Commissioner Grove. While it’s good for those restaurants that are able to offer outdoor seating, it will leave many behind around our state who cannot host patrons in an outdoor patio setting. Many of our operators have begun to hire back their staff to use their PPP loan money and ordering products for reopening on June 1, so this is another disastrous setback for them.
As these businesses stare into the face of financial collapse, today’s announcement further delays the incoming revenue these small businesses need to survive. If these businesses are being asked to remain closed or mostly closed, then they need the State’s help with a targeted relief package that provides the support our businesses need to navigate this financial catastrophe.
It's also disappointing to hear that there has been no accommodation made for opening recreational RV camping at private campgrounds in time for Memorial Weekend – one of the biggest revenue opportunities of our campgrounds short 100-day season. RV campers offer natural social distancing, providing families with a self-contained unit for their weekend experience in the great MN outdoors. We have been advocating for a phased approach to permit these cabins on wheels the green light for the important holiday weekend.”
Campgrounds will be able to open on June 1, as can salons and barber shops, with limitations.
Governor Walz announced that the current Stay at Home order (EO 20-20/20-33) will be allowed to expire on May 18, and we'll begin Stay Safe Minnesota, urging Minnesotans to continue practicing COVID-19 prevention through personal hygiene and social distancing, and discouraging all nonessential travel.
While it comes as no surprise, but with real disappointment, restaurants, bars and places of public accommodation will remain closed until June 1. We are, however, glad that an opening date has been identified and with the promise that the reopening guidance from the State will be available by May 20. See our full report HERE.
Hospitality Minnesota is leading a coalition of hospitality organizations, including the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, the Community of Minnesota Resorts and the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild, to bring attention to the peril our industry faces and urge federal, state and local officials to work together to take action providing targeted relief. A press release sent to media outlets around the state this morning tells of the anticipated economic devastation if relief does not come soon. More information and updates can be found on our #SaveHospitality campaign page.
Governor Tim Walz has extended the Stay-at-Home order until May 18. However, some restrictions for retailers have been loosened. Full details here: https://bit.ly/May18Extension
For Resorts, RV Resorts and Campgrounds from the Department of Administration
Hospitality Minnesota has been fighting for campgrounds and resorts to be able to open safely, as well as to obtain clarity about their ability to operate (including seasonal renters). Consistent with our prior communications, the Department of Administration has now issued written guidance. We will continue our advocacy and communications efforts on allowing the expansion of safe operations as we go forward.
Today, the MN House, on a vote of 129-1, has passed “Alcohol-to-Go” legislation. We’ve been pushing on this issue since the closure. The bill goes next to the Governor for signature and goes into effect the next day. **For instance, if the bill is signed tonight, you can begin selling beer, cider, hard seltzer and wine tomorrow.
Today the Governor extended his “Stay-at-Home” order through May 4 and moves the Executive Order 20-04 limiting restaurants and other business from May 1 to May 4. This puts it in alignment with Stay-at-Home and the previously announced school closure.
Disaster Assistance in Response to Coronavirus: Small Business Administration
March 17: SBA Updates Criteria on States for Requesting Disaster Assistance: Small Business Administration
March 15: Families First Coronavirus Response Act: National Restaurant Association letter to Senators Schumer and McConnell
SBA Training for COVID-19 Resources. Register HERE
Employment law for COVID-19.
KLB Insurance - Insurance and Business Perspective
Legal Mandates for Employers in the wake of Coronavirus with Martin Kappenman of PRK&A
NATIONAL INDUSTRY-SPECIFIC RESOURCES
GLOBAL and NATIONAL RESOURCES
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
Minnesota Unemployment Insurance – apply right away, even if you’re still working partial hours
United Way COVID-19 Response and Relief Fund – for assistance finding food, paying housing bills or other essential services statewide
SNAP Benefits – apply for food support
Energy Assistance Program – EPA helps pay heating costs for income-qualified households
Note: Heat cannot be cut off between October 15 and April 15. If you receive a disconnection notice, contact the utility immediately to negotiate a revised payment plan.
Golden Rule Charity – helping the hospitality industry in times of need.
Restaurant Workers Community Foundation – resources for restaurants and workers
United States Bartenders Guild (USBG) National Charity Foundation – resources for bartenders
Feeding America – find a food bank resource
FOOD DONATION PROGRAMS
Food donation programs accepting donations INCLUDING: Metro area establishments, Non-metro area establishments AND Put your establishment on the map of free meals
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
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