Gov. Walz extends stay home order to May 4

Governor Tim Walz has extended the stay at home order that was set to expire this Friday to May 4. Minnesotans are being urged to voluntarily comply with the Executive Order, which directs us to limit activities outside of our homes beyond essential needs.

The extension does add exceptions for critical sectors and certain businesses, like landscaping, but most businesses including bars and restaurants will remain closed, which is tough news for small businesses and rural communities that have been hit particularly hard during the shutdown. The Center urges Gov. Walz to consider adjusting his order to include relaxed restrictions for rural communities struggling to function.

The $330 million COVID-19 response bill that the Legislature recently passed includes support for small businesses (under 250 employees) through a loan program, and unemployment insurance is also more attainable for those impacted by the coronavirus. We have heard that wait times, though, (in the literal sense) have slowed down the application process for certain businesses as banks work to catch up. (Small businesses have to apply for the loan through a certified lender.) Callers seeking UI have also experienced long wait times, so applying online is encouraged. According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the loan program is still being developed and loans will be available soon. Efforts to fix call wait times for UI are also underway.

The state has created a new website for more information including data on the coronavirus pandemic, how Minnesota is responding, what to do if you are sick, FAQ, and other resources.