Governor Tim Walz is proposing a package of relief for Minnesota bars, restaurants, and gyms that have again been forced to close because of the rise in COVID cases.
Using The Nook, the landmark St. Paul bar and grill as a backdrop, Walz outlined a plan that among other things, extends unemployment benefits, provides a one-time $500 payment to struggling families, and places a temporary moratorium on evictions.
"We have an eviction moratorium on families," Walz said. "We need to put that on small businesses too, until they can make their rent payments. Many of the have made it. Whether they own their building or not, this simply could make the difference on whether they're here once we get through the pandemic or not."
President and CEO of Hospitality Minnesota Liz Rammer released a statement following the Governor's announcement, saying Hospitality Minnesota readily accepts the Governor's offer to be at the table working to make sure relief gets to those businesses that need it the most.
"We are heartened that legislators and the administration are both moving in the right direction to provide swift emergency relief, as we all need to work together to save this industry and its workers,” said Rammer.
Minnesota House Republicans have also unveiled a plan to help small business owners.
State Representative Barb Haley of Red Wing says in addition to help from the Federal Government, the proposal calls for $400 million to be taken from the state's budget reserves.
"We know that our state's budget is currently in a difficult position," Haley said. "But if there ever was a rainy day, this is it."
Governor Walz is expected to call a special session for both sides to come up with a workable relief plan as soon as possible.