Tuesday, 15 December 2020 14:35

Minnesota Senate Passes COVID-19 Emergency Relief Package

Written by Bruce Walker, The Center Square
Inner dome from the rotunda floor of the Minnesota State Capitol. Inner dome from the rotunda floor of the Minnesota State Capitol. Nagel Photography|Shutterstock.com


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The Minnesota Senate has approved a $216 million emergency relief bill to assist the state’s small businesses struggling during Gov. Tim Walz’s COVID-19 shutdowns.

The bill would also extend unemployment benefits for Minnesotans for 13 additional weeks.
Although the bill passed Dec. 14 has been heralded as a bipartisan effort, Senate Democrats are expressing concerns that it doesn’t provide enough protections for Minnesota residents and businesses.


“This is a bipartisan breakthrough that gets relief out as fast as possible to the people who need it most,” Sen. Eric Pratt, R-Prior Lake, said in a statement.


Pratt, chairman of the Senate Jobs Committee, authored the bill.


“Minnesotans are barely surviving due to the governor’s executive order,” he continued. “This relief will be a big help, but it’s not a long-term solution.


“COVID is serious, and Minnesotans should treat it that way. But we ultimately have to get back to a point where we can end the closures and allow businesses to open up again, safely and smartly,”  Pratt said.


The bill provides direct relief payments totaling $88 million for businesses directly affected by Walz’s executive order to limit public gatherings, including bars, restaurants and gyms. These businesses are not required to apply for the government assistance.


The $88 million will be divided according to the following schedule:


  • Businesses that are down 30% in revenue and have 0-20 employees will receive $15,000
  • Businesses with 21-100 employees will receive $25,000 
  • Businesses with 101-300 employees will receive $35,000 
  • Businesses with more than 300 employees will receive $45,000

An additional $14 million is approved for such businesses as movie theaters and convention centers. An additional $114 million in relief grants will be distributed to...

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