St. Paul, MN – Today, Senator Nick Frentz voted in favor of the new $217 million COVID-19 assistance package designed to help small businesses and communities hit hardest by the pandemic and provide an extension of benefits for unemployed workers and families.
Key pieces in the assistance package include:
Business Assistance: Provides $188 million for restaurants, bars, gyms, and many other entities directly affected by the executive orders and the pandemic. These businesses must show a 30% reduction in sales compared to last year to qualify. Businesses covered under this bill include: breweries with taprooms; family wineries with tasting rooms; distilleries with tasting rooms; bowling centers; caterers; drinking places; full-service restaurants; limited service restaurants; cafeterias and buffets; and gyms and fitness centers, including, but not limited to the following businesses that remit sales tax returns to the state: dance, gymnastics, and martial arts studios. Convention Centers and movie theaters will also be supported under this legislation.
Entertainment Centers: There is also $14 million to support lost business at convention centers. These businesses must also show a 30% reduction in sales compared to last year. Movie theaters are also eligible to apply for these funds.
Local Government Aid: Additional $114.5 million for counties with language that gives them some discretion on how they can best use the funds to help small businesses and provide the best economic recovery for their area. Counties can use the funds to make grants to businesses for eligible expenses which could include working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility bills, and other similar expenses that occur in the regular course of business.
Extend Unemployment Benefits: Up to 13 additional weeks in unemployment benefits for Minnesota workers who have exhausted all federal and state benefits.
In response to the passing of this critical legislation for businesses and families, Sen. Frentz released the following statement:
“I voted for this bipartisan package to ensure Minnesota businesses hit hardest by the pandemic receive the help they need. This brand new COVID-19 assistance package will play an integral role in our state’s strategy to maintain the economic wellbeing of all Minnesotans.
I was pleased that local governments will also be eligible to receive money to support their local businesses. It is important that we make sure we have some local control in the way we can best help our communities.
Everyone wants businesses to fully open, and I honestly wish we could have done more and provided some funds for the lowest wage workers and those hit hardest by the pandemic. I’m also deeply disappointed there is no money for our area day care providers, for homelessness, or long-term care assistance in this bill. The Senate GOP refused to provide critical funding for these important entities and I hope they will consider helping these groups in the future. But, this economic relief package is a step in the right direction to help many of our small businesses and hopefully boost Minnesota’s economy most harmed by the pandemic.
As always, I welcome your input on this and any other issue before the legislature. Please reach out to me with your comments and suggestions on this issue and any others that I may be able to help you with. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-6153 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.”