By Rep. Tony Jurgens, 4/24/2020
On Thursday, the governor announced that industrial, manufacturing, and office-based businesses will be able to reopen on Monday if they have safety plans in place.
According to the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), in order to reopen, these businesses are required to do three things:
1. Create and share with their employees a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan that explains the actions they are taking to ensure social distancing and keep workers safe. The Department of Labor and Industry has created a template plan, which is optional for businesses to use as a starting point.
2. Engage in health screening of employees each day at arrival.
3. Continue to use telework whenever possible.
For more information, visit https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/safework/
I’ve had local retail businesses ask if they can sell their products with curbside pickup like restaurants are allowed to do. This request makes perfect sense to me as it can be done as safely as picking up your dinner. Unfortunately, DEED did not agree. The response we heard was that curbside retail pickup can only be allowed if the item being purchased is essential.
I’ve talked to the Minnesota Retailers Association, and that organization is obviously supportive of the local request. I’ve also reached out to the Governor’s office and shared these concerns.
On several fronts, it’s good news that many employees will be heading back to work this coming week, and hopefully more businesses will be able to follow suit very soon when they can safely do so.
DISTANCE LEARNING WILL CONTINUE FOR K-12 STUDENTS
Also on Thursday, Governor Walz made the decision to keep students at home for the remainder of the school year as distance learning will continue.
While this move is being made for the health and safety of students and staff, it’s tough not to feel bad for our graduating seniors, who are missing out on things like spring sports, activities, and proms. All of us share in their disappointment, but hopefully the Class of 2020 will get to take part in a graduation ceremony at a later date when its safe for everyone to gather and celebrate their accomplishments.
HOUSE COMMITTEE HEARINGS CONTINUE
As less than a month remains in session, many committees are trying to wrap up their work and get bills to the House floor. Many of us have a new concern due to the COVID-19 pandemic: additional state spending.
Keep in mind our projected $1 billion surplus has disappeared thanks to coronavirus. Last week I heard one state economist suggest that due to the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, the more than $2 billion we have in budget reserves may also not be enough to cover our losses.
In other words, we need to be careful if spending bills are approved without citing a revenue source, because at this point we appear to be out of money.
I’ll keep you posted as session moves forward.
Representative Tony Jurgens
351 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155