In a letter to state legislative leaders today, Governor Tim Walz emphasized the need for immediate action to provide relief to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. He stated his eagerness to partner with legislators on both sides of the aisle to get it done, and said he stands ready to call a special session as soon as the legislature agrees on a package to provide this much-needed relief.

“As cases skyrocket and hospital capacity is pushed to the brink, the COVID-19 pandemic demands immediate action to save lives. Necessary public health measures bring hardship for all Minnesotans—but this hardship falls disproportionately hard on our small businesses and workers,” Governor Walz wrote.

“This is not fair,” Governor Walz continued. “The pandemic is not fair, and it is our job as leaders to make it more just. Small businesses across our state are in dire need of relief. Many workers are struggling to make ends meet. As we take action to protect the health of our neighbors, we must also take action to support the people who are sacrificing so much.”

“That’s why I directed my team to begin work on a comprehensive COVID-19 relief package for our small businesses and communities,” Governor Walz said later in the letter. “We have laid out the principles around which a package should be structured. I know legislators on both sides of the aisle have engaged on this issue and been working tirelessly to find common ground, and I will continue working with you to get a deal done.”

“Let’s come together to ensure our businesses stay afloat, our workers are supported, and our families can put food on the table,” Governor Walz concluded. “I will call a special session as soon as the legislature agrees on a package to provide this much-needed relief.

To support small businesses that are struggling as they do their part to combat the spread of COVID-19, Governor Walz recently announced an additional $10 million in Small Business Relief Grants. This funding will support an additional 1,000 businesses that have applied for the grant program. It supplements hundreds of millions of dollars in small business support that Minnesota has allocated since the beginning of the pandemic. Minnesotans with questions about unemployment insurance are encouraged to visit uimn.org.

Also last week, the Governor wrote a letter urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to act quickly to provide assistance for workers, families, businesses, and states.