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Minnesota Ready: Winter Is Coming … Be Ready to Take Your Business into the Next Season

As the pandemic continues to have a detrimental effect on many businesses, The Chamber is here to share critical updates and advocate for the health and wellness of your business. Here is the latest information you need to know and the resources to help you succeed.

Be Safe

Advocating for the next phase of openings

The Burnsville Chamber has, again, partnered with local chambers on behalf of businesses in Apple Valley, Burnsville, Hastings, Inver Grove Heights and South St. Paul by reaching out to Governor Walz with a follow-up to the letter we sent May 27, 2020. At that time, we requested a prompt turn of the dial from “business closure” to “business open” with personal/consumer responsibility.

“Our businesses are in a more precarious state now than they were in May.”

While we appreciate the shift in messaging since then, we believe it is now imperative to take the next step and are calling on the governor to do just that.

There are several industries that are still under restrictions that make it unsustainable and will lead to many more permanent business closures. Therefore, we are asking Walz to consider that current policies are picking winners and losers, business assistance funds are running out, consumer confidence is low, businesses are caught between government mandates and consumer demands and, most of all, that winter is coming.

We need to focus on protecting the vulnerable, empowering our citizens, and letting our businesses get back to business. Safely. With a final turn of the dial.

Be Aware

Scam alert for restaurants and bars

With mask mandates in place, restaurants and bars must be on the lookout for potential scammers claiming establishments owe a fine for masking violations.

What to know: The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has become aware that restaurants are receiving calls indicating that their businesses were part of a scheduled compliance check, and that they owe a fine for masking violations. In a recent incident, none of the state agencies involved in the ongoing enforcement efforts had conducted a compliance check in the area.

What to do: To protect your business from this scam, be aware that MDH or local public health agencies will work with you over a series of inspections to gain compliance before a fine may become necessary. Inspectors are emphasizing education and awareness, and MDH will not issue a fine on an initial inspection.

If you or someone you know has incurred financial loss due to a scam or fraud, please contact your local law enforcement, contact the Office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison by calling 1-800-657-3787, or submit a Consumer Assistance Request Form or Fraud Report Form.

Be Prepared

As an employer, you need to know what the state is requiring related to COVID-19 for employee safety (preparedness plan), sick leave and FMLA, and worker’s compensation. Below are some quick tips and links to make sure you are prepared.

  • Create a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan

Do you have your COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in place and posted in your business? This is required for all Minnesota businesses and must be based on industry-specific guidelines, as well as Minnesota OSHA standards and guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Your plan must address worker protections and protocols, including requiring work from home whenever possible; ensuring that sick workers stay home; and maintaining established safety practices and protocols.

For preparedness plan templates, instructions and guidance, visit the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry online for updates related to COVID-19 at www.dli.mn.gov/updates.

For additional information or assistance in developing a plan, businesses can contact MNOSHA Workplace Safety Consultation at 651-284-5060 or osha.consultation@state.mn.us.

  • Know employee leave policies and regulations during a pandemic

Employers are in the unprecedented position of managing employees who are coping with uncertainties in their family members’ care and education. Whether your employee is caring for an elderly parent or a child who is doing distance learning, do you know what your responsibilities are?

Employees are protected by several state and federal laws. These protections and employers’ legal obligations related to employee leave policies, safety, and more are discussed in greater detail in this FAQs document: http://www.dli.mn.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/MN_worker_protections_related_to_COVID_19.pdf

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020.

Learn more about FFCRA in this video: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employer-paid-leave

  • Understand the workers’ compensation COVID-19 presumption

Effective Wednesday, April 8, 2020, a new law states that certain employees who contract COVID-19 are presumed to have an occupational disease covered by the Minnesota workers’ compensation law.

  1. Read a summary of the new law: http://www.dli.mn.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/COVID-19_work_comp_presumption.pdf
  2. Watch this video to review worker protections related to COVID-19, including workers’ compensation benefits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yqz5Jv7Wd10&feature=youtu.be
  3. Find answers to FAQs regarding workers’ compensation in this document: https://www.dli.mn.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/COVID-19_work_comp_presumption_faqs.pdf

This press release was produced by the Burnsville Chamber of Commerce. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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