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COVID-19 Updates and Resources

The River Heights Chamber of Commerce is here for you.  We will post the latest updates, community resources and business webinars from our partners to this page.  Chamber meeting/event changes will be posted on our calendar of events page.  Please check back often.  Stay well!

Latest updates:

May 29, 2020

May 28, 2020

  • Outdoor dining beginning June 1: Answers to commonly asked questions (DEED Developments Blog) – On June 1, Minnesota moves into Phase 2 of the #StaySafeMN Plan, which includes the option for restaurants and bars to re-open for outdoor dining.  We know that there are many questions from businesses and customers about how that process will work. Please click here to see the answers to questions we’ve been hearing about Executive Order 20-63.
  • Real-Time Solutions Webinar #5 (Part 3 Series): Limiting Your Exposure to C-19 Business Liability (from May 27)- Watch Here

May 22, 2020

  • Real-Time Solutions Webinar #3 (Part 3 Series): State of Real Estate (from May 20) – Watch Here
  • Real-Time Solutions Webinar #4 (Part 3 Series): Health & Safety Awareness in the Workplace (from May 22) – Watch Here

May 21, 2020

  • Minnesota’s Stay Safe Plan laid out on this Chart here

May 14, 2020

  • Webinar Today: Re-Opening Your Retail Store: What you need to know Webinar at 4:00 – Register Here
  • Real-Time Solutions Webinar 2 (Part 3 Series) Back to Business: State of Tourism in the COVID 19 Era (from May 13) – Watch Here
  • On May 13, 2020, Minnesota Governor Walz Governor Walz announced a new State initiative that continues to foster social distancing called “Stay Safe Minnesota,” which will be replacing the expiring May 18 stay at home order. Stay Safe Minnesota asks people to stay close to home and limit nonessential travel and allows small gatherings of up to 10 people. The Governor stressed the need to continue to wear masks in public, social distance, and telework whenever possible.
  • On May 18,  retail stores including stores in malls/shopping centers can re-open to guests – See Executive Order 20-56
  • Re-opening plans for salons, gyms, restaurants and related businesses are forthcoming with an anticipated opening date around June 1.
  • Executive Order 20-56 re-opening retailers May 18 has these requirements:
    • A COVID-19 preparedness plan (safety plan) addressing social distancing and safety must be crafted and available.
    • Retail stores and malls/shopping centers must not exceed 50 percent of their stated occupancy.
    • Drive-in movie theaters are open May 18.


  • Here is a summary of the Governor’s Executive Orders announced the evening of May 13, 2020:
  • See more Best Practices and COVID-19 Resources for Retailers Here
  • DEED Developments Blog: Safely reopening and returning to work: What businesses and workers need to knowClick here
  • Taxpayers impacted by COVID-19 can pay Dakota County property taxes by July 15th without penalty this year. This is a 60-day extension of the normal May 15th deadline. For more info – Click here

May 7, 2020

  • Real-Time Solutions Webinar 1 (Part 3 series) – Back to Business: Readying Your Retail Operation (from May 6) – Watch Here

May 4, 2020

May 1, 2020

  • Real-Time Solutions Webinar 6 (Part 2 Series): State of Healthcare Amid Covid-19 (from May 1) – Watch Here
  • Real-Time Solutions Webinar 5 (Part 2 Series): The Four Responses to Crisis in Our Lives (from April 30) – Watch Here
  • Real-Time Solutions Webinar 4 (Part 2 Series): Financial Planning & Investing During Uncertain Times (from April 29) – Watch Here

April 30, 2020

  • Governor Walz Extends Stay At Home Order in Minnesota until May 18
  • Governor Walz also announced that retail businesses and other non-critical businesses will resume operations with curbside pick-up and delivery on May 4th.  What does that mean for your business? Click on the image to find out more!

Legislative Update from the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce: Minnesota Senate passed tax relief legislation on a bipartisan vote to help mitigate some of the economic impacts of COVID-19 on employers and employees. Provisions of the bill that would help businesses during this time include:

  • Full conformity of Section 179 business expensing provisions to help encourage investment in Minnesota operations by small businesses and farmers.
  • Tax payment extensions for income taxes; property taxes and June accelerated sales tax.
  • Provisions relating to angel tax credit and clarification on the taxation of PPP loans.
  • The tax bill passed by the Senate today would bring much-needed relief to small businesses who are trying to stay afloat amid this crisis. They are the economic fuel for our state’s future, and providing tax relief will help them until they are allowed to fully reopen. The Senate will wait for House action on their tax bill and then will likely have a conference committee.
  • Minnesota Chamber’s Returning to Work Safely Webinar Series:
    Returning to Work in Office Environments (April 30)
    Returning to Work in Customer-Facing Workplaces (April 29)
    Returning to Work in Industrial Workplaces (April 28)

April 27, 2020

  • Real-Time Solutions Webinar 3 (Part 2 Series): Tips for Working from Home (from April 27) – Watch here

April 23-24, 2020:

  • Governor Walz’s New Executive Order 20-40 (April 23, 2020) begins the process of safely returning some Minnesota employees to work.  This order impacts workers in non-customer facing industrial and office-based businesses who cannot work from home – Learn more here
  • The Executive Order 20-40 includes specific businesses – please review carefully to determine if your business is included. FAQs for guidance on Executive Order 20-40
  • If your business is included in this order: you will need to complete the steps outlined PRIOR to opening and have your Preparedness Plan shared with employees and posted. MORE INFO
  • If your business is NOT included in this order: Please create your Preparedness Plan NOW and fill out THIS BEST PRACTICES FORM to let the state know how your industry can open safely. The state has received almost 4,000 of these forms to date and this is an important tool for their re-open plans.
  • If your business was already open under Critical Sectors, this does not apply to you.

Today, Governor Tim Walz reviewed a framework for evaluating when it is safe to reopen a variety of workplace, social, and educational environments in Minnesota. That framework takes into consideration a number of health, economic, and social factors – and applies them to a variety of settings that have varying levels of predictability and size considerations.

As part of that framework, he issued Executive Order 20-40, which provides a limited first step in the process of safely returning to work, beginning only with workers at non-Critical Sector industrial, manufacturing and office-based businesses that are non-customer facing.

There are 2.6 million Minnesotans working right now. EO 20-40, developed in consultation with thousands of business leaders, labor leaders, and public health experts, will allow around 20,000 businesses and roughly 80,000 – 100,000 workers to go back to work beginning on Monday, April 27.

In order to reopen, EO 20-40 requires these businesses 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

  • Distance Learning Extended through the end of this school year – Read Executive Order 20-41 – Governor Tim Walz and Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker have announced that all Minnesota public school districts and charter schools will extend the Distance Learning Period for the rest of the 2019-20 school year.  Learn more at the Minnesota Department of Education website on COVID-19 updates here
  • Real-Time Solutions Webinar 2 (Part 2 Series): The Employer “Human Response” to COVID-19 (from April 24)- Watch Here
  • Returning Minnesotans to Work – Webinar Series from the Minnesota Chamber (April 23) – Watch Here
  • Latest Local Information and Resources about COVID-19 in Dakota CountyClick Here

April 21, 2020:

  • Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s COVID-19 Prevention Best Practices – Return to Work Safely – View Best Practices Here

April 20, 2020:

  • Real-Time Solutions Webinar 1 (Part 2 Series): Get Out of Those Pajamas (from April 20) – Watch Here

April 17, 2020:

  • Minnesota Retailers Association- Critical Next Steps Plan for Retailers and Consumers: Click here
  • Governor Expands Outdoor Recreation Opportunities; MnRA Releases Retail Opening Plan; Legislature Passes Bill To Allow Restaurants To Sell To-Go Beer/Wine  – Today Governor Walz expanded allowable outdoor recreational activities in Executive Order 20-38. The order–taking effect tomorrow (Saturday, April 18) at 5:00 a.m.–allows Minnesotans to enjoy outdoor activities while maintaining social distancing guidelines including maintaining 6-foot social distancing; avoiding crowded areas; staying close to home. Some of the facilities that are reopening or remaining open under Executive Order 20-38 are:· Bait shops for live bait· Outdoor shooting ranges and game farms· public and private parks and trails· Golf courses and driving ranges· Boating and off-highway vehicle services, including:o Marina services Dock installation and other lake services Boat and off-highway vehicle sales and repair, by appointment only Outdoor recreational equipment retail stores remain closed. The Governor also announced that April 25 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Minnesota is organizing a homemade cloth mask drive. Participants are encouraged to drop off masks at local fire stations.

April 16, 2020:

April 14, 2020:

  • Real-Time Solutions Webinar 6: Financials: Planning the Next Steps (from April 13) – Watch Here

April 13, 2020:

April 7, 2020:

  • Real-Time Solutions Webinar 3: Mitigating Business Risk (from 4/6)- Watch Here
  • Real-Time Solutions Webinar 2: Federal and State Funding (from 4/3) – Download PP Slides Here

April 1, 2020:

  • MN DEED: A Guide for Minnesota Small Businesses Who Need HelpClick Here
  • Real-Time Solutions Webinar 1: CARES Act for Small Business (from 4/1) – Watch Here

March 31, 2020:


  • Minnesota Chamber Webinar: How federal, state COVID-19 legislation can help your business – Watch here

March 30, 2020:

  • Congresswoman Angie Craig to Brief Second District small businesses, non-profits and others on Grants and Loans to Address COVID-19 (TUESDAY 3.31.20)
    Our office will host a free webinar for small business owners, folks involved with non-profits, sole proprietors, independent contractors, and individuals who are in the gig economy and who all are working through the impacts of the COVID-19. (You can find the registration link here)
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce – Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide & Check List Congress has approved $350 billion in emergency loans for small businesses to help them keep workers employed. In fact, if small businesses maintain or later restore their payrolls, they may not have to repay some — or possibly any — of the loan. Click here
  • Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES ActClick here
  • Dakota County Virtual Town Hall Meeting with Congresswoman Angie CraigWatch here
  • Top 10 Questions Covid19 and Impacts to your Workforce (Week 2)Click here
  • Unemployment Compensation FAQs for CARES ActClick here
  • U.S. Senate – Fighting the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis and Putting “Workers First” – Click here
  • MN Chamber of Commerce: How Does State & Federal Legislation Impact Minnesota Businesses:
    The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or “CARES” Act includes:

    • Emergency grants for small businesses to cover immediate operating costs.
    • Forgivable loans for small businesses, up to $10 million per business, administered through the Small Business Administration (SBA).
    • Relief for small businesses on existing SBA loans.
    • A refundable tax credit for businesses of any size that are impacted by COVID-19. The credit covers up to 50 percent of payroll on the first $10,000 of compensation, including health benefits, for each employee.
    • An additional 13 weeks of unemployment insurance, as well as increased unemployment benefits, and broadened eligibility.

    Minnesota’s legislation includes:

    • An additional $332 million for COVID-19-related needs in the state. The bill codifies some of the governor’s executive orders and supplemental budget requests to provide additional funding for small business loans, childcare grants, homeless, food shelves and other COVID-19 resources.
    • A loan guarantee program for small businesses that are unable to access SBA disaster loan assistance.
    • $30 million for the Small Business Emergency Loan program for emergency loans to small businesses.
    • An extension of the timeline for property tax valuation appeals, so taxpayers will not miss the ability to dispute/appeal their market valuation assessment.

March 26, 2020:

  • WEBINAR: DEED Answers Your Questions on the “Stay at Home” Executive Order – We want to help you understand what this order means for your business.  Chamber President Doug Loon hosted a webinar with Commissioner Steve Grove of the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to answer your questions on the “stay at home” order.  Watch here

March 25, 2020:

March 24, 2020:

  • WEBINAR: Small Business Economic Recovery and Financing Resources – Recorded Monday, March 23, by Minnesota Chamber of Commerce – Watch here

March 23, 2020:

  • Following Governor’s Executive Order 20-15, DEED has established a loan program to assist small businesses affected by Executive Orders 20-04 and 20-08 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can learn more about the program Small Business Emergency Loans here
  • Open Business Community Map – Add Your Business to the Map here
  • How to Support Small Businesses During a Crisis here

March 21, 2020:

  • Small Business Disaster Loan Assistance here
  • New Resources Available in the Business Tool Kit here

March 19, 2020:

March 18, 2020:

  1. Minnesota Department of Revenue: https://www.revenue.state.mn.us/our-response-covid-19
    Information relative to taxes.
  2. Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Toolkit: https://www.mnchamber.com/blog/covid-19-business-toolkit
    Thanks to the Minnesota Chamber, all businesses including to non-members can access this resource.
  3. Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development: https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/
    A plethora of information for employers and job seekers. Unemployment info is here as well as info about “shared work” which is a way to avert lay-offs.
  4. Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry: https://www.dli.mn.gov/updates Info relative to the trades, license exams, and workers compensation.
  5. Center for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/businesses-employers.html
    Planning guides.
  6. U.S. Department of Labor: https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus Workplace safety; wages, hours and leave; and more
  7. U.S. Small Business Administration: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources
    The SBA will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

March 17, 2020:

March 16, 2020:

  • Dakota County Commissioner Atkins reported:
    As of 1:00pm today (3/16/20), there have five confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Dakota County. Our public health and risk management teams are working closely with state and federal agencies to slow the spread, provide advice to the public, and plan for and take necessary next steps. Dakota County administrative offices, libraries and parks remain open, though events and programming have been severely curtailed or canceled altogether. I have pasted helpful links below for the areas of county government about which I am getting the most frequent COVID-19 questions:
  • Dakota County generally: Click here
  • Dakota County libraries: Click here
  • Dakota County parks: Click here
  • Dakota County courts: Click here
  • Pursuant to Gov. Walz’s emergency order, efforts are underway to conduct county board and Dakota County CDA meetings through alternative means that are mindful of public health directives regarding large gatherings.
  • Additional details about the current status of board and committee meetings will be available here as meeting dates approach, and here for Dakota County CDA meetings.
  • Comcast Announces Comprehensive COVID-19 Response to Help Keep Americans Connected to the Internet
  • Neighbors, Inc – COVID-19 Plan
  • 360 Communities – COVID-19 Response
  • City of Inver Grove Heights – COVID-19
  • City of South St. Paul

The River Heights Chamber of Commerce would like to add our voice to the messages you are likely receiving that our staff, members and community’s health and safety are our #1 priority. We continue to monitor the daily changes with the global health pandemic of COVID-19, the Coronavirus, and are working with a fluid plan to protect our staff and members while continuing to operate.

Currently, the River Heights Chamber is open for business and moving to a “Work Distancing” model with limited staff each day and the elimination of group meetings at the Chamber office. Out of an abundance of caution and respect to decisions of our business community, the River Heights Chamber will be suspending in-person meetings with groups larger than a few until March 30th, and practicing social distancing. This includes committee meetings, member events and public events, as well as the County-wide Business Breakfast on April 3. The March 19th Board meeting will be done as a virtual meeting. Meetings and events may be made virtual or rescheduled as possible in the days/weeks to come, so please watch your Chamber communications for updates.

The River Heights Chamber staff had the opportunity to be part of a webinar hosted by the MN Chamber in collaboration with the MN Hospital Association, a labor law expert from Stinson and the US Chamber of Commerce. We found the following information extremely helpful in preparing a plan. As we find ourselves faced with many important decisions during this global health pandemic with the Coronavirus, the River Heights Chamber of Commerce would like to offer some resources specifically for employers and employees.

Please utilize the links below for resources and tips. Our business community, members, staff and families are so important to us and we ask that you continue to communicate with us as we are in this together.

Keeping Your Workplace Safe & Healthy

Best practices to stay healthy, deal with employee diagnosis and set a plan.

Preparedness Tips

  • Urge employees to stay home when they are sick.
  • Maximize flexibility in sick leave benefits for those who are ill or encouraged to stay home.
  • Do not require a health care provider’s note to validate illness or return to work.
  • Identify critical functions of operation and develop a plan on how to cover those functions with increased staff absence.
  • Consider cross-training
  • Maximize telecommuting options
  • Ensure the staff that can work from home have the tools to do so.
  • Utilize options for virtual meeting: ZOOM or GO TO MEETING

If your business has larger quantities of essential staple items of dry food, cleaning/disinfecting/paper products to share with businesses in need or if your business is in need of certain items, please let us know!

March 15, 2020:

A message from River Heights Chamber Chairman Adam Bengtson:

River Heights Chamber Members,

On behalf of the Chamber Board of Directors and staff, I would like to share with you that we are here and committed to serving the needs of our members and our community throughout the COVID19 experience in our community.  We will work closely with our community partners, including the Cities of Inver Grove Heights and South St. Paul, the Tri Districts and the MN Chamber of Commerce, and we will be providing regular updates including timely and reliable information, resources for you and your business and community information.  We feel it is important that we come together as a community at this time (while keeping social distance).

Out of an abundance of caution, the Chamber will be suspending in-person meetings with groups larger than a few until March 30th. This includes committee meetings, member events and public events.

  • Committees will receive cancellation notices for their meetings and they will receive staff summary reports to keep their efforts on track.
  • The City of South St. Paul is moving forward with the State of the City Update and Concord Street public hearing on Monday, March 16th.  It will be live and on demand on townsquare.tv.
  • Thursday, March 19th – the River Heights Board Meeting will be a virtual web meeting.
  • South St. Paul Local Issues scheduled for March 25th will also be an online update.  Instructions to listen and participate will be sent out along with the agenda late next week.
  • Birdi Golf Fundraiser for the Police Explorers program will be rescheduled for a later date.  You can still make a donation via PayPal to the Chamber and we will donate it to the Explorers program.

There are things we can do to help our small businesses in the community during this time.  Order meals and pick them up at a Chamber member place of business.  Order gift cards to use at later dates to help during this time of social distancing.

We want to support you! Do you have a current promotion or want to get the word out to Chamber members about something you are offering? Post a Hot Deal on the Chamber website for FREE:

Are you looking for COVID19 facts and resources for you and your business? the MN Chamber has put together a resource and information page:

Your business matters to us and we understand that there are many uncertainties for you and your business right now.  Please watch for future updates and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions, concerns or there are ways that we can better support your business at this time.