Coalition, including Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, urges Walz to allow businesses to fully open
The Minnesota Ready coalition – a group of nearly 60 business organizations throughout Minnesota, including the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce – will ask Governor Tim Walz today to allow all Minnesota businesses to fully open by June 19.
Many of the groups will host live events today and penned a letter to the governor earlier this week.
“Businesses throughout the state welcomed last week’s news that more were allowed to open, but believe that there is room for additional progress. They have taken the necessary safety precautions and are ready to safely open their doors and increase their capacity,” said Doug Loon, president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.
“Today we urge the governor to allow all Minnesota businesses to open by June 19 with appropriate safety planning in place to ensure the safety of workers and customers,” said Brad Meier, president and CEO of the Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce. “Date certainty would help reassure small business owners, employees and customers and restart our economy.”
The impact on small business has been undeniable since the onset of COVID-19, the coalition said. April employment statistics released by DEED show that compared to the same month last year, employment was down 73% in full-service restaurants, 63% in personal and laundry services, and 61% in arts, recreation and entertainment. Small Business Administration statistics show that these industries have among the highest shares of small business employment in Minnesota’s economy.
“Small businesses fuel our state’s economic future,” said Robin Anthony, executive director of the Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce. “The St. Croix Valley sits on the border with Wisconsin. Without decisive action, tourism and small businesses will suffer or be lost forever. This is a loss to thousands of workers, their families and their communities.”
The coalition said Minnesota’s economy depends on a network of suppliers, logistics and moving goods within the state’s borders and beyond. Fully opening businesses will increase the operations for that entire network, securing jobs and helping increase Minnesota’s competitiveness toward economic recovery, according to the coalition.
“Whether it is delivering packages to a storefront or pallets to a loading dock, truckers see the interdependence of Minnesota’s businesses,” said John Hausladen, president of the Minnesota Trucking Association. “Every load has both an origin and a destination. When all businesses are open and operating at full capacity, real economic revival can take place.”
Live events from Minnesota Ready coalition members will take place in nearly a dozen sites across the state today. More details about the coalition and events are available at www.mnchamber.com/mnready .