Minnesota House approves new aid package to address economic impacts of COVID-19

Saint Paul, Minn. -- In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minnesota House took new actions today to protect Minnesotans’ health and economic wellbeing.

Workers, small businesses, child care providers, food shelves, people facing housing insecurity, and Minnesota’s 11 sovereign tribal nations will benefit as a result of a new aid package that received bipartisan approval. The Minnesota Senate is expected to pass the bill this afternoon and Governor Walz is expected to sign it into law.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is creating economic hardship for small businesses, workers, and their families,” said Rep. Paul Marquart (DFL-Dilworth), who voted in support of the bill. “This new package of aid is sure to be the first part of a comprehensive, long-term strategy to help communities recover from this unprecedented public health crisis. I’m especially pleased that this bill invests in stable, secure housing for senior citizens and people with disabilities.”

The bill provides the following resources for Minnesotans impacted by COVID-19:

Funding for small business loans, including restaurants and bars.

One-time grants for child care providers.

Financial assistance for food banks, food shelves, and related transportation costs.

Investments in secure, safe housing for senior citizens, people with disabilities, and Minnesotans experiencing homelessness.

Modifies the Rural Finance Authority Disaster Recovery Loan program to allow applications related to any highly contagious animal disease and infectious human disease such as COVID-19, for which the Governor has declared a peacetime emergency.

Extends the time frame for Minnesotans to renew driver’s licenses, permits, or disability parking permits that expire during the peacetime emergency (no additional fees would be charged for these extensions).

On March 9, the Legislature unanimously approved a $21 million emergency appropriation for public health officials to address COVID-19.

On March 17, the Legislature unanimously approved a $200 million emergency appropriation to provide funding for hospitals, clinics, and health care providers. The Legislature is expected to take additional actions in the weeks and months ahead while adhering to public health guidelines.