Letter to Governor send on behalf of businesses

October 29, 2020

The Honorable Tim Walz, Governor
State of Minnesota
130 State Capitol
75 Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, MN 55155

Dear Governor Walz,

On behalf of hundreds of thousands of businesses and more than 70 local chambers of commerce and trade associations across Minnesota, we urge you to “turn the dial forward” to open all consumer-facing businesses to a greater capacity and return workers to their offices with limitations.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the business community has shared the responsibility of balancing the need for public health protections and economic impacts. Businesses which have remained open throughout this crisis have taken necessary steps to protect employee and customer health. Without decisive action to increase capacity prior to the cold weather setting in, many will be lost. This is not simply a personal loss for business owners. This is a loss of commercial and economic activity to the thousands of workers, their communities, local governments and the state.

We ask you to take the next steps in helping a wide range of businesses remain viable which include:

  • Update the Executive Order from “must” work from home to “should” work from home and allow office work to resume at a limited occupancy based on building occupancy fire codes recognizing certain office functions are best performed in person to ensure productivity;
  • Increase customer-facing retail capacity under current safeguards;
  • Increase restaurant capacity, with consideration for social distancing or the use of barriers (plexiglass, curtains, etc.) to mitigate risk;
  • Increase capacity for personal services (salons, barbershops, and tattoo parlors) under current safeguards;
  • Increase capacity for gyms, personal fitness and yoga studios, and martial arts under current safeguards; and
  • Expand event capacity for indoor and outdoor events and entertainment (similar to religious gatherings).
Minnesota businesses are ready and have designed plans to safely return workers and protect their customers at greater capacity. They have been making incremental progress by being open at a small percentage of their total capacity, but it does not sustain any long-term viability or success.

As business organizations, we stand ready to help ensure our members are prepared to open more fully – that they have instituted health and safety protocols for their workers and customers and have a preparedness plan in place. We are confident in their ability to do the right thing and are working with them, each and every day to understand state guidelines and employ best practices.

It’s time to get Minnesota moving again, in the safest way possible for employees and customers, while protecting businesses of all sizes. Minnesota’s long-term economic future is counting on it.

Signed:
MINNEASOTA READY COALTION IN SUPPORT OF SAFELY OPENING MINNESOTA’S BUSINESSES
Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce
Anoka Area Chamber of Commerce
Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce
Big Lake Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Blooming Prairie Area Chamber of Commerce
Blue Earth Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau
Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce
Buffalo Area Chamber of Commerce
Burnsville Chamber of Commerce
Cold Spring Area Chamber of Commerce
Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce
Crookston Area Chamber & Visitor's Bureau
Cuyuna Lakes Chamber of Commerce
Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce
Delano Area Chamber of Commerce
Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce
Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce
Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce
Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce
Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism
Fergus Falls Area Chamber of Commerce
Forest Lake Area Chamber of Commerce
Glenwood Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce
Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce
Granite Falls Area Chamber of Commerce
Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce
Greater Wayzata Area Chamber of Commerce
Ham Lake Area Chamber of Commerce
Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau
Hermantown Area Chamber of Commerce
Hibbing Area Chamber of Commerce
Hospitality Minnesota
Hutchinson Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism
I94 West Chamber of Commerce
La Crescent Chamber of Commerce & Tourism
Laurentian Chamber of Commerce
Leech Lake Area Chamber of Commerce
Litchfield Area Chamber of Commerce
Lonsdale Area Chamber of Commerce
Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce
MetroNorth Chamber of Commerce
Minnesota AgriGrowth Council
Minnesota Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus
Minnesota Beverage Association
Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association
Minnesota Recruiting and Staffing Association
Minnesota Retailers Association
Minnesota Trucking Association
Minnesota Utility Contractors Association
Moose Lake Area Chamber of Commerce
Morris Area Chamber of Commerce
New Prague Chamber of Commerce
New Ulm Area Chamber of Commerce
Nisswa Chamber of Commerce
Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism
Pipestone Area Chamber of Commerce & CVB
River Heights Chamber of Commerce
Sauk Centre Area Chamber of Commerce
Savage Chamber of Commerce
Shakopee Chamber & Visitors Bureau
SouthWest Metro Chamber of Commerce
St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce
St. Peter Area Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber Grand Forks & East Grand Forks
Thief River Falls Chamber of Commerce
Twin Cities North Chamber
Waconia Chamber of Commerce
White Bear Area Chamber of Commerce
Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce
Winona Area Chamber of Commerce
Woodbury Area Chamber of Commerce
Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce & CVB