Area business owners tell legislators how relief packages can help best

Small business owners gave Minnesota House members feedback at a virtual town hall Monday night about how to help them do one thing: survive as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on.

Most businesses have run through the loans and grant funding they’ve received, and the pandemic stretches on, said Rep. Mohamud Noor, vice chair of the House Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division.

The Legislature is working though proposals for an economic relief package intended to move quickly and serve as a short-term patch as states and businesses await possible federal assistance, DFL House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler said.

Rep. Dan Wolgamott welcomes people to an emergency virtual town hall from his living room Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, in St. Cloud. The meeting was held to hear feedback from residents regarding a proposed economic relief package to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 restrictions.

Business owners joining the call, which had about 70 participants and was hosted by Rep. Dan Wolgamott, spoke to the importance of speed in potential future financial help.

A more blanket approach to funding — for instance one that doled out the same amount to the approximately 14,000 Minnesota businesses affected by COVID-19-related restrictions — could be quicker, Winkler said. A targeted approach could take into account a business’s size and disperse funds more according to individual need.

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