Minnesota Senate passes legislation that allows businesses to safely resume operations

On Monday, the Minnesota Senate passed legislation that would allow many small businesses to safely resume operations. The bill, Senate File 4511, provides a framework for businesses to return to the workplace and safely resume operations if they follow Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines.

“Since March, almost 700,000 Minnesotans have applied for unemployment benefits, representing approximately 20 percent of the state’s workforce. The jobless rate in the United States is 14.7 percent – the highest since the Great Depression. We need to get people back to work and our economy moving again,” Senator Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson), chair of the Senate Transportation Finance and Policy Committee and a co-author of the bill. “We all want to make sure people are safe and healthy. These small businesses have been working for two months on plans for enhanced sanitation and safety in accordance with CDC and MDH guidelines. We need to give them a plan for moving forward.”

The legislation would allow businesses that are “closed to ingress, egress, use, and occupancy by members of the public” due to recent executive orders to resume operations if the business abides by workplace safety recommendations and guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The bill would take effect the day following its enactment.

The legislation awaits a hearing by the House of Representatives.

“These small businesses still have expenses, even when they’re closed, and business owners are facing financial ruin unless the government allows them to reopen now. This about returning Minnesotans to work, plain and simple,” said Senator Newman. “The only way to begin a recovery is by getting our economic engines roaring again.”

Senator Scott Newman represents communities in McLeod, Meeker, Sibley, and Wright counties in the Minnesota Senate. He serves as chair of the Senate Transportation Finance and Policy Committee.