Earlier this week the Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus unveiled a new online portal for Minnesota businesses and workers to share feedback on reopening Minnesota’s economy. The website asked users to share plans for enhanced safety and social distancing protocols amid the extraordinary circumstances. In just two days of activity, over 1,600 Minnesotans offered very specific and useful information on how to open Minnesota back up for business and activity.
The top category by far was some variation of open “all” “any” and “everything.” Other topics receiving multiple entries included:
- Beauty, cosmetology, hair, salon
- Pet groomer
Over 100 people replied with some variation of “none,” expressing concern that Minnesota will open things up too fast.
“I am encouraged by Gov. Walz’s executive order opening some of these businesses and activities up today, and as the data shows, Minnesotans are ready to open many more industries,” said Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-East Gull Lake).“We need to trust our citizens, churches, non-profits, and business owners to operate in a safe manner following all of the CDC guidelines. The stay at home order is achieving its goal of preparing for a surge and now it’s time to save our economy and way of life.”
A sample of the comments received follows.
A construction/millwork business in Foley wants to OpenUpMN:
“We are listed as essential currently. However, I employee 80 employees. I can tell you this. I will need to layoff 40 to 50 soon as the orders for our cabinetry/millwork is not existent. Our GC’s have not been ordering like in the past even though all in this trade are working. The GC’s clients have not been moving forward. This trickle-down effect will cost 40 to 50 jobs just in my company. It will be a million fold across our nation. This will drive everyone into bankruptcy fast.”
A tattoo artist from Aitkin wants to OpenUpMN
“They are some of the cleanest environments compared to what’s open. These guys take pride in how clean and professional they do stuff in.”
A salon owner in Chaska wants to OpenUpMn:
“One client per technician allowed in the shop – chairs a minimum of 6 ft apart. Technicians wear masks and disposable gloves. Gloves are disposed of after each client. Since many of these technicians are self-employed, they are especially hard hit.”
A restaurant owner in Elk River wants to OpenUpMN:
“Thinking from a large enough restaurant perspective, a combination of disinfecting with the correct chemicals that can kill the virus in less than a minute, physical spacing between tables, table rotation, responsible customers to manage the space guidelines will keep employees safe as well as the customers and much busier than strictly take out can do. For restaurants too small to do the space management, a combination of disinfecting and then spacing customers by time could be accomplished.
“My point is, there is a lot more that can be done to educate people and allow businesses to operate as safe as possible. This is a complex problem, but we can work through it to figure out how to get it done. I hope similar information is made available soon instead of just hiding from the virus. Complete protection won’t be available until we can be immunized, but that is too far away so we need to come up with plan B’s and C’s. Some need to stay safer due to their conditions, but we need information to develop a plan to get the economy moving before worse things start happening.
An outdoor gun range in Rice County wants to OpenUpMN:
“Outdoor gun ranges that are unstaffed do not expose employees to any risk. Members would social distance appropriately. It would be outdoors and similar to hunting and fishing which are permitted activities. Law enforcement is also not able to train while the ranges are closed.”
A retail jeweler from Fergus Falls wants to OpenUpMN:
“All jewelry is under glass, any piece touched is ultrasonic cleaned and sterilized. All containers are sterilized after customer touched.”
A pastor from Finlayson wants to OpenUpMN:
“We will distance families from each other and provide hand sanitizer and use caution for distributing any sacraments. We also will disinfect between services. We have plenty of space to gather in.”
A deputy registrar in Polk County wants to OpenUpMN:
“Plexiglass between customer & employee. Sign outside front door, limit of 2 people in lobby at once.”
A dog groomer from Hutchinson wants to OpenUpMN:
“Have the dog on a leash, have a post to leash dog onto. Groomer comes out to get dog. Groomer grooms dog and calls to notify you. You pay by PayPal. You pick up dog at the post and drive home with the 60-pound hairy furball that you cannot groom yourself. I do not have that kind of equipment. If I can go to Petsmart and purchase things with a cashier, I should be able to handover or tie my golden doodle to be picked up on a leash, outside the building. Thank You!”
A tobacco shop in Isanti wants to OpenUpMN:
“Tobacco shops could allow limited people in at one time. Social distancing and keeping the 6ft rules. Please allow tobacco shops to reopen. The expense of Walmart and/or Gas Stations is killing our budget.”