Advocacy group: More than half of hospitality businesses in Minnesota could close by July

More than half of Minnesota's hospitality businesses could permanently close by July, and 14 percent of food-service businesses have likely already closed for good.

That is the sobering reality detailed by Hospitality Minnesota on Wednesday.

"It’s the painful truth we are going to lose some," said Liz Rammer. "And what we are offering is to lose fewer and have the best fighting chance possible."

Rammer, the president and CEO of Hospitality Minnesota, calls the state and federal help offered to businesses so far woefully insufficient. Now, she’s leading the hospitality coalition, aimed at pushing a six-point relief plan.

The plan

1.) For starters, at the federal level, the coalition wants to see leaders fix the Paycheck Protection Program and provide additional support to the state for small businesses.

2.) At the state level, leaders should expand the Small Business Emergency Loan program by $120 million along with raising the maximum loan value from $35,000 to $75,000.

"The DEED program launched shortly after the shutdown," explained Rammer. "While well intentioned, it shut out many of our hospitality businesses. Hotels, motels outfitters, resorts, campgrounds, catering companies. These are all industries and sectors that are all devastated by this crisis and should have access to these loans."

3.) Next Rammer and the coalition want lawmakers to waive sales tax payments for hospitality businesses through October.

4.) They also want to delay May 15 property tax payments for businesses impacted by the pandemic.

5.) While also prohibiting, for the next 90 days, landlords from evicting commercial tenants, similar to the protections residential tenants are currently receiving.

6.) Finally, they're requesting the state suspend all regulatory and licensing fees for hospitality businesses through the end of the year. while encouraging local governments to do the same.

Above all, business owners are begging to be allowed to open their doors again. A bill moving through the House is offering some hope for a couple of these requests.