Minneapolis minimum wage to increase July 1, business owners impacted by COVID-19 raise concerns

On July 1, 2020, the minimum wage in Minneapolis will be raised to $11.75 at small businesses and $13.25 at large businesses.

In a release, city officials wrote, "the new economic reality as a result of the pandemic is especially challenging for the lowest paid workers in our city who are often employed in essential or public-facing jobs."  

The Minneapolis minimum wage ordinance defines small businesses as 100 or fewer employees and large businesses as more than 100 employees. Tips and gratuities do not count toward payment of a minimum wage.

The increase comes at a difficult time for many businesses as some are still feeling the financial impact from COVID-19.

"It's one thing after another--week after week--looking at the numbers on a daily basis trying to figure out if we are going to make it," said Samuel Peterson, the owner of Kyatchi Restaurant in south Minneapolis.

Peterson says he's already been paying his staff the increased wage and says it's the right thing to do.

"Economic inequality, to poverty, racism, transportation, housing - all those facets of society," he said.

Tim Mahoney owns The Loon Café in Minneapolis and St. Paul. He has already reopened his Minneapolis restaurant and is hoping to reopen in St. Paul sometime after July 4. He says his operation is on a much larger scale than Kyatchi's. He's asked city leaders if they can extend the wage increase so businesses can get back on their feet, but so far the salary hike will continue.

"We can't even pay our rent - how are we supposed to pay our employees when we can't even pay our rent?" said Mahoney.

Some big companies, like Target, have already raised the minimum wage for their employees. They say it was a way to say thank you for all their work during the height of the COVID-19 lockdowns.  

For more information about the ordinance, visit minimumwage.minneapolismn.gov. For additional questions call 311 or email minwage@minneapolismn.gov. For an overview of resources for workers and businesses during COVID-19, including expanded Business Technical Assistance Program services, visit the City’s website or email smallbusiness@minneapolismn.gov.