Minnesota hospitality group asks governor for financial assistance ahead of 4-week pause

Minnesota’s largest hospitality group sent an urgent letter to Gov. Tim Walz calling for immediate financial assistance for the industry ahead of the month-long shutdown that starts this weekend. 

Beginning at 11:59 p.m. Friday, bars and restaurants will be closed for everything but takeout for the next for four weeks as the state struggles to fight COVID-19 and prevent a crisis in hospitals. Gyms and fitness centers as well as other venues such as cinemas, museums and bowling alleys will also be closed, and sports seasons will be paused during this time.  

“Our industry was dealt another devastating blow yesterday. One from which there are grave concerns that many businesses will not survive,” Hospitality Minnesota wrote.  

Hospitality Minnesota said over half of all Minnesota restaurants face permanent closure. The hospitality sector is projected to lose 70,000 jobs in this next round of closures if no action is taken, on top of the 80,000 already lost due to the pandemic, the group said. 

“The hospitality industry is a key driver of economic activity and tax revenue, supporting 1 in 10 jobs in Minnesota. It cannot be allowed to collapse,” Hospitality Minnesota said. 

Hospitality Minnesota is asking Walz’s administration to put forth a comprehensive relief plan for the hospitality industry as soon as possible. In its letter, the group submitted a list of ideas that could be included in the state’s relief plan such as a $200 million emergency grant fund for businesses and a no-interest loan program. 

MINNESOTA 4-WEEK PAUSE: Where is the help for businesses and employees?

Here is the full list of the ideas Hospitality Minnesota submitted for a relief plan: 

  • Relief should be Targeted to “Distressed” Hospitality Businesses
  • Establish a $200 Million Emergency Grant Fund
  • DEED No-Interest Loan Program
  • Targeted Sales Tax Forgiveness
  • Targeted Property Tax Reductions
  • Waive State and Local Regulatory Fees
  • Freeze Commercial Evictions on Hospitality Tenants
  • Temporarily Cap Third-Party Delivery Fees at 15%
  • Create a State Tax Credit for Food Donations