Sen. Smith meets with St. Paul business owners impacted by COVID-19, civil unrest

Senator Tina Smith met with business owners at Hmong Village in St. Paul who have been impacted by COVID-19 and the civil unrest.

Senator Tina Smith met with a group of St. Paul business owners, who are working to get back on their feet amid COVID-19 and the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.

Friday afternoon, Senator Smith visited the Hmong Village which is located on the 1000 block of Johnson Parkway, in the heart of east St. Paul. Hmong Village features more than 200 vendors that provide everything from food to professional services, such as beauty care. 

Many of these small business owners hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic were dealt another blow when riots ensued after Floyd’s death, forcing them to close. The indoor market did not endure any structural damage, but officials told FOX 9 many businesses are hurting financially.

Smith spoke with business owners about their setbacks and plans moving forward. She says that she plans to take some of the recommendations with her back to Washington.

“I think that I learned today some ideas for how we can continue to improve that Paycheck Protection Program, so that it works for these businesses that provide so much economic activity and opportunity for people,” said Smith.

The senator was joined by a number of lawmakers and City Councilman Dai Thao. The group also made at stop at the Sun Ray shopping center in St. Paul.