The Tower News

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March 27, 2020

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Coronavirus makes local cities look like 'ghost towns'

By GDA

The coronavirus pandemic hasn't hit the North Country yet, but steps have been initiated to try to get all residents to stay at home. Many businesses, including bars and restaurants, have closed on orders from Gov. Walz. This same pattern has spread across the United States.
Grocery stores, drug stores, hardware stores, etc. have stayed open and the fear of supermarkets running out of food, and even toilet paper, may soon pass as the supply chain restocks the stores. Some people who wanted to make a fast profit by buying up all toilet paper, paper products, and anti-bacterial sprays may be stuck with them and the stores have said they won't buy the items back.
A lot of "scams" have surfaced during this pandemic and law enforcement groups are investigating them. Don't believe any scams offering serums to combat this disease or masks, tests, etc.
So far there haven't been any cases reported locally, but that may change.
There are fears about what this shutdown will do to the economy and how many businesses might close forever. Sunday saw the churches empty with services being provided through the Internet and other ways, including having sermons being mailed out.
The media, including newspapers, is considered a vital service, so most will stay open unless the virus takes away their workers. Laws regarding publishing legals have also been relaxed.
This newspaper will stay in publication, though don't be surprised if the size gets smaller since there won't as many events as usual.


Third COVID-19 Case in St. Louis County; travel caution urged

The Minnesota Department of Health has confirmed the third case of COVID19 (coronavirus) in St. Louis County The individual, a woman in her late 30s, is currently recovering at home. Her infection is linked to domestic travel, and not the result of community transmission.
St. Louis County Public Health officials on Wednesday of this week advised, "We are seeing repeated instances of people who have been traveling within the country, and bringing this virus back with them. We need people to recognize the risk they are taking and the risk they are creating by traveling," Commissioner Mike Jugovich emphasized. "Anyone coming into our county from somewhere else risks bringing the virus with them. That includes people coming to spend time at their cabin or favorite rental getaway spot and even snowbirds returning home. Please pause and ask if this is really the best time to travel. We all need to do our part to stop spread of the virus."


Gov. Walz holds COVID-19 response and preparation press conference

By GDA

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Monday, March 23, at 2 p.m., held a very different press conference. The conference dealt with the state's response and preparation dealing with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, but there were few reporters allowed in the meeting. Minutes were then sent out to media across the state.
Since many Minnesotans are under self-quarantine at home and not working, Walz suspended evictions and writs of recovery during the COVID-19 emergency. Under Minnesota Statutes 2019, section 12.02, subdivision 1(2), Walz issued Executive Order 20-01. Under this order, Walz directed all state agencies to submit proposed orders and rules to protect and preserve public health and safety.
Housing insecurity because of involuntary unemployment, extended sickness or required quarantine as a result of a public emergency in Minnesota is a subject of general concern. Losing a home is catastrophic at any time, he said, and during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency, losing housing endangers the public peace, health and safety of all Minnesotans.
Beginning March 24 at 5 p.m. and continuing during the emergency or until this Executive Order is rescinded, property owners, mortgage holders or other persons entitled to recover residential premises after March 1, 2020, because a household remains in the property after a termination of lease, is suspended. The suspension will allow households to remain sheltered during the emergency.
Financial institutions holding home mortgages are requested to implement an immediate moratorium on all pending and future foreclosures and related evictions when the foreclosure or foreclosure-eviction arises out of a substantial decrease in income or substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses caused by COVID-19. Financial institutions are also strongly urged not to impose late fees or other penalties.
Walz under Executive Order 20-15 provided immediate relief to small businesses during the COVID-19 emergency. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development was ordered to develop a forgivable loan program to award grants to nonprofit corporations to fund forgivable loans to small businesses. Under the Small business Emergency Loan Program, nonprofit corporation lenders participating in the loan program will be allowed to make zero percent loans during the emergency. Any business will be able to receive a loan through the Small Business Emergency Loan Program at the discretion of the DEED Commissioner. The business must demonstrate that it was directly and adversely affected by the COVID-19 emergency. The minimum loan is $2,500 up to a maximum of $35,000. No matching contribution is required. The loan must be used to refinance debt that existed at the time of the emergency. If financing is received from other sources, the SBA Emergency Loan Program will be repaid.
Also, up to 50 percent of the loan may be forgiven if the DEED Commissioner approves and the business remains in the community at substantially the same levels for two years.
The governor, in order to make sure there are adequate funds available, has directed the DEED Commissioner to transfer up to a total of $30 million from the special accounts of the 21st Century Fund and Minnesota Investment Fund to meet the demand.


 

Also In This Issue:

COMMUNITY EASTER EGG HUNT IS CANCELED

Taxpayers have additional time to file and pay Minnesota 2019 Individual Income Tax

Those Were the Days!