After another night of deep unrest and significant destruction of property in Minneapolis and to some degree in other parts of the metro, we want to provide you a few updates.
- CURFEWS: The vast majority of local governments in the metro have instituted curfews that continue tonight from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., with a few variations on the times. Please check with your local government for times and updates on how curfews impact employees traveling to and from work. Curfews are likely to and should be enforced to a much greater degree than last night as a tool to maintain order and prevent looting and arson.
- LAW ENFORCEMENT PRESENCE: According to the plans discussed this morning by the Governor and key law enforcement leaders, this evening Minneapolis and St. Paul are positioned to enforce curfews as a means to identify and deal with vandals, looters and those setting fires. Please take a moment to remind your employees of the importance of obeying the curfews as a tool to separate those peacefully protesting and living their lives from those committing unlawful acts. Minneapolis, St. Paul and the State plan a large law enforcement presence this evening and have created the expectation they will be addressing those out past curfew as a tool for curbing unlawful activities.
- POP UP LOOTING: Pop up looting and property destruction continues to occur around the metro, not just in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Targeted business tend to be liquor, high-end clothing, tobacco, phones, electronics, pharmacy and convenience stores, but frankly no retailer is immune to this activity. We recommend all metro stores consider appropriate actions to safeguard your customers, employees and inventory. We have seen a number of store closures, boarding up of windows and communication with local law enforcement to help assess the situation.
- SHORT-TERM: We hope for a better night tonight but unfortunately recommend retailers plan as if unrest continues.
Some MnRA members have experienced complete or partial store losses. In addition, all retailers including our small businesses and new American-owned businesses are experiencing customer impacts only exacerbating the current COVID-19 environment.
MnRA is in communication with elected officials and law enforcement, and any retailer is welcome to contact us at any time for assistance.
We continue to pray for peace and justice, with the family of George Floyd, our communities, and a restoration of peace at the center of those prayers.
Good afternoon MnRA members. Just an FYI that a curfew will be instituted by the Governor for Minneapolis and St. Paul beginning this evening from 8:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m. The curfew will be evaluated on a day by day basis.
Just a quick note as I am sure those of you with stores in the metro area are monitoring the unrest closely.
We have noted some instances where local police departments are recommending to businesses that they consider closing due to mobile groups that are looting stores or the potential for looting is high. In anticipation of demonstrations, Metro Transit has shut down light rail service and bus service will stop as of 4:00 p.m.
- Monitor your local police department’s social media feed or make a call to seek the advice of law enforcement.
- Error on the side of the safety of your employees and customers as you make decisions over the next couple of days, being mindful of how quickly situations can change.
- Be prepared to secure and close your store.
- Create a quick inventory of products on hand in the event you would need to file an insurance claim, including pictures and a date stamp.
Our hearts ache in this situation. We pray for justice and peace, and that stores are kept in a position where they are ready to the serve community needs in a safe, peaceful environment.
Please let us know if you need anything.
Local Chambers Of Commerce and Local Governments Are Saving Mainstreet--Responding To The Pandemic With Relief And Creativity
From mandatory closures to reduced customers and increased expenses, COVID-19 has taken a heavy toll on retailers and all of Minnesota's industries. At the Minnesota Retailers Association we have been inspired and impressed with the incredible support local chambers of commerce, local business associations, and their partnering local governments have been providing throughout the pandemic.
"We know today, local chamber executives and their teams are on the pandemic economic front-line, working long hours to keep businesses informed and help them prepare for what's coming next," said Minnesota Retailers Association President Bruce Nustad. "An important part of the impressive local chamber work has been their collaboration with cities and counties. And we have seen local governments step up in big, big ways in partnership with their chamber of commerce through creativity and flexibility. In many ways, through their collaborations over the years, local chambers and local government have trained for this very moment, and retailers, small businesses and the Minnesota Retailers Association are so grateful. These collaborations and resulting actions are leading the efforts to save Minnesota's mainstreets."
While federal and state relief and support initiatives are important, here are a few examples of how local chambers in partnership with local governments are making a significant difference in keeping local economies moving forward:
- Timely and critical relief funding
- Grants to help businesses stay afloat and re-open or prepare to re-open under safety protocols
- Relaxed signage regulations allowing business to better communicate with customers
- Flexibility with sidewalks, allowing the expansion of stores outdoors
- Re-open initiatives that unify the chamber and government around safe re-openings
- Letters of support for local communities highlighting local needs
- Backing of safe shopping zones, welcoming customers back
- Speeding permit processes
- Expansion of outdoor dining
- Sharing of ideas and updates
These efforts and many more represent the vital work being done by chambers of commerce, business associations and local governments. Thank you to each!
Now is a great time to support your local chamber or business association through membership!
Minnesota retailers deemed non-essential and closed under Govenor Walz's stay at home Executive Order are turning their attention to their communities. At the Minnesota Retailers Association we have fielded many calls from retailers asking what they can do to make things better, including calls from clothing retailers with idle tailors.
With fewer suits to alter, clothiers are putting their fabrics and skilled workers on the task of responding to the desperate shortage of masks for healthcare workers.
“Sales losses due to COVID-19 have hit us hard, resulting in me temporarily closing our Minneapolis men’s apparel store that has been around since 1916,” says Hubert White’s president and CEO Robert White. “As we anxiously await reopening, our tailoring staff has volunteered to make masks with some perfect fabric we have at the store. With the mask shortages we are hearing about, this is something we can put our skills to work on and make a difference in the pandemic fight. I am proud that this is how our team is responding during this very difficult time for our business and all of Minnesota.”
Here is how retailers can help with the face mask shortage:
A critical need for personal protective equipment--such as masks--has surfaced over the last couple of weeks. To make the masks that provides the proper protection, your need a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-compliant pattern, available here from Sew Good Goods. Masks can be made in two different sizes: 9”x6” adult and 7.5”x 5” child. The instructions call for a tightly woven 100% cotton fabric for the front of the mask and tightly woven 100% cotton flannel for the back.
BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota has outlined the locations and the process for dripping off masks 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. through April 5. They ask than when donating masks at one of 14 locations, look for a “mask donation” sign and please stay in your car. A staff member will come to receive your donation.
- Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis
- Abbott Northwestern Hospital – West Health, Plymouth
- Buffalo Hospital, Buffalo
- Cambridge Medical Center, Cambridge
- District One Hospital, Faribault
- Mercy Hospital – Mercy Campus, Coon Rapids
- Mercy Hospital – Unity Campus, Fridley
- New Ulm Medical Center, New Ulm
- Owatonna Hospital, Owatonna
- Regina Medical Center, Hastings
- River Falls Area Hospital, River Falls, WI
- St. Francis Regional Medical Center, Shakopee
- United Hospital, St. Paul
- Courage Kenny Rehabilitation, Golden Valley