Walz directs $67.3M to businesses impacted by COVID-19 closures

On Thursday, Gov. Tim Walz announced the Minnesota Department of Revenue is issuing $67.3 million in COVID-19 business relief payments to over 3,800 businesses in Minnesota.

The relief payments will help restaurants, bars, gyms and bowling centers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor’s office says the legislation also provides relief options to movie theaters and convention centers, as well as direct funding to all of Minnesota’s 87 counties to set up local grant relief programs.

"This relief comes at a crucial time for our businesses who continue to make enormous sacrifices for the health and safety of Minnesotans," Walz said. "This is a critical lifeline for those businesses and for the Minnesotans whose livelihoods depend on them."

The department used sales tax filings to determine which businesses were eligible for the direct relief payments under the legislation. The checks have been mailed to eligible businesses, and business owners can expect to receive them in the coming days. The department cannot release a list of businesses receiving payment due to the payments being directly sent to business owners based on private, non-public tax data.

In order to meet the program requirements outlined in the legislation, eligible businesses must meet the following criteria:

  • Located in Minnesota,
  • Had at least $10,000 in taxable sales in 2019,
  • Filed sales tax returns in 2019 and 2020,
  • Experienced a 30% drop in year-over-year taxable sales for April-September periods,
  • Being categorized by the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance program as a restaurant, bar, gym or bowling center, or similar business.

"These payments will give some relief to Minnesota businesses we know are hurting due to the pandemic," Department of Revenue Commissioner Robert Doty said. "Revenue employees worked diligently to set up this program to determine eligibility and get checks issued quickly to these businesses."

Businesses that did not receive a COVID-19 Business Relief Payment but believe they meet the program criteria can contact the department. An online inquiry process will be available beginning Tuesday, Jan. 19, and will remain open through Friday, Feb. 5. An additional round of payments will be made after that date for businesses that qualify.

Businesses can visit the Department of Revenue’s website and click on "COVID-19 Business Relief Payments" found on the homepage.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has relief application information for movie theaters and convention centers, as well as information for counties that will be distributing additional relief payments to businesses.