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Boreal Community Media

Northland businesses react to passing of relief package

Dec 16, 2020 04:45AM ● By Editor

Northland business owners reacted to the Minnesota House passing a $216 million small business relief package. |  Photo: WDIO-TV

By Ryan Juntti of WDIO-TV - December 15, 2020

Business owners all across the Northland right now are looking for any kind of help to get through the pandemic, but now relief for Minnesota businesses is coming in the form of $216 million.

"It's a bit miraculous how this turned around," said Grandma's Restaurant Company Director of Operations Tony Boen. 

Boen and other restaurant workers reached out to Governor Walz after the most recent shutdown asking for financial assistance.

"His initial answer was we don't have the ability to help out...  three days later after a lot of outreach and letters and phone calls and emails, he changed his mind, and said, yep, we got to get something done for these restaurants and hospitality," said Boen.

That led to a small business relief package that includes a share of $88 million for bars, restaurants, and other businesses.

While the money is still being allocated, it's welcome news for Grandma's and others across the Northland.

"We're very happy. This is a good stopgap to help bridge us a little bit before something at the federal level gets done," said Boen.

"It'll just give stability and assurance that we will get past this," said Lincoln Park business owner Tom Hanson.

Hanson says his establishments may not receive any funding, but acknowledges others may need it more than he does.

"If it comes to us, that's great. If it goes to somebody that really needs it, that's great too," said Hanson.

As part of the relief package, convention centers are also receiving their share of $14 million. 

DECC Interim Executive Director Roger Reinert says he anticipates the DECC receiving $500,000. It's money Reinert says will be used for operational expenses.

"I cannot say enough about how important this is in terms of just a moral boost for the small team here that's fighting the daily battles that we have to win in order for the DECC to maintain the asset the community and region needs it to be," said Reinert.

The relief package also includes around $115 for local businesses and organizations that will be distributed to counties.

To help workers displaced by the pandemic, the bill also provides a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits.

To read the original post and see related stories, follow this link to the WDIO-TV website.

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