Minnesota Coronavirus (COVID-19): Unemployment & The Restaurant Industry

The affects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Minnesota Unemployment & The Restaurant Industry

Governor Walz has extended Minnesota’s Stay at Home Order through May 4th, also extending the closure of dine-in spaces and other entertainment venues. Restaurants, their employees, and the hospitality industry are facing unemployment and revenue loss. From systematic changes in filing for unemployment to community support, this pandemic has inspired change in several ways. Both government agencies and consumers are banding together to support restaurants and the newly unemployed.

Minnesota Unemployment Insurance has changed the fundamentals of their system to accommodate the spike in filing. According to their website, www.uimn.org, their eligibility requirements are as follows, and have not changed:

    • Have sufficient earnings in your base period
      • Your benefits are based on the amount of earnings (gross wages) paid to you from all employers during a recent 52-week period of time
      • Earnings from self-employment are usually not included
    • Be legally authorized to work in the U.S.
    • Be unemployed, or working substantially reduced hours, through no fault of your own
    • Actively seek suitable employment each week
    • Be able and willing to begin suitable work without delay when offered

The above requirements have been expanded to include the following qualifications in relation to COVID-19:

    • Temporarily or permanently lost your job or have hours reduced due to COVID-19
    • A healthcare professional or health authority recommended or ordered you to avoid contact with others due to COVID-19
    • You have been ordered to not come to the workplace due to an outbreak of COVID-19
    • You have received notification from a school district, daycare or other childcare provider that either classes are canceled or your usual childcare is unavailable, and you have made a reasonable effort to find other childcare and requested time off or an accommodation from your employer with no reasonable accommodation available
    • If you are receiving vacation pay, sick pay or PTO pay equal to your normal rate of pay, you are not eligible. If your employer required you to take an unpaid leave of absence though, you may be eligible

The revised application process for receiving unemployment benefits asks new filers to follow a registration schedule based on their Social Security number. Numbers ending in 0, 1, or 2 apply on Mondays, ending in 3, 4, or 5 apply on Tuesdays, ending in 6, 7, 8, or 9 apply on Wednesdays, and Thursdays and Fridays are open for those who missed their scheduled day. This schedule was put in place to more efficiently process the overload of new applications. Governor Walz’s executive order also called for no non-payable weeks for accounts established after March 1st, 2020. The filer will have to request payment for each week they are unemployed to forgo a non-payable week. These changes aim to better serve the growing unemployed population.

Community support for local restaurants and their employees has grown as well. Across the state, people are looking for ways to help their favorite local food spots while dine-in venues are closed. Many restaurants have shifted to offering their full menu for takeout or delivery. People are taking advantage of this in place of their normal dining experience, and some are ordering in bulk to deliver to neighbors or healthcare workers. Another form of support has been seen by consumers purchasing gift certificates now to be used later when restaurants are fully open. This purchase creates revenue now, with the purchaser still being able to enjoy a dine-in experience in the future. Others are choosing to aid laid-off employees directly through crowdfunding sites or other online fundraisers. No matter the method, consumers are doing what they can to support the restaurant industry.

Several businesses and employees in the hospitality industry will greatly feel the pressures of COVID-19. As everyone navigates the constant change, government officials and communities alike are working to support one another.

All requirements and qualifications for Minnesota Unemployment Insurance were taken directly from their website, www.uimn.org.

For more information specific to COVID-19 and unemployment, visit https://www.uimn.org/applicants/needtoknow/news-updates/covid-19.jsp.

If unemployment and the stimulus check are not going to give you the help you need financially the bankruptcy attorneys of Hoglund Law can help.