Spread the word: Here are resources to help you through COVID-19

The spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota and worldwide has disrupted daily life from work to school and travel. The Reformer has compiled a list of resources available for Minnesotans as they adjust to live during the pandemic. 

We’ll update this list as we learn more. If you have ideas for us, contact [email protected].

Employment 

Information on sick leave guidelines and working from home policies for employers is available from the Minnesota Department of Health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also put out employee guidelines for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace and when working from home. 

Workers’ rights relating to sick leave and accommodations are available through the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. This includes specific protections for workers who have been exposed to COVID-19 or who have a sick family member. 

Information from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration includes advice for businesses with employees abroad. It also includes guidance on OSHA hazard consultations. 

Gov. Tim Walz has expanded unemployment eligibility for those affected by COVID-19 and waived the program’s one week waiting period. Those eligible under these expansions include restaurant and bar workers temporarily or permanently out of work. Employees with their hours cut may also be eligible. Individuals can apply here

Employers can also go to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development for information on the U.S. Small Business Administration Loans and a sales tax grace period. 

Education 

Walz has announced all Minnesota schools are closed through March 27. Schools can use this time to explore distance learning options. The Minnesota Department of Education has provided distance learning guidelines and standards for various subjects. 

Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools have begun free meal pick-ups while schools are closed. Minneapolis Public Schools students 18 and under can pick up a meal Monday through Friday at designated sites throughout the city. St. Paul Public Schools are allowing students 18 and under to pick up a one-week supply of meals at select bus stops. 

Travel 

The U.S. The Department of State has issued an advisory against all international travel at this time. 

Americans living or traveling abroad can sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program for safety updates. 

Housing 

Minneapolis and St. Paul mayors have both declared a state of emergency amid the COVID-19 outbreak. These announcements include recommendations that county sheriffs departments not enforce evictions. 

The City of Minneapolis is also offering free temporary wifi services. 

Additional materials

MDH provides printable materials, PSA and translations of information on COVID-19. 

The University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease and Research Policy also provides regular updates on the pandemic nationwide and globally. 

How can you help?

Facilities throughout the state and nation are grappling with shortages of blood. All blood types are encouraged to donate blood or platelets. Memorial Blood Centers and other facilities throughout Minnesota are seeking donations. 

Meals on Wheels in Minnesota can help provide seniors access to the food they need as social distancing becomes more important. The organization takes donations by phone or mail. 

Greater Twin Cities United Way’s fund helps provide food, child care and sanitary products, among other necessities, to those in need.. 

St. Stephens in the Twin Cities is currently seeking donations to aid those experiencing homelessness. Donations include meals, money and other critical items.

Madeline Deninger
Madeline Deninger is a junior at the University of Minnesota. She covers for politics and state government for Minnesota Reformer as a Kaufman Fellow. She currently serves as city editor of the university's campus newspaper, Minnesota Daily. She's also worked at WCCO-TV and American Public Media.