Response to COVID-19-March 23

This week’s newsletter will be primarily resources and updates due to COVID-19 also known as the Novel Coronal Virus. These are scary and uncertain times where information is coming at us very fast. We at the Greater East Side Community Council will try to send information out as it becomes available. All meetings and events have been postponed to keep not only our staff but our community safe.

Please know that if you find yourself in need, that you can email us and we will try to assist in whatever way possible without judgement. We are in this together and we will get through this as a community. In the coming weeks, it will be more important than ever to share ways to remain a community while also keeping each other safe. Please send us ways your friends and family are coping and we will highlight them in upcoming newsletters. Send pictures and stories to!

City Response

Mayor Carter declared a State of Local Emergency on March 15. The declaration permits Saint Paul Emergency Management to request and coordinate the appropriate aid and resources from surrounding jurisdictions, including the Ramsey County Division of Emergency Management, Homeland Security, and the State of Minnesota as needed. It also permits city departments to coordinate to quickly mobilize available resources and conduct immediate purchasing and contracting. To subscribe to COVID-19 updates from the city click here.

Economic Disaster Loans For Small Business

The Federal Small Business Administration (SBA) will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. Click here to apply.

Executive Order on Unemployment

On March 16, 2020, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued an executive order to ensure workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have full access to unemployment benefits. The executive order makes applicants eligible for unemployment benefits if:

  • A healthcare professional or health authority recommended or ordered them to avoid contact with others.
  • They have been ordered not to come to their workplace due to an outbreak of a communicable disease.
  • They have received notification from a school district, daycare, or other childcare provider that either classes are canceled or the applicant’s ordinary childcare is unavailable, provided that the applicant made reasonable effort to obtain other childcare and requested time off or other accommodation from the employer and no reasonable accommodation was available.

Governor Walz’s executive order waives the nonpayable or “waiting” week to ensure applicants have access to unemployment benefits as quickly as possible.

While all applicants for unemployment benefits must actively seek suitable employment, Governor Walz’s executive order stipulates that you may look for suitable work that does not pose a risk to your health or the health of others. If you have only been laid off temporarily, you can meet work search requirements by staying in contact with your current employer.

Finally, Governor Walz’s executive order waives the ordinary five-week benefit limitation for business owners who had previously elected coverage and have become unemployed as a result of COVID-19.

If your employment has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, we encourage you to apply for unemployment benefits online here.


For information regarding local outbreaks and suggestions, the Minnesota Department of Health has set up public hotline.

It is open 7 days a week from 7 AM to 7 PM.


Minnesota-specific information can also be found online at

A reliable source for the most up to date information in the Center for Disease Control website at

The World Health Organization (WHO) has some useful advice on protecting yourself as well, which we also recommend reading at

If you find yourself struggling during this time-you are not alone. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has a hotline to help.