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MnRA asks Frontline Worker Pay Working Group to include frontline retailers for State bonus payments

Below is the full text of the letter to the Frontline Workers Pay Working Group:

August 30, 2021

Frontline Worker Pay Working Group Members:

We have been watching the Frontline Worker Pay Working Group with deep interest, and we appreciate the discovery and thoughtfulness that has been evident during your meetings and testimony.

As consumers each of you have seen first-hand how retailers have stepped up early and throughout the pandemic, working hard on extra cleaning and new ways of retailing to provide a safe shopping experience and work environment. We are proud of how the industry answered the State’s call to donate masks and other PPE when such supplies were desperately needed. In addition, you saw retailers quickly shift operations to offer or enhance curbside pickup, home delivery, online options, and safe in-store shopping based on state, federal and local public health guidance.

From the front of the store serving customers directly, to the vital work in distribution and shipping centers, retail workers have answered the call each day to ensure the needs of families, communities, and all Minnesotans have been met. We truly have seen the customer-serving spirit and work ethic of Minnesota’s retail workers shine!

As you get closer to consensus on program qualifications, we offer these perspectives based on what we have heard from retailers and their workers across the state.

  • Please consider Minnesota’s retail pharmacy workers as healthcare workers. Workers in retail pharmacies have reported for work each day of the pandemic to ensure Minnesotans have access to over-the-counter medications, prescriptions, personal hygiene supplies, and accessible COVID vaccines and testing. Retail pharmacies and their workers have played a recognizable role in the health of all Minnesotans and have proved to be a vital part of the health response to the pandemic, including being frontline partners with the State on vaccination. We ask that you not exclude these workers from your healthcare qualifications.

  • Please consider Minnesota’s convenience store workers as grocery workers. Thousands of convenience store workers clock in every day to ensure there is access to essential products such as gasoline and electric charging as well as grocery items. In some communities and for some Minnesotans convenience stores serve as the most accessible store for fresh, packaged and prepared foods. We ask that you not forget these convenience store workers as you consider grocery worker qualifications.

  • As you continue to discuss program funding, including the potential to leverage other available funding beyond the $250 million, please consider the work of Minnesota’s frontline retail workers who show up every day to meet the needs of our citizens. One estimate brought before the workgroup suggested there are approximately 153,000 workers who make sure we have access to household and personal essentials, clothing and shoes, home office and education technology, home maintenance goods, as well as other physical and mental health/safety items needed across the state. As you continue to learn more about workers who have important roles throughout the pandemic, please consider frontline retail workers who have been serving Minnesotans via in-person shopping, curbside delivery, online servicing, and back-end processing and logistics.

We commend the workgroup for its process and willingness to dig deep and understand Minnesotans and how they were and are impacted by the pandemic. We know the decisions ahead of you are difficult but are also confident your spirit of cooperation will result in a meaningful program for frontline workers.

Thank you for your consideration of retail pharmacy, convenience, and frontline retail workers as you make your decisions.

Bruce Nustad, president
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Local Mask Requirements At Retail

list of local masking regulations impacting retailers

Last updated February 24, 2022 - 12:15 p.m..

There are currently no Minnesota cities with masking requirements in places of public accomidation including retailers.

The following local governments have issued masking requirements impacting retailers:

  • St. Louis Park - This masking order expired at 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 22. Effective January 21 at 12:01a.m. and in effect until 11:59p.m. on Feb 22 face coverings are required in spaces of public accommodation which includes retail stores. Businesses are required to post signage notifying customers that face coverings are required. Click here to see the order and download signage.
  • Rochester - This masking order expired at 11:59 p.m. on February 7, 2022.  Effective January 16 at 6:00 a.m. and in effect until 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 7 face coverings are required at indoor spaces of public accommodation which includes retail stores. Click here to see the mayor's order.

  • Minnetonka - The Minnetonka City Council voted on Feb. 17 to immediately lift its masking order. Effective January 17 at 11:59 p.m. and in effect for 61 days face coverings are required at indoor spaces of public accommodation which includes retail stores. The acting city manager is authorized to suspend enforcement if case counts in Hennepin County fall below the “substantial” level. More information is available on the City website here (scroll down to "face mask ordinance". Businesses are required to post signage--click here to see the City example.

  • Duluth - This masking order expired at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 12, 2022. Effective January 14, 5:00 p.m. and in effect for 30 days:  Face coverings are required at indoor spaces of public accommodation which includes retail stores. Click here to read the emergency ordinance.

  • Golden Valley - The Golden Valley City Council voted on Feb. 15 to immediately lift its masking order. Effective January 13, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.: Face coverings are required at spaces of public accommodation which includes retail stores. Click here to read the emergency ordinance.

  • Hopkins - This masking order expired on February 13, 2022. Effective January 14, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. through February 13, 2022: Face coverings are required at spaces of public accommodation which includes retail stores. Click here to read the emergency ordinance.

  • St. Paul - The Mayor lifted this masking requirement effective February 24, 2022. Effective January 6 at 5:00 p.m.: Individuals at city-controlled property must wear a face covering indoors at all times when social distancing of at least 6 feet is not maintained; businesses licensed by the City of Saint Paul must require all individuals to wear a face covering indoors at all times when social distancing of at least 6 feet is not maintained (you may temporarily remove while eating or drinking); all businesses are strongly encouraged to require that all individuals wear a face covering indoors at all times when social distancing of at least 6 feet is not maintained >> see the executive order here. (Scroll down to Executive Order January 5, 2022, 2022-2.)
  • Minneapolis - The Mayor lifted this masking requirement Effective February 24, 2022. Effective January 6 at 5:00 p.m.: Any individual over the age of two who is able to medically tolerate a face covering shall be required to wear one in indoor spaces of public accommodation regardless of vaccination status (with temporary exemption if eating or drinking); all employers of businesses that are spaces of public accommodation shall require their employees, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a face covering whenever such employees have face-to-face contact with the public >> see the executive order here.

    In Minneapolis, places of public accommodations are defined as: any indoor locations where members of the public may gather, visit, or patronize and can include, but are not limited to, bars, restaurants, museums, theaters, schools, recreational facilities, retail locations, and service offices.


Minnesota Retailers Association Statement On The Ending Of Business Restrictions

Today is a big day for Minnesota as it marks the end of pandemic business restrictions.  For all the give and take, and thousands of conversations over the pandemic season, today is a day to appreciate the turn of attention to getting all Minnesotans back to work and growing our communities.  We had a good trajectory pre-pandemic, and it’s time to get back on track.

The Minnesota Retailers Association has appreciated the collaboration with Commissioner Steve Grove and the DEED team this past year, and we look forward to seeing their passion and partnerships put to work on getting Minnesota back to work.

Retailers and their employees across the State are excited to fully turn our attention to growth and a better Minnesota, community-by-community.

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