After devastating and heartbreaking loss of life yesterday, officials welcome lawful peaceful protest while preparing for any unlawful activities
Sunday's loss of life in Brooklyn Center can only be described as devastating and heartbreaking. MnRA prays for the family of Daunte Wright and the community as it deals with this tragic officer-involved death. We support the right of Minnesotans to peacefully protest for change.
Over the course of the day we fielded calls from retailers in disbelief of what happened on Sunday afternoon. While we don't have all the answers, we join Minnesotans in recognizing change is needed.
Out of caution and concern for employees and customers, MnRA provides the following updates for retailers concerned about the potential for unlawful activities not connected to peaceful protests:
- CURFEWS 7:00 PM TO 6:00 AM: Some local governments are instituting curfews for tonight from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., including Minneapolis and St. Paul. In addition, the Governor instituted the same curfew for all of Ramsey, Dakota, Hennepin and Anoka counties. Please check with your local government for times and updates on how curfews impact employee travel to and from work. Curfews are likely to be enforced as prevention. Also, we recommend you adjust your closing time to allow your employees time to get home before 7:00 p.m. in impacted areas.
- LAW ENFORCEMENT PRESENCE: According to the plans discussed this afternoon by the Governor and key officials, this evening metro-area law enforcement is positioned to enforce curfews as a means to identify and deal with potential vandals and looters. Please take a moment to remind your employees of the importance of obeying the curfews as a tool to separate those peacefully protesting and living their lives from those committing unlawful acts.
- POP UP LOOTING: According to law enforcement officials, they are preparing to respond to pop up looting and property damage around the metro, not just in Minneapolis and St. Paul. As a precaution, we recommend all metro stores consider appropriate actions to safeguard your employees, customers and inventory. We are seeing some stores announcing early closures and enhanced communications with local law enforcement
Please join us in thought for the Wright family and all of Minnesota.
Make sure your ballot is counted!
MnRA has been working in parternership with the Minnesota Secretary of State to communucate voting options in this unsual pandemic election. Below is an edited version of what the Secretary of State's Office communicated to us relative to recomneded changes for those submitting an absentee ballot. Please share with your neighbors, customers annd employees! Let's make sure every vote counts.
Yesterday's U.S. 8th Circuit Appeals Court reversed the consent decree of the Ramsey County Court which established the extension (postmarked by 11/3; received by 11/10) for returning an absentee ballot (AB) by mail. It is incredibly important that everyone hear of this change, and their options if they have mailed back their AB or are planning to. The voter makes the decision, but if they are concerned about their vote arriving in time to be counted, please share the following:
- · ALL ballots must be returned to the county elections office by Tuesday, November 3.
- · Deadline to drop it off in person is 3 p.m.; deadline for mail or delivery service is 8 p.m.
- · Ballots arriving after November 3-regardless of the postmark- will not be counted.
- · Make a plan:
- ABs already accepted by the counties are fine, and no action need be taken.
- If a voter has mailed back their AB but they have not confirmed its receipt and acceptance:
- Confirm the status of the ballot
- If the ballot has been accepted, no further action is needed
- If the ballot has not been accepted, vote in person:
NOTE: The system will not allow a voter to vote twice. When voting early in person, the site will confirm the voter is eligible to vote early (has not turned in a ballot already), and at the polling place, the roster will reflect if the voter has had an AB accepted already. For ABs received on Election Day, the county will contact the polling place to confirm that the voter has not voted in person, accept the AB, and instruct the Roster Judge to mark an AB next to the voter’s name (or update the E-Poll Book).
3. If a voter has their AB which was mailed to them or had been previously picked up:
- ADVISE THEY DO NOT MAIL THE AB BACK. While it is the voter’s right to return the AB by mail, there is no way to guarantee that the mailed AB will arrive by 11/3.
- Assuming that the voter is eligible to use the location, any AB may be returned at a drop box, early voting location, or county Elections Office. (Again, make sure the voter is eligible to use that location. County Elections Offices are open for drop-offs for all residents of the county.) https://www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/other-ways-to-vote/cities-and-towns-with-in-person-absentee-voting/ (This list was updated with additional sites and drop-off locations on Tuesday, 10/27.)
- Minnesota law allows a person to drop off up to three ballots for others during an election (not per trip or per day) in person, but not using a drop box (unless the drop box has someone there to track users). The person dropping off ballots will need to show identification and identify whose ballots they are turning in.
Recently the Minnesota Retailers Association along with several local chambers of commerce surveyed retailers relating to the current COVID customer capacity restrictions in place across the State. Overwhelmingly retailers subject to the current 50 percent capacity restriction indicated a strong desire to move to at least 75 precent before the Thanksgiving holiday, with one in three retailers saying the viability of their business depends on an increase.
Retailers indicated such an increase is important as they have leveraged their businesses to invest in seasonal and holiday inventory. And after being closed to in-store customers and soft sales during the pandemic, the final few months of 2020 are a make-it or break-it sales season for many.
The vast majority of retailers report they feel prepared for more capacity and have the processes and systems in place to do so safely and comfortably for both customer and employees, and a capacity increase will result in the addition of seasonal and long term job opportunities for Minnesotans across the state at a critical time.
In addition, the survey showed retailers are proud of the job the industry has done during the pandemic and are aware this is not the year for large crowds, as can be typically seen on holiday traffic days such as the day after Thanksgiving. As such, many retailers are spreading sales out over a longer period and with continued alternative shopping options including curbside, delivery and shipping.
Retailers also told us the State has a role to play in partnership with retailers to continue to tell the story of how this industry is responding to the pandemic and the precautions taken to protect consumers and employees.