FILE - Minnesota Governor Tim Walz

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz

(The Center Square) – Gov. Tim Walz Monday signed four executive orders aimed to reduce the impact of the novel coronavirus.

All orders are effective immediately upon approval by the Executive Council.

Suspended evictions:

One order temporarily suspends evictions for tenants unable to pay rent for the duration of the declared peacetime emergency.

The order allows evictions for tenants who endanger the safety of other residents or commit other illicit activities.

"Nothing in this Executive Order relieves a tenant’s obligation to pay rent," the order says. 

Emergency loans:

Walz authorized the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to create an emergency loan program making $30 million available for qualifying small businesses harmed financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Over the last week, we’ve heard from many of Minnesota’s small businesses who are facing significant hardships because of the COVID-19 crisis,” Walz said in a statement.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our communities, and now more than ever, we’re looking to creative solutions like DEED’s emergency loan program to help them weather these extraordinarily difficult times.”

Loans are available between $2,500 to $35,000 to qualifying small businesses.

DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said the loans will be 50 percent forgivable and offered at a zero percent interest rate, but must be repaid if other financing becomes available.

“We know that this emergency loan program is just one tool businesses will need to leverage to stay afloat,” Grove said in a statement. “It’s an important one because it will get cash flowing quickly to the small Minnesota businesses that need it most.”

Loans can’t be used to refinance debt from before the COVID-19 peacetime emergency declaration.

DEED estimated the program will assist between 1,200 and 5,000 businesses, with applications available this week.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) inventory:

Another order tells non-hospitals to inventory PPE they don't need and either donate or sell them to a critical care facility.

Non-hospitals can only use PPE for critical health care services.

Postponing nonessential veterinary medicine procedures:

Walz signed an executive order to clarify that all veterinary elective surgeries and procedures must be postponed to conserve protective equipment.

There’s an exemption for procedures that prevent loss of life or permanent dysfunction of an organ or extremity.

Walz also announced a revised supplemental budget that would allocate an additional $356 million toward the state’s COVID-19 response that would:

“Provide emergency grants to child care centers; support families struggling financially through the Minnesota Family Investment Program; support veterans and their families facing financial burdens; increase funding for food shelves; offer small business loans; and increase resources for Minnesotans struggling with homelessness,” according to a news release.

The revised budget proposal would leave $811 million in the budgetary balance.

Staff Reporter

Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.