I tend to be a “hunker down and wait it out” kind of person. Seemed especially apt this past weekend for two reasons.
First, when Governor Walz announced an end to the statewide mask mandate on Thursday, I felt like celebrating. Finally! But that elation pretty quickly faded as some cities and businesses kept their mask mandates in place. Having one rule for the whole state generally makes things easier, but one rule does not leave room for nuance and specific situations, such as density, differences in vaccination rates, and the desire to protect employees. (See more on that topic below.)
Still, I felt a little funny walking into Oakdale’s HyVee on Saturday. My mask was with me, but I looked around hopefully wondering, “is it really ok not to wear it?” (I kept it on). All the employees still were masked, as were 90% of the customers, signs were still up at the doors. I experienced the same in other stores I visited on my day’s errands, both in Saint Paul and Inver Grove Heights. I sighed, wore my mask throughout the day, mildly irritated but not slowed, and soldiered on...looking forward to a time when ALL of the mask requirements are dropped... whenever that will be. I’m just glad to know the large events for our teams and our communities can move forward, and that individuals have more choice now. I must say, welcome back, Saints, keep swinging Twins, and congratulations on Game 1, Wild (we’ll see you on Thursday)! Masks or not, great to be together.
For now, we hunker down. And wait.
Which brings me to the second reason for today’s theme: waiting on the Legislature – excuse me, 3 people – to determine the path forward on budget targets and bills being proposed. Again, we hunker down. And wait. ‘Nuff said.
See you in the trenches.
As of Friday, May 14: 49% of Minnesota’s population has received at least 1 vaccination. Nationally, we’ve reached over 100M vaccinated.
Vaccination rates: continue to decline every week, last week’s rate of 184K translates to an average of 26K doses/day.
On Friday, of course, the Governor shifted things dramatically with his removal of the statewide mask mandate for those fully vaccinated. Not all cities agree.
Our service industry (think restaurants, entertainment, hotels, leisure) wants to welcome you back! And if you’re a small business needing support, please be sure to take advantage of what the SBA is offering:
East metro Cities and Counties are getting federal money, but there are rules on how it can be spent. Know that your Chamber is working with our government partners to assist however we can. From housing to infrastructure to small business support and recovery, I continue to see herculean efforts from city and county leaders both to be smart – and collaborative – in their approaches.
Read more updates in our weekly Chamber Advocacy Update.
As I said above, this weekend I was “out and about.” That also included patio plans on Friday evening in Saint Paul and brunch plans on Saturday in White Bear Lake. People, the restaurants (and stores) are hopping! I hope you’re capitalizing on the beautiful weather we’ve been having to find your own patch of sun. Lots of restaurants are re-opening, and invite a friend. We’ve missed you.
Leadership is more important than ever now, as we return to the office in an environment that “isn’t as it was.” Leaders have a real opportunity to get creative right now. How can we hold onto the best of this last year as we bring people back together? At the Chamber we’re having some fun developing a flexible work environment moving forward. We’ve demonstrated that we can work remotely, so we’ll keep some of that as we move forward. I’ve heard from many of you that you are considering this as well.
Last week at one of our regular Business Education Series, the topic was: The Changing Workforce and Workplace. I know I’m “plugging” an event, but I can’t help it. This was a good one. The speakers talked about the need for leaders to adapt, think creatively, trust our people. If you’d like to watch the program, our partner Performance Excellence Network has graciously shared the link. Take the time to watch.
LISC Twin Cities has just announced a strong field of 12 developers of color, selected for its inaugural Twin Cities Developers of Color Capacity Building Initiative. This initiative will support developers of color who are working to build assets and ownership in historically low-income neighborhoods by providing financial and technical resources to complete their projects. This group of 12 brings projects that range from small to medium residential, commercial and mixed-use, to high-density residential development. The dual goal is to provide wraparound technical and professional network support to help get each participants’ project over the finish line and to build the long-term development capacity of the participants. The aspiration is to diversify the development field in the Twin Cities and to increase income and wealth in Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities. Read More.
All aboard to head down the Mississippi! Very exciting new development in Saint Paul: late last week we got the long-awaited confirmation that Viking River Cruises ARE coming to Saint Paul! A regularly scheduled,15-day river cruise from Saint Paul to New Orleans already is sold out for 2022. Dang, I wanted to be on that first cruise. You may remember that the City, Port Authority, and others have been working on that project for over 6 years. Very exciting, and such a great new opportunity. Read more about the Viking Mississippi River cruise out of downtown Saint Paul.