Community Resource Guide

COVID-19 COMMUNITY RESOURCE GUIDE


Stay Safe: What’s open and what’s closed?

Minnesota is now in a Stay Safe phase which involves slowly moving the dial and introducing more interaction between people over time. It is more important than ever that we protect those most at risk, support workers and all do our part to slow the spread of the virus. Minnesotans are encouraged to:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Get tested when sick
  • Maintain social distance - at least six feet apart 
  • Wear a mask
  • ​​​Stay home when able

Minnesota has made good progress on slowing the spread of COVID-19. As we continue the process of reopening our economy and returning to work and activities we enjoy, we must continue social distancing practices to save lives and stay safe. If you have questions about the stay safe plan, see this FAQ from Governor Walz’s Office. See below for the reopening status of businesses and social settings. 

 

Currently closed:

  • Large public gatherings over 250 people

 

Currently open with restrictions and capacity limitations:

  • Social gatherings 

    • Outdoors: Gatherings of 25 or less

    • Indoors: Gatherings of 10 or less

  • Drive in gatherings per MDH guidelines

  • Critical businesses 

    • Must telework if you can, must have a COVID-19 preparedness plan by June 29, 2020

  • Non customer facing non-critical businesses 

    • Must telework if you can and must have COVID-19 preparedness plan 

  • Retail businesses

    • 50% capacity, must have COVID-19 preparedness plan

  • Restaurants and Bars 

    • Open indoors and outdoors 

    • Must maintain 6 feet of distance, and limit capacity to 50%. Cannot to exceed 250 individuals for indoors and outdoors settings each.

    • Reservations required

    • Masks are required for workers and strongly recommended for customers

  • Personal services (salons, tattoo parlors and barber shops) 

    • Capacity is limited to 50% with six feet of distance 

    • Appointments are required 

    • Masks are required for workers and customers

  • Gyms, personal fitness and yoga studios, martial arts

    • Open indoors and outdoors

    • Must maintain 6 feet of distance, and limit capacity to 25%. Cannot to exceed 250 individuals for indoors and outdoors settings each.

    • Masks are strongly recommended for workers and users

  • Indoor events and entertainment

    • Must maintain 6 feet of distance, and limit capacity to 25%. Cannot to exceed 250 individuals in an area.

  • Outdoor events and entertainment

    • Must amintain 6 feet of distance. Gatherings must not exceed 250 people.

    • Masks are strongly recommended for workers and customers

  • School buildings

    • Open with hybrid model for summer learning and programs per CDC and MDH guidance, and Commissioner approval

  • Child care

  • Youth programming

  • Organized Sports (Adult and Youth)

    • Open with guidance 

  • Outdoor Recreation Activities and Facilities

  • Places of Worship, religious services, weddings and funerals

    • Open indoors and outdoors

    • Must maintain 6 feet of distance and limit to 50% capacity. Cannot exceed 250 people within a single self-contained space.

    • Masks are strongly recommended for workers and attendees

  • Campgrounds and charter boats

    • Open with guidance

  • Pools

    • Must maintain 6 feet of distance and limit to 50% capacity


Where can I receive updated information and learn more about COVID-19?

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH)
MDH is the state health agency in Minnesota. MDH updates their website daily with new information and tracks cases across Minnesota. Additionally, MDH has a hotline to answer questions with representatives available daily from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. You can call: 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The CDC is a national public health federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services. The CDC website has general information on the coronavirus, including coverage of the spread nationwide, a summary of the global pandemic, travel advisories and more.

World Health Organization (WHO)
The WHO is a branch of the United Nations and is responsible for international public health. Their website has more information about the global pandemic and updates on a global level. 

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):
FEMA is an agency under the United States Department of Homeland Security tasked with handling emergency situations in the country. The FEMA website has fact sheets, general information, and daily updates.

For COVID-19 information in other languages, use the links below:


The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)

The CARES Act became law on March 27 and contains various emergency actions. Below are a few resources to help you understand what was included.


I think I may have COVID-19. What do I do?

If you are having a medical emergency call 9-1-1 immediately, and if possible, cover your mouth with a mask before help arrives.

If it is not a life-threatening emergency, please contact your health care provider and/or take an online COVID-19 screening test, which you can access through the links below.

Governor Walz
Governor Walz has launched a comprehensive website which includes a map of testing locations and other resources.

CDC
The CDC has an instructional guide on what to do if you believe you may have the virus.

Minnesota Department of Health
Call the MDH hotline: 651-201-3920 from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, or visit their website.

United States Department of Labor
If you have questions about leave and the Family Medical Leave Act, visit USDL’s website.

Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry
For Minnesota specific guidance and laws, visit the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry's website.

If you are having issues getting a COVID-19 test
Call the Food and Drug Administration's toll-free line at 1-888-463-6332 (1-888-INFO-FDA), then choose option (*). The line is available 24 hours a day to help address difficulties obtaining supplies for collecting patient samples for COVID-19 testing, including swabs, media needed for transport, and conservation of the samples – among other things. Please note, however, that FDA does not control the production volume or distribution of medical devices.


I have recovered from COVID-19. Am I eligible to assist with research and treating patients? 

FDA

If you have fully recovered from COVID-19, you may be able to help patients currently fighting the infection by donating your plasma. Visit this website for more information and to find a donation center. 

American Red Cross

The Red Cross is also running plasma and blood donation centers. Find out more and fill out an application here.


What is the plan for school this fall?

On July 30, 2020, Governor Tim Walz signed Executive Order 20-82 to implement Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-21 School Year. This plan uses a localized, data-driven approach that allows school districts and charter schools to operate in a learning model that is responsive the prevalence of COVID-19 cases in their community. The plan prioritizes safe learning for all Minnesota students, including requiring school districts and charter schools to give families the option to choose distance learning for their student no matter which learning model their school is implementing.

More information can be found here.

A helpful Frequently Asked Questions page can be found here on the Governor’s website.


Can animals contract COVID-19? What should I do with my pets?

A small number of animals — including dogs and cats — were reported to test positive for COVID-19 after they had had close contact with a person who had the disease.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending that cats, dogs and other animals keep the same social distancing as recommended for humans.

Until we learn more about how this virus affects animals, treat pets as you would other human family members to protect them from a possible infection.

  • Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household.

  • Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.

  • Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people and animals.

  • Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.

To learn more about animals and the coronavirus, you can visit the below resources:


I think I’ve been scammed or know someone who has been scammed. What do I do?

Unfortunately, there have been reports of people taking advantage of this pandemic and scamming folks. Below are some resources that may be helpful.

Minnesota Attorney General’s Office

Visit Attorney General Keith Ellison’s website to learn more about scams and what to look out for here.

You can also file a complaint directly on the website here or call 651-296-3353 (Metro)  or 800-657-3787 (Greater Minnesota).

AARP

There have been reports of people trying to scam older Americans. For more information, visit AARP’s website or call the Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 877-908-3360 

To report a scam, visit the Fraud Tracker here.

Federal Trade Commission

The FTC has put together information about scams and what to do to avoid them. You can find more information here.

LawHelpMN.org

If you are in need of legal assistance or help, LawHelpMN.org has a database of providers and clinics. You can find it here.


I have been the victim of or witnessed discrimination. Is there somewhere I can report this?

Yes. On April 6, Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flannagan launched a Discrimination Helpline at 1-833-454-0148. The purpose of the helpline is to assist those who experience or witness bias and discrimination by reporting incidents to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. 

Every Minnesotan can call the Discrimination Helpline at 1-833-454-0148 or complete and submit this online form. The helpline is staffed Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

More information on the helpline and in various languages can be found here.


What can I do if I can’t afford and/or go to the store to get groceries or supplies?

Students

Free take-home meals will be available for Minnesota students this summer through the USDA Summer Food Service Program. You can find distribution sites on the Free Meals for Kids app, by calling 1-888-711-1151 or visiting hungerimpactpartners.org.

Food Pantries

There are approximately 24 food pantries in Minnesota's Second Congressional District. You can find a food pantry in your area here or by visiting one of the websites below:

Local United Way Chapters
There are various United Way chapters with food service and other programs and resources in the MN-02. Please see below:

Second Harvest Heartland
This organization has resources and information on SNAP for families. 

You can also call the helpline 844-764-5513 or 651-209-7963.

Lutheran Social Services
LSS offers various resources and programs including financial assistance to purchase needs such as groceries.

Jewish Family Service of St. Paul
JFSS has programs in place to assist with financial hardship due to COVID-19. 

South Metro Islamic Center
This center located in Rosemount has a food shelf with open pick-ups and no income requirement. 

Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels is a national organization that addresses senior isolation and hunger. To find a program near you, enter your address and learn more

Minnesota Department of Human Services

DHS has created an emergency food support webpage which outlines hunger resources in districts and communities. These resources include:

  • Find a local food shelf or meal program

  • Apply for food assistance

  • Contact a county or tribal human service agency

  • Authorize a representative to shop on their behalf (if you already participate in SNAP)

  • Have groceries delivered to their homes

  • Volunteer at a food shelf

  • Donate to a food shelf

  • Find additional resources for seniors, individuals with disabilities, and veterans


How can I protect myself and others while grocery shopping?

The Food and Drug Administration has released guidelines for grocery shopping as well as information regarding concerns around food during the coronavirus pandemic:

As grocery shopping remains a necessity during this pandemic, many people have questions about how to shop safely. The FDA wants to reassure consumers that there is currently no evidence of human or animal food or food packaging being associated with transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. This particular coronavirus causes respiratory illness and is spread from person-to-person, unlike foodborne gastrointestinal or GI viruses, such as norovirus and hepatitis A that often make people ill through contaminated food.

Although your grocery store may be temporarily out of certain products, there are no nationwide shortages of food. Food production and manufacturing are spread throughout the United States. During this pandemic, consumers are getting most of their food from grocery stores, and many stores have modified their operating hours to allow for more time to restock shelves and clean. In addition, many stores are providing special hours for seniors or other high-risk individuals to shop and are offering pick-up and delivery services. Check the store’s website or call the store to learn more.

To help protect yourself, grocery store workers, and other shoppers, it is important to keep a few things in mind:

  • Prepare a shopping list in advance. Buy just 1 to 2 weeks-worth of groceries at a time. Buying more than you need can create unnecessary demand and temporary shortages.

  • Wear a face covering or mask while you are in the store. Some stores and localities may require it. Check your state, county or city guidelines for any other requirements.

  • Carry your own wipes, or use wipes provided by the store to wipe down the handles of the shopping cart or basket. If you use reusable shopping bags, ensure they are cleaned or washed before each use.

  • Practice social distancing while shopping – keeping at least 6 feet between you, other shoppers, and store employees. Keep your hands away from your face.

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds when you return home and again after you put away your groceries.

  • Again, there is no evidence of food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19. However, if you wish, you can wipe down product packaging and allow it to air dry, as an extra precaution.

As always, it is important to follow these food safety practices to help prevent foodborne illness:

  • Before eating, rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten. Scrub firm produce with a clean produce brush. For canned goods, remember to clean lids before opening.

  • When unpacking groceries, refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, and other perishables—like berries, lettuce, herbs, and mushrooms—within 2 hours of purchasing.

  • Regularly clean and sanitize kitchen counters using a commercially available disinfectant product or a DIY sanitizing solution with 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) unscented liquid chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water or 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water. WARNING: Do not use this solution or other disinfecting products on food.

  • Always keep in mind the basic 4 food safety steps — Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.

  • Food is a source of comfort, as well as nourishment for you and your family – especially now – and we hope this advice will help you continue to buy groceries with care and confidence.

For more information:


I am abroad and stuck in a different country. Can your office help?

Yes, we can work with the State Department and help. Please call my Burnsville office at 651-846-2120.

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
Sign up for STEP updates relevant to you and find resources here.


I am feeling stressed, anxious, and/or depressed about this pandemic. What can I do?

Please know that we are in this together. If you are experiencing an emergency please call 911. You can find additional resources below.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The CDC has a section of their COVID-19 response addressing mental health. 

Disaster Distress Helpline
The Helpline is a free 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week resource that responds to people who need crisis counseling and support in dealing with the traumatic effects of the coronavirus. The Helpline is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Helpline specialists are trained to assist callers who have a range of symptoms. 

Helpline: 1-800-985-5990. You can also call: 800-985-5990 or text: ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746

Lutheran Social Services
LSS offers various programs for behavioral health and can be explored on their website.

National Alliance on Mental Illness
NAMI put together a comprehensive packet for those in distress because of the coronavirus pandemic.

National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline
The helpline is open Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at (800) 950-6264.

Domestic Violence Assistance
If you are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224. You can also visit the resources below.


I am caring for a person who is elderly and have questions. What resources are out there?

Minnesota Elder Justice Center

The Minnesota Elder Justice Center has created a coronavirus resource kit. You can find it here.


I want to help those impacted by COVID-19. What can I do?

Most importantly, prioritize protecting yourself and others. To do that you should:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid close contact with others by social distancing and following the Stay at Home order
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes

Some ways that you can help your community are:

The following community resources are looking for volunteers:

Red Cross
Donate blood to help those in emergency situations. Call for more information 612-871-7676 or go to their website to find a location to donate near you.

YMCA
The YMCA provides childcare and youth services. Visit their website to find one near you, or call 612-230-9622.

Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota
LSS is currently seeking volunteers to help package and deliver meals to homebound older adults in Greater Minnesota. Volunteer caregivers are needed to provide telephone support and visits to some families who have loved ones with chronic care and need a break. They are also seeking groceries and hygiene items for youth experiencing homelessness serviced through the LSS Metro Homeless Youth Services in the Twin Cities. To help, email Rosie.Blanc@lssmn.org or call 651-470-8801.

Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels is a meal delivery service to seniors. They need drivers and help preparing food. Call 612-623-3363 or visit their website.

FEMA
You can sell or donate medical supplies. Find more information here

Hunger Solutions
Hunger Solutions has a list of ways you can help food pantries during this time here

County resources
Call or visit your county’s website to see how you can help!