Community Resource Guide
COVID-19 COMMUNITY RESOURCE GUIDE
Updated: May 22, 2020
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
Beginning May 18, non-critical businesses, like retail stores and main street businesses, were allowed to reopen if they have a social distancing plan and operate at 50 percent capacity. For more information on this go to our Small Business Fact Sheet.
Also, starting May 18, Minnesotans were welcome to gather with friends and family in groups of 10 or less with safe social distancing practices in place.
Additionally, the Walz-Flanagan Administration has released guidance on how to safely reopen bars, restaurants, barbershops, and salons beginning June 1. Please see our Small Business Fact Sheet for more information.
If you have additional questions, this is a helpful FAQ from the Governor’s Office.
What Is Open?
- State legislature
- Grocery stores
- Food shelves
- Convenience stores
- Take out or delivery food from some restaurants and bakeries
- *Dining in will be available for some restaurants beginning June 1. Please See our Small Business Fact Sheet for more details.
- Liquor stores
- Childcare facilities
- News organizations
- Gas stations
- Funeral homes
- Hardware stores
- Post offices
- Bait shops for live bait
- Outdoor shooting ranges and game farms
- Public and private parks and trails
- Golf courses and driving ranges
- Boating and off-highway vehicle services, including:
- Marina services
- Boat and off-highway vehicle sales and repair, by appointment only
- Dock installation and other lake services
Doctors, dentists and veterinarians can create a plan to keep patients and healthcare professionals safe and may begin offering elective procedures, which can treat chronic conditions, prevent and cure disease, and relieve chronic pain.
What Is Closed?
- Dine-in restaurants*
- Changes to come on June 1st*
- Bars and clubs
- Entertainment venues
- Gyms and fitness studios
- Bowling alleys
- Movie theaters
- Concert halls
- Country clubs
- Salons and barber shops*
- Reopening with guidelines on June 1st
- Tattoo parlors
- Reopening with guidelines on June 1st
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:
Do I need to wear a cloth face mask in public?
Wearing a mask in public is now recommended by the CDC, however, if you are sick it is most important that you stay home.
In light of new data about how COVID-19 spreads, along with evidence of widespread COVID-19 illness in communities across the country, CDC recommends that people wear a cloth face covering to cover their nose and mouth in public areas. More information from the CDC on cloth face coverings can be found here.
Here is guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health on face masks:
Masks or cloth face coverings can help with preventing your germs from infecting others – especially in situations where you may spread the virus without symptoms.
Wearing a mask does not protect you from others who may spread the virus. So, whether or not you wear a mask, you still need to wash your hands frequently, cover your cough, and practice social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet of space between people.
People who are sick should still stay home. Wearing a mask does not mean people who are sick should go out into the community. If you are sick and need to go to the doctor, call your health care provider before going in, and wear a mask to the clinic.
Don’t buy or wear surgical or N95 masks. These supplies are in high demand for health care facilities to protect health care workers.
Those providing care to children of essential workers are critical to our state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff members working in school-age and child care programs are especially encouraged to wear cloth face coverings during the work day as much as possible.
Additional guidance on keeping yourself and others safe during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.
What type of face mask am I being advised to wear?
The CDC and MDH recommends wearing non-FDA-regulated masks, including homemade masks. These are NOT surgical masks, which are in high demand. The difference between these masks can be found here.
Cloth face coverings should:
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.
- Be secured with ties or ear loops.
- Include multiple layers of fabric.
- Allow for breathing without restriction.
- Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.
To make your own cloth face coverings you can find options at these websites:
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.
- Summary of the CARES Act
- State-by-state information from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities
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 has launched a comprehensive website which includes a map of testing locations and other resources.
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?
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.
The Red Cross is also running plasma and blood donation centers. Find out more and fill out an application here.
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.
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).
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.
The FTC has put together information about scams and what to do to avoid them. You can find more information here.
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?
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:
- Apple Valley
- Cannon Falls
- New Prague
- Pine Island
- Red Wing
- South St. Paul
- Wabasha – Kellogg
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:
- Rice County United Way
- United Way of Goodhue, Wabasha, and Pierce Counties
- United Way of Hastings
- Greater Twin Cities United Way
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.
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.
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.
- Visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s website.
- Southern Valley Alliance for Battered Women serves Scott, Carver, and surrounding counties.
- Domestic Abuse Project has services and resources available across Minnesota.
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:
- Visit MN Responds for volunteer opportunities.
- Contact your local food shelf by phone or email. They are likely seeing an increase in demand. They can share safe ways for you to help your neighbors. Find a food shelf near you, or visit one of the websites below:
- Use technology to connect with one another. A phone call or video call can change the course of the day for many people.
- If you have Personal Protection Equipment for health care workers you would like to donate or make, please visit this website.
- If your business, school, university or medical facility has Personal Protection Equipment for health care workers, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The following community resources are looking for volunteers:
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.
Call or visit your county’s website to see how you can help!