COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

To report a potential violation of the Governor’s orders, please email SAHviolations@state.mn.us  or call  651-793-3746.

The State has created a chart that outlines Minnesota's phased-in approach to reopening various business and social settings. Facial coverings are strongly recommended at all times, and all non-Critical Sector businesses are required to have adopted and implemented a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. 

PHASE 1: MAY 18-JUNE 1 (current phase) 

OPEN (with restrictions) 

  • Social Settings: Gatherings of 10 or less; Drive-in gatherings per Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines 
  • Critical Businesses: Open (must telework if you can) 
  • Non-critical Businesses (non-customer facing): Open (must telework if you can, must have COVID-19 preparedness plan) 
  • Retail: Open (50% capacity, must have COVID-19 preparedness plan) 
  • Restaurants and Bars: Delivery and Take Out Only 
  • Outdoor entertainment (movies in the park, concerts, etc.): Drive-in events per MDH Guidelines 
  • Rec Sports and Youth Programming: Open per MDH guidance (no games) 
  • Outdoor Recreation Activities and Facilities: Open per DNR's Outdoor Recreation Guidelines 
  • Places of Worship, religious services, weddings, and funerals: Indoors are allowed with a capacity of 10 or less; outdoors with a capacity of 10 or less, or drive-in services per MDH guidelines 

Find MDH guidelines for business sectors here.

CLOSED 

  • Personal services (salons, tattoos, barbershops) - opens with restrictions on June 1 for Phase II 
  • Campgrounds and charter boats - opens with restrictions on June 1 for Phase II 
  • Gyms, personal fitness and yoga studios, martial arts 
  • Entertainment (bowling alleys, movie theaters, arcades, theaters) 
  • Large public gatherings (festivals, sporting events, large concerts) 

PHASE II: STARTING JUNE 1 

OPEN (in addition to Phase I) 

  • Restaurants and Bars: Outdoor spaces are permitted to open. 6 ft of distance must be maintained and capacity cannot exceed 50 customers. Reservations are required. Masks are required for workers and are strongly recommended for customers. 
  • Personal services (salons, tattoos, barbershops): 6 ft of distance must be maintained at 25% capacity. Appointments and masks are required for workers and customers. 
  • Campgrounds and charter boats: Open with guidance

CLOSED 

  • Gyms, personal fitness and yoga studios, martial arts 
  • Entertainment (bowling alleys, movie theaters, arcades, theaters) 
  • Large public gatherings (festivals, sporting events, large concerts) 

 The Governor continues to encourage Minnesotans to take cautious steps forward by protecting those most at risk, supporting workers, and all do our part to slow the spread of the virus by:  

  • Washing your hands often 
  • Getting tested when sick 
  • Maintaining social distance 
  • Wearing a mask 
  • Staying home when able 

For additional questions, please reference the FAQ on the Governor’s website: https://mn.gov/governor/covid-19/faq.jsp 


PUBLIC HEALTH  

How many cases of COVID-19 are there in Saint Paul? 
Find the latest situation report on the Minnesota Department of Health’s website: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/situation.html 

How can I prevent getting COVID-19? 
Health officials recommend taking the same precautions for COVID-19 as you would for avoiding colds and the flu: 

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your sleeve or a tissue, not your hand. 
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. 
  • Stay home when you are sick. 

Do I need to wear a face covering? 
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 the community setting. This is to protect people around you if you are infected but do not have symptoms. 

Find a comprehensive FAQ about the CDC’s guidance about face coverings here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-faq.html 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 
The CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 after exposure. Symptoms can include: 

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

If I have symptoms, when should I see a doctor? 

  • If you have symptoms and can manage those symptoms at home, you don't have to seek health care or be tested for COVID-19. Just stay home while you are sick. This prevents you from accidentally spreading COVID-19 to others who may be at higher risk for serious complications. 
  • If you are older or have underlying medical conditions, it may be helpful to let your health care provider know you are sick. They may have some specific advice for you. 
  • Some people with COVID-19 have worsened during the second week of illness. 
  • Seek medical care right away if your illness is worsening (for example, if you have difficulty breathing). 
  • Before going to the doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them your symptoms. They will tell you what to do. 
  • If you don’t have a health care provider or are uninsured, contact a federally qualified Community Health Center. 

What should I do if I don’t have insurance? 

Health Hotline 
Health Questions? Call 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903. This is a state hotline staffed by MDH and will be operating from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

Where can I find mental health resources? 

Where can I find multilingual health information? 

Community Recommendations 
The Minnesota Department of Health has community recommendations involving employers, assisted living facilities, schools and health care settings and large and small community events and gatherings.  


HUMAN RIGHTS 

I am concerned about visiting a doctor because of my immigration status. 
Anyone who is sick during the COVID-19 crisis should seek medical care without fear, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay for health services.  It is important that everyone in Saint Paul including non-citizen residents regardless of immigration status obtain medical care should they become ill.  

The recent changes to the “public charge rule” which makes it harder for some immigrants to obtain a green card or visa when they have received certain government benefits and ICE’s increased enforcement activities in local communities have worked to discourage immigrants and refugees from going to hospitals and medical care facilities to seek medical treatment.  

However, it is important for our immigrant and refugee communities in Saint Paul to know that: 

  • Public charge: The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS)  will not consider any “testing, treatment, nor preventative care (including vaccines, if a vaccine because available) related to COVID-19 in a public charge determination, even if such treatment is provided or paid for by one or more public benefits.”  

  • ICE Enforcement: On March 18th, ICE announced that it would “temporarily adjust its enforcement posture” and focus enforcement on “public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds.” For all others, the agency “will exercise discretion to delay enforcement actions until after the crisis or utilize alternatives to detention, as appropriate.” The ICE also stated that “consistent with its sensitive locations policy, during the COVID-19 crisis,  it will not make any arrests near hospitals, doctor’s offices, or health clinics “except in the most extraordinary circumstances.” 

Find more information on the City Attorney’s Office translated into Hmong, Karen, Oromo, Somali, and Spanish: https://www.stpaul.gov/departments/city-attorney/civil-division/immigration-resources-assistance

Reporting discrimination 

  • Viruses don’t discriminate, and neither should we. Stigma will NOT fight COVID–19. If you believe you have been discriminated against because of COVID-19, contact the City of Saint Paul by calling 651-266-8966, email hrights@ci.stpaul.mn.us, or visit www.stpaul.gov/hreeo
  • Amid rising reports of discrimination from the Asian American community, Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan today launched a Discrimination Helpline to reinforce the state’s efforts to protect the civil rights of Minnesotans during the COVID-19 pandemic. The toll-free helpline, which is at 1-833-454-0148, will allow those who experience or witness bias and discrimination to report incidents to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. The helpline is staffed Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

WORKFORCE 

I'm unemployed. Where can I get help? 

If your employment has been affected by COVID-19, you can apply for unemployment benefits. The State is taking steps to make the application process a little simpler for those affected. Learn more at https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/workers/.  

How is the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act supporting workers and families? 

Federal Economic Impact Payments will be distributed automatically to most people. Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 and chose direct deposit of their refund will automatically receive an Economic Impact Payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples and $500 for each qualifying child. 

  • For those who don’t normally file tax returns, the U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service have launched a new web tool allowing quick registration for Economic Impact Payments for those who don’t normally file a tax return.  
  • The IRS will post additional updates on IRS.gov/coronavirus on these and other issues. 

Ramsey County information for the workforce: https://www.ramseycountymeansbusiness.com/covid-19

For specific FAQs for workers, find more information from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development: https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/workers/worker-faqs/.  


HOUSING, UTILITIES, AND LEGAL ASSISTANCE

The City of Saint Paul is committed to ensuring every Saint Paul resident fully realizes fair housing. The Department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity (HREEO) has made available frequently asked questions for renter's rights during the COVID-19 pandemic. The FAQs are available in multiple languages. Residents can also contact HREEO if they have questions about their rental rights or believe they have been discriminated against. More information is available at stpaul.gov/humanrights.

Emergency Shelter and/or Rental Assistance 

Foreclosure Assistance 

  • City of Saint Paul: (651) 266-6626 
  • Minnesota Homeownership Center: (651) 659-9336 

Free Legal Assistance 

​​ Utility Assistance 


SAINT PAUL BRIDGE FUND 

Applications are now closed for the Saint Paul Bridge Fund, which will provide emergency relief for families and small businesses most impacted by COVID-19. Learn more at stpaul.gov/bridge-fund.

Grants will be awarded through a random selection process from a list of all eligible applicants who applied April 8 through April 19 by 5 p.m.  All eligible applications will have an equal chance of being awarded a grant.

If you have questions, call 651-266-6565. Staff are available to help who speak English, Hmong, Spanish, Somali, Oromo and Karen throughout the weekend.

Community members can now donate to the Saint Paul Bridge Fund on GiveMNDonations will increase the number of families and small businesses that receive funds through the program.

The Saint Paul Bridge Fund includes funds provided by The Saint Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority and private donors including the Baird, Bush Foundation, Ecolab Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Minnesota United FC, Minnesota Wild, Peter H. Seed, the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, Securian Foundation, Whaley Foundation, Xcel Energy, and over 120 individual contributors.  


SMALL BUSINESS AND NONPROFIT INFORMATION 

What local resources are available for small businesses? 

What state resources are available for small businesses? 

  • Emergency Loan Program: The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is creating an emergency loan program to help Minnesota small business owners who need immediate assistance to meet their families’ basic needs during COVID-19 closures. Small Business Emergency Loan Program by making available $30 million from special revenue funds. These dollars will be used by DEED’s lender network to make loans of between $2,500 and $35,000 for qualifying small businesses. 
  • DEED also offers a Shared Work Program which may help businesses avoid layoffs. The program allows employers to divide available hours of work among a group of employees instead of implementing a full layoff. These employees may then receive partial unemployment insurance benefits while working reduced hours.   
  • Find more information on DEED’s website: https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/employers/.  
  • Community Benefit Financial Company Emergency Fund (Otto Bremer Trust)
  • Propel Nonprofits Working Capital Loans: Loans to support program and operational stability or program expansion or reimbursements. Typical range: $20,000 to $600,000. Learn more at https://www.propelnonprofits.org/lending/.

What national resources are small businesses? 

  • Save Small Business Fund. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation – in partnership with Vistaprint and a coalition of supporting companies, foundations, and philanthropic donors – has launched the Save Small Business Fund. The Fund will provide $5,000 grants to help as many businesses as possible meet their most pressing needs -- from rent, making payroll, or for overall business operations.
  • SBA Debt Relief. The SBA Debt Relief program will provide a reprieve to small businesses as they overcome the challenges created by this health crisis. Under this program: 
    • The SBA will also pay the principal and interest of new 7(a) loans issued prior to September 27, 2020. 
    • The SBA will pay the principal and interest of current 7(a) loans for a period of six months. 
  • SBA Express Bridge Loans. Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan. Terms” 
    • Up to $25,000 
    • Fast turnaround 
    • Will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from the EIDL loan 
    • Find an Express Bridge Loan Lender by connecting with your local SBA District Office

FAMILY RESOURCES 

Saint Paul Public Schools Meal Service 

Starting Monday, April 20, SPPS will no longer have bus stop deliveries. Instead, SPPS will start weekly home meal delivery to SPPS families who are in need of food for their children. Meals are only for kids ages 18 and under, or those with a disability enrolled in a school program. Please continue to check spps.org/covidmeals for the most up-to-date information about meals, including pickup times and locations. 

Saint Paul Public Schools Distance Learning 

As part of the Governor’s stay-at-home order, all students in Minnesota will not return to school until after May 4. Distance learning for Saint Paul Public Schools students will begin on Monday, April 6, after our regularly scheduled spring break. For more information, look for communication from your student’s teacher and visit spps.org/distancelearning.

Food Assistance 

  • WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is a supplemental food, nutrition and breastfeeding program that helps eligible pregnant women, new mothers, babies and young children eat well, learn about nutrition and stay healthy. Saint Paul – Ramsey County Public Health continues to offer WIC services to eligible families with children up to age five. Please call 651-266-1300 to apply for WIC.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Apply for cash emergency and food assistance at http://applymn.dhs.mn.gov. Before applying, you can see if you are eligible for ApplyMN programs at http://mn.bridgetobenefits.org
  • Hunger Impact Resources: hungerimpactpartners.org 
  • Ramsey County: ramseycounty.us/covid-19-info/community-resources 
  • Saint Paul Public Schools: spps.org/Page/38722 

Essential Childcare for Emergency Workers 
Beginning Monday, April 6, emergency workers can receive free childcare for children ages 5-12, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. each school day at five Saint Paul Public Schools sites. Free breakfast and lunch will be provided. Students can bring their iPads to work on Distance Learning assignments. Transportation between a student's home and the closest Essential Care site is available. 

The five locations are: 

  • Rondo Education Center 
  • Horace Mann School 
  • L'Etoile du Nord – Lower Campus 
  • Riverview West Side School of Excellence 
  • St. Anthony Park Elementary School 

Extended-day care is also available for a fee, from 6-9 a.m. and 3-6 p.m. each day, at all five schools for the children of emergency workers only. Transportation is not available for this extended care time. The fee for extended care is $15 per child for each morning session and $15 per child for each afternoon session. 

Registration is required for both Essential Kids Care and extended-day care. Every effort will be made to place students at the location requested. Employment verification (ID badge or copy of) will be required at the time of drop-off or prior to taking district transportation. Temperature checks will also be given to both staff and students before entering the program.  

You will receive confirmation of placement by Thursday, April 2. If you have any questions, please call 651-632-3793. For more information on the district’s plans for the upcoming weeks, please visit spps.org/covid

School/Child Care Hotline 
School and Child Care Questions? Call 651-297-1304. This is a state hotline open for school and child care questions for Minnesota residents that is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day of the week. 


TRANSPORTATION 

Metro Transit

  • Starting on March 25, Metro Transit moved to a service schedule that represents about 60% of its regularly scheduled weekday operations. The agency also will continue its practice of suspending service during the overnight hours of 11 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. 
  • Metro Mobility is providing free door-to-door service from home to work and work to home for any person who works at a healthcare facility, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Learn more about that service at metrocouncil.org
  • Light rail suspended 9 p.m.-6 a.m. beginning April 18. Metro Transit is making an additional service adjustment to its METRO light rail schedule to focus limited resources on times with the greatest demand by essential riders. Metro Transit will suspend all nightly light rail service between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. This new adjustment will go into effect Saturday, April 18, beginning at 6 a.m.
  • Effective Thursday, April 16, Metro Transit will take steps to allow better social distancingThe policy change enhances social distancing practices recommended by public health agencies for the health of customers and drivers. The limit will be 10 customers at any time on 40-foot buses; on 60-foot buses the limit is 15 customers.When a bus reaches the customer threshold, it will display “Next Bus Please” on its overhead sign to notify waiting customers that they should wait for the next trip. As soon as enough customers exit the bus, the sign will be turned off and customers can again board.


SCAMS & RUMOR CONTROL 

  • FEMA Coronavirus Rumor Control: The purpose of this FEMA page is to help the public distinguish between rumors and facts regarding the response to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic: https://www.fema.gov/coronavirus-rumor-control   
  • CDC: Stop the Spread of Rumors related to COVID-19 
    • Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding COVID-19. Learn more about Coronavirus scams from the Federal Trade Commission. Tips for avoiding these scams: 
    • Hang up on robocalls.   
    • Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home test kits.  
    • Don’t click on or respond to emails asking for personal information in order to receive an economic stimulus check from the government.  
    • Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know.  
    • Don’t click on or respond to emails that claim a positive COVID-19 test within your workplace.  
    • Don’t click on or respond to emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization.