“It’s a great start, but it is not enough.”

….Hospitality Minnesota head Liz Rammer as the governor’s COVID restrictions loosen today (Mon), allowing bars and restaurants to re-open at 50-percent capacity with other limitations. Rammer says it’s “certainly going to be a help”, as will state aid to some establishments plus federal assistance…

“But again it’s going to maybe in some cases be too little, too late for some of these folks, as they have just been really operating on fumes over these past several months. And missing out again on the very important holiday season was a really big challenge for most of these individuals and operations — and of course all of their workforce.”

Rammer suggests property tax or sales tax relief… waiving regulatory fees… and in addition:

“Ways that we can increase the opportunity for revenue, which would include alcohol-to-go expansion, that would maybe look at things like growlers and to-go cocktails. Again, looking at what we can do with capping, like the City of Minneapolis did, on delivery fees at 15 percent.”

Expect debate at the Minnesota Legislature now that lawmakers are back in session.

Minnesota Senate Republican Majority Leader Paul Gazelka says they’ll look at other ways to help small businesses — but…

“We have to balance a budget that’s gonna be over a billion dollars short, and so it makes it difficult.”

Rammer responds:

“Certainly understand living within your means, and yet this is an industry that deserves extra attention and help. It has been hammered the worst throughout all of this pandemic.”

Rammer says the hospitality industry contributes 18 percent of Minnesota’s sales tax revenues:

“It’s a good investment to try to do everything we can to prop up these businesses and make sure that they stay in business.”