Small businesses in Minneapolis' Uptown neighborhood are rallying together with an online fundraising campaign to help keep them going as they struggle with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the start of the pandemic, bricks and mortar retail businesses have struggled with the major shift of consumers doing their shopping from home, while hospitality and entertainment businesses are dealing with another temporary shutdown as Minnesota attempts to limit the spread of COVID-19.
None of the businesses involved in the Uptown campaign are directly named, but it speaks directly to Minnesotans, saying: "We need your help."
"Our small businesses need your help. Without our government helping us in this crucial time, we are losing everything we have worked for," the GoFundMe campaign says. "Our staff need help with rent, our buildings have monthly bills to pay, our families are relying on us to keep our business open."
The fundraiser, as of this writing, has generated $925 of a $30,000 goal. Small businesses that want to be involved in the distribution of funds should use the contact form through the GoFundMe and express interest.
Some Minnesota businesses have received some relief through stimulus earlier in the pandemic, and it's possible that state legislators pass another stimulus bill next week. A deal providing more substantial aid from federal government is still yet to be struck in Congress, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday signaling he will reject a bipartisan $908 billion support deal.
Time is running out for a deal to be struck before an estimated 12 million Americans' unemployment benefits end.
Minnesota lawmakers have been discussing a relief bill for weeks. It's being reported that there is agreement on business support at least, with the relief package proposed by Minnesota GOPers seemingly getting the backing of House Democrats and Gov. Tim Walz.
However, the bill does not explicitly benefit workers who've been out of a job and may see their unemployment benefits end at the end of the month, which is something Democrats want to see addressed. More on the state-level relief bill negotiations here.
In an attempt to drum up business in Uptown, $10 gift cards for Uptown restaurants, bakeries and coffee shops are being given out to anyone who emails a copy of a sales receipt for at least $50 from any Uptown Community Partner retail business to the Uptown Association.