Efforts to halt the spread of COVID-19 are creating immediate economic hardship for many working families.  

Minnesota employers slashed payrolls after Gov. Tim Walz issued emergency orders temporarily shutting down restaurants, schools, movie theaters and other spaces where contagion was likely to occur.

As of last Friday, over 204,000 Minnesotans had applied for unemployment insurance benefits, flooding the state’s website with such a high volume of traffic that the agency today rolled out a new process limiting who can apply on certain days of the week based on Social Security number.

Unions, meanwhile, have been busy advocating for broad health and economic protections for workers during the pandemic response, while also scrambling to connect impacted members with support they need.

Twin Cities worker center CTUL, which advocates for people working in low-wage industries, has compiled a “Know Your Rights” list with information on access to safety equipment, earned sick time and other protections during the COVID-19 emergency.

The Saint Paul Labor Studies and Resource Center, the nonprofit arm of the St. Paul Regional Labor Federation, has compiled a evolving list of resources that may be available to help people make ends meet during the public-health crisis. 

Unemployment Insurance can provide immediate, emergency relief for many workers impacted by COVID-19, including people who have been laid off or who have seen their hours reduced. Gov. Tim Walz moved quickly to streamline UI benefits during the crisis.

People seeking health insurance during the COVID-19 outbreak can shop for coverage on the state’s health exchange, MNsure.org. 

Greater Twin Cities United Way is a longstanding partner in the AFL-CIO Community Services program, and the nonprofit is stepping up to help working families during the COVID-19 response in several ways. 

Evictions have been suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic, but resources remain are available to working people concerned about keeping their homes. 

Financial assistance may be available through your county. Call to arrange an intake interview. 

Xcel Energy has announced it will not disconnect any household’s utilities during the pandemic. Learn more about the company’s response here

Some schools are giving students free meals while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 virus. 

The deadline for filing state and federal income taxes has been pushed back to July 15, 2020. 

Student loan borrowers may be able to suspend payments during the pandemic response. Click here for more information

The American Red Cross has a “critical need” for blood donors right now. To schedule an appointment call  651-291-6789, or click here to find a drive

Be on the lookout for scams! Here’s a list of tips from the Federal Trade Commission on how to avoid scams related to the coronavirus

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