Hennepin County News and COVID-19 Update - May 2

commissioner marion greene

May 2, 2020

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As we round out another week of this “new normal”, I want to express my gratitude for your continued engagement and support. It isn’t easy to abruptly uproot old patterns and ways of being. The uncertainty of these times is stressful and uncomfortable. Your contributions cannot be downplayed and are deeply appreciated.

With your support, Hennepin County leadership is making thoughtful, informed decisions about how to respond to this crisis and how to rebuild in its aftermath. As I shared in a recent Southwest Journal interview, a mentor once told me years ago that the earlier you can plan for how life will be different after a crisis, the better off you will be. In spite of the fact that we have plenty on our plate relating to today and tomorrow, Hennepin County is not losing sight of the horizon.

Thank you again for your engagement and support.

Be well,

marion signature

Governor Walz Extends "Stay Home MN" Order to May 18


On April 30, Governor Tim Walz made the decision to extend Minnesota’s "stay home" order through May 18. The data shows that our collective effort to stay home as much as possible and practice safe social distancing is making an impact -- keep up the good work!

Find more information about the extended order here.


New Minnesota State COVID-19 Testing Website

Learn what to do if sick and how to find a testing location in your community. 


"Stay At Home" should never mean you stay somewhere unsafe. There are places of sanctuary open for anyone facing abuse or violence. Please call Minnesota's statewide crisis hotline - available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - at 1.866.223.1111 or text 612.399.9995.


On April 23, Governor Walz ordered the state’s public K-12 schools to stay closed for the rest of the academic year.The order assures that students and teachers will finish out the school year through distance-learning plans that have been underway for weeks.

Read Star Tribune Coverage here. 

Property Tax Abatement Update

The board approved a measure to automatically waive penalties for certain property tax payments due on May 15 but made on or before July 15. 

For property taxpayers who owe less than $100,000 in a year, and who do not escrow, no penalties will be charged if payment is received on or before July 15.

For property taxpayers who owe more than $100,000 in a year and will not be able to pay property taxes due on May 15, there will be an application to have penalties waived after late payment penalties are incurred. This application will become available after the May 15 deadline. We strongly encourage individuals to apply if needed. In the meantime, find updates on the Hennepin County Tax Payment Options page.

Hennepin County asks taxpayers who can pay even a portion by May 15 to do so.

Hennepin County Emergency Assistance

Hennepin County Small Business Relief Program

The board approved an initial investment of $2 million of emergency loan funding to help local businesses recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19. The county will partner with Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers to assist approximately 265 businesses.

Learn more about small business relief.


Small Business Outreach

The board approved an agreement with the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability to provide small business outreach in partnership with culturally specific, community-based organizations. 


Emergency Housing Assistance 

The board approved an initial investment of $740,000 to fund emergency housing assistance for renters and homeowners. The county will add up to $1.5 million more for rental assistance from federal CARES Act funding in the coming days.

Interactive Map of Major 2020 Hennepin County Construction Projects

cons 2

The mapping program provides an interactive overview of expected major transportation maintenance activities and construction projects for 2020. However, this should not be considered a final list. For example, some items listed still require board approval. Other factors could affect timing, including weather conditions, emergency needs and other projects (including by other entities) in the area.

Residents will be made aware of most of the activities included on the map as the start of work nears. Communication efforts may include a website, a GovDelivery email message, open houses, visits with local businesses, notifications in city newsletters and signs on site.  

Check it out here. 

Zero Waste Challenge


The #StayHomeMN effort has led to fewer cars on our roads, which in turn means lower carbon footprints and lowered environmental impacts. If you are interested and able, the Hennepin County Zero Waste Challenge is a great way to further help our planet by learning how to prevent waste and become a more thoughtful consumer. The challenge runs from May 17 to June 27.

Sign up now.

Minneapolis "Stay Healthy" Routes


The City of Minneapolis opened up space for walking, rolling and biking to support active recreation and safe access to essential businesses with Stay Healthy Streets. People should stay 6+ feet apart to stay healthy and protect their fellow community members per Minnesota Department of Health guidelines. If you see a crowd, go somewhere else.

See the map of Stay Healthy Streets loop routes.

Stay Healthy Streets complement the approximately 21 miles of parkways the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has opened up to give people more space for outdoor activities. The city has installed about 5 miles of expended pedestrian space focused on areas where there are higher concentrations of pedestrians accessing essential services and narrow sidewalks that do not easily support social distancing. 

See the map of all Stay Healthy Streets.

Stay Healthy Streets routes will be implemented starting April 29 to provide even more opportunities for safe walking, rolling and biking. Check them out, stay active and stay safe.

Streets on these routes will generally be closed to thru car traffic but remain open for local resident access. On-street parking will generally be retained; some connection points will have parking restrictions on one side of the street to ensure space for walking, rolling and biking.

COVID-19 Community Resources


Use the new Hennepin County local resource site to find updated information on food shelves and meals, financial assistance, mental health services, domestic violence services, and resources for housing and utilities. 

Explore the page here. 



Minnesota Discrimination Helpline

On April 6, the Walz administration established a statewide discrimination helpline for Minnesotans to report instances of bias and discrimination the 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.


Hennepin County COVID-19 Service Website

Hennepin County is continually finding ways to continue providing residents with services during this time. You can find the most up-to-date information about how to access these services here.


SNAP Update

If you receive SNAP benefits but can’t leave your home to get groceries, you may now designate someone to use your EBT card on your behalf.

Learn more here. 


Meal Pick Up

Minneapolis Meal Pick Up

Minneapolis Public Schools is offering weekly food pick up at nearly 50 food distribution sites across the city of Minneapolis. Each day, up to 10 different sites across the city offer food pick-up from 10 am - 2 pm, Monday-Friday. Each food box contains 5 breakfasts and 5 lunches for a total of 10 meals. Families are welcome to take one box per child, per week. Food is free and available to any child 18 years or younger.

Find out more.


St. Louis Park Meal Pick Up

Meals will be distributed on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. On Wednesdays, families will have the ability to obtain enough meals for the remainder of the week. Questions? Call the School Nutrition Department at 952-928-6146.

Find out more


Hennepin County COVID-19-Related Scams 

Review a list compiled by the Hennepin County Attorney's Office on scams related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Low-Cost Internet Options to Support Distance Learning

Learn about free and low-cost internet options to support distance learning.


Hennepin County Data Transparency

It’s Hennepin County’s responsibility to provide support for residents in need, and accurate data helps ensure we do it effectively. Learn how we’re using data to guide our COVID-19 response. 


Metropolitan Council Curb-to-Curb Rides for Essential Healthcare Workers

The Metropolitan Council announced it’s marshaling its resources for the region’s frontline healthcare workers to provide a safe and stress-free trip to and from work. Metro Mobility is now 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 here. 


Curbside Pickup at Eight Hennepin County Libraries 

Hennepin County Libraries are now offering contactless curbside pickup at eight library locations. Pilot locations include Brooklyn Park, East Lake, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Plymouth, Ridgedale, Washburn, and Webber Park. Visit the Curbside Pickup FAQ for details on how to safely access physical materials from the collection.


Energy Bill Assistance For Renters and Homeowners

If you need help covering your heating bills, the state’s Energy Assistance Program may be able to help. Funding is still available for households in need, and eligibility criteria have been loosened to ensure as many households as possible can benefit during the pandemic. 


Homeless Assistance

Hennepin County has set up a new hotline through Healthcare for the Homeless to help people access quarantine and isolation space, or to speak with a nurse or social worker. Please encourage anyone who may need these services to call 612-348-5553. In addition, this list of resources may help people experiencing housing instability, including key information like how to access shelter, how to apply for food or rent assistance, and where to find public restrooms.


Legal Resources Related to COVID-19

Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid has created a webpage with updates on court cases and advice for people with questions about housing, safety, health, unemployment benefits, etc. during this time.

Visit the site here.


The Domestic Abuse Service Center Offering Remote Services

On March 16, the Domestic Abuse Service Center (DASC) began offering services remotely to continue supporting victims of domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. All remote services can be accessed by calling (612) 348-5073.


Personal Mask Use

You can help protect others around you by wearing a non-medical grade mask when going out in public. A mask can catch respiratory droplets so they don’t come into contact with other people. However, wearing a mask is not meant to protect you and is not a substitute for social distancing. 

In this video, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams shares ways to create your own non-medical grade mask.


Free Nice Ride Memberships for Healthcare Workers

See more here.

Census 2020 Digital Action Weekend

May 1 - 3 is Census Digital Action Weekend! It’s not too late to respond to the 2020 Census while being safe and practicing social distancing at home. Once you have responded, please encourage your family, friends, and loved ones to complete the census, too. Minnesota is already ranked number one in the country for census response, but there’s still room for improvement.

Learn more about how you can help.


Hennepin County Census Response Tracker


Track Hennepin County census response rates by zip code, which was created by Geographic information system mapping (GIS). Users may also change the view in the upper right hand corner under legend and see by commissioners’ districts. It’s on the Hennepin.us/wecount page and will be updated once a week.

Hennepin County is participating at some of the highest rates in the country, but the response rates for historically undercounted communities remain low. The census team is working on revised plans to engage hard-to-reach residents.

Learn about options to complete the 2020 Census and watch a short video.

View Census 2020 important dates.


Hennepin County Affordable Housing Public Comment Period

housing plan

Hennepin County is seeking feedback on the use of funds for affordable housing and community development in suburban cities.

Share your written comments by May 8.



Engaging with our Local Art Scene

MN Art Mart is an instant way to help artists who rely on income from contract labor, traveling gigs, and sales of work, who have been adversely affected by the events of COVID-19.

Learn more here. 


Play at Home, Short Plays to Watch at Home was launched in March 2020 by a collection of theaters who were producing plays, business as usual, when a global pandemic had other plans. Prioritizing the safety of their communities, they made difficult decisions to cease or postpone programming for the remainder their seasons. But the story doesn’t end there. With a spirit of resilience, adaptation, and invitation, they came together to create the Play At Home project, a series of short plays commissioned specifically for this moment of unprecedented isolation to inspire joy and connection for all.

Learn more here. 


Find your next read at the Advocates for Human Rights Book Club.


Stream movies from MSP Film Society Virtual Cinema's selection.


Additional Online Experiences:


Resources and Access at Home

Immediate Community Updates:

Internet and Online Connectivity Resources:

Contact us

Marion Greene
Commissioner, 3rd District

Elie Farhat
Principal Aide

Laura Hoffman
District Aide


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