By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz says that he intends to soon announce a major state relief plan to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Walz, he will call a special session on Tuesday in order to approve the plan, which will include sales tax mitigation. Both small businesses and the hospitality industry have struggled during the pandemic and its resulting restrictions.

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In a later press release, Walz says he is eager to work with legislators on both sides of the aisle to get it done and is ready to call a special session as soon as the legislature agrees on a package for the “much-needed” relief. During a press conference, Walz says he hopes for it to pass Tuesday.

“This is not fair,” Walz said. “The pandemic is not fair, and it is our job as leaders to make it more just. Small businesses across our state are in dire need of relief. Many workers are struggling to make ends meet.As we take action to protect the health of our neighbors, we must also take action to support the people who are sacrificing so much.”

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He says the state’s relief will be available while the state awaits more relief from the federal government.

Some of the key points in the plan include:

– Sales tax forgiveness for businesses that sell food and beverages
– Waive state regulatory fees
– Exploring direct relief for individual workers
– One-time food grants to businesses to provide food to healthcare workers, homeless shelters and long-term care facilities
– Create a state tax credit for food donations in the hospitality industry
– Elimination of the COVID-19 Minnesota fund expiration date

Walz recently announced an additional $10 million in small business relief grants, which will support an additional 1,000 businesses that applied to the grant program. Minnesotans with questions about unemployment insurance are encouraged to visit UIMN.org.

Walz made the comments during a press conference early Monday afternoon where he and state officials unveiled new technology to help slow the spread of the virus: a contact tracing app.

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The app is called COVIDaware MN, and it’s free to download. About 20 other states are also using the app’s technology, the governor said.