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Minnesota’s communities respond to the economic impacts of COVID-19

Local economies have been heavily disrupted by COVID-19. By late March in Minnesota, all non-essential businesses closed in response to Governor Tim Walz’s stay-at-home order. Although many businesses have since reopened, the shock to local economies is ongoing.

While there is no playbook for responding to an economic disruption of this scale, local governments are taking steps to support community businesses during the crisis.

Local governments are closely linked — and connected to — the small business community. Despite facing increasingly constrained resources themselves, many have taken meaningful and creative steps to support local businesses.

Business support strategies used in four Minnesota communities

Crookston, Greater Fergus Falls, Brooklyn Center, Saint Paul
The locations tied to the COVID-19 retail
case studies in Minnesota.

Four communities across Minnesota — both urban and rural — are featured in these case studies that describe local responses to the economic impacts of COVID-19. Read their stories:

The case studies describe wide-ranging strategies to support businesses. While the approach of cities and community studies varied, they fall within the following six categories.


Special thanks to Annie Deckert, executive director, Greater Fergus Falls; Terri Heggie, executive director, Crookston Chamber of Commerce; Meg Beekman, community development director, City of Brooklyn Center; and Kristin Guild, deputy director, planning and economic development, City of St. Paul, for their contributions to this project.


Rani Bhattacharyya and Tom Leighton are principal authors of the case studies. Rani is a community economics Extension educator with the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality, and Tom is an economic development specialist with Stantec.


Reviewed in 2020

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