Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce President Brad Meier hosted state senator John Jasinski and representative John Petersburg on his daily city update Tuesday, March 24. See the Facebook video here from the chamber's page. (The headline picture for this story is from the 2019 Steele County Free Fair.)

Jasinksi spoke of the quick bipartisan action that was taken to pass over $220 million dollars in bills to assist healthcare providers and others in immediate need due to the coronavirus spread. He says there is still a balancing act going on over the idea of "shelter-in-place." As of Tuesday, Governor Walz had not issued such an order.

Petersburg says his constituents are asking about how businesses will make it through this challenging time and asking how a recovery will be handled. He also said the legislature is trying to "do things right" even if it takes a little longer.

The full commentary of the officials is included in the Facebook feed of Meier's Tuesday update. Click here for the City of Owatonna coronavirus update from Monday, March 23.

Meier spoke of several issues facing local businesses in Tuesday's e-newsletter. A state emergency loan program was announced for businesses. There are several qualifying factors to be aware of. The Owatonna Chamber is surveying its members on whether they feel their business should be considered essential, should the state move to a "shelter-in-place" order.

The chamber has a portion of their website dedicated to information on COVID-19, how it is impacting local business, and ideas to assist companies.

Tuesday was the Great American Take Out and the chamber held a giveaway of Chamber Bucks as an added incentive. Meier encourages people to visit the local eateries offering take-out or delivery. A full list of businesses open and their hours can be found here on the Chamber's website.

Meier says they are adding a section to the page with "a list of 'good' business is doing where we'll highlight your help supporting in this challenging time." He mentions the recent donation of face masks to the Owatonna Healthcare Campus by Cybex and Black Forest Ltd, Junior Achievement offering online learning, and Kleckers Kreations putting together a buy and sell page for downtown businesses.