As the nation struggles against the coronavirus (COVID-19), Minnesota—home to a multinational business community—is on the forefront of the economic and humanitarian response.
3M, for example, has doubled the output of its N95 respirator masks. These masks, which help protect health professionals and at-risk individuals, are in incredibly short supply.
According to a press release, 3M announced that they were operating at “maximum production to get respirators and other equipment from our plants to the doctors, nurses and first responders who desperately need them as quickly as possible. In the U.S., we are producing 35 million respirators per month. More than 500,000 respirators are on the way to two of the ore critically impacted areas, New York and Seattle, with arrivals expected starting tomorrow (3/23).”
Other multinationals, used to sending its employees abroad to conduct business, have curbed travel. Cargill, the privately-held ag commodities and food conglomerate, has gone so far as to ban international travel. The company said that this precaution was meant to follow World Health Organization guidelines, and protect the safety of its employees, their families, and others.
But Minnesota’s small businesses may be under the most pressure—especially those that depend on on-site diners and customers. Minnesota’s craft brewers and tap rooms, for example, are taking a huge hit. Sales to distributors (liquor stores) may help ease some of the pain, but many brewers are looking to do deliveries or for other ways to recover lost sales.