ST. PAUL -- Communities across Minnesota will be receiving relief funding from the state during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan announced their plan to distribute $853 million to counties, cities, and towns.

They say $12 million will serve as emergency funding for food shelves and food banks across the state which have seen a thirty percent increase in the visitors each month since the start of the pandemic.

The remaining $841 million will go to county and city governments to use as grants for their local businesses, hospitals, organizations, and individuals affected by COVID-19. The funding may also be used to pay for additional costs to the city incurred because of the virus, but not to cover shortfalls in the budgets of local governments.

Walz says the funding will be distributed by the Minnesota Department of Revenue based on population size and city and county officials must follow federal guidelines to cover only necessary costs specifically related to the public health crisis when allocating the funding.

The relief funding was made possible by the federal CARES Act passed in March.

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