Good morning, MBA readers,
Monday marks the start of a 30-day stretch during which residents of St. Louis and St. Louis County are being ordered to stay at home — with exceptions for trips to get groceries, health care and other critical needs — in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. A similar order will take effect in the Kansas City area starting Tuesday. At the state level, Gov. Mike Parson has ordered a temporary ban on all gatherings of 10 or more people. Businesses across the state continue to wrestle with the evolving challenge posed by the spread of the virus and efforts to contain it. From landlords considering how to handle late payment or nonpayment by tenants, to bars and restaurants creatively packaging their products for carryout, businesses are trying to forge ahead under circumstances the likes of which most have never experienced.
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Missouri extends income tax deadline
The deadline to file state income taxes in Missouri was extended to July 15 after the federal deadline was pushed to the same day. (Kansas City Star)
Parson still hasn’t closed businesses
Gov. Mike Parson has mandated restrictions on public gatherings, restaurant service and schools for the time being, but he has yet to shut down restaurants and bars, unlike surrounding states and some counties in Missouri. (St. Louis Business Journal, Reuters)
Metro areas ordered to stay home
Effective Monday, 1.3 million residents of St. Louis city and St. Louis County are ordered to stay home for at least 30 days to curb new transmissions of COVID-19, with exceptions for essential businesses. A similar order will take effect Tuesday in the Kansas City area. Individual activities are largely constrained to getting food, health care and other necessary services and supplies. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, WDAF)
Boeing to forego dividends, CEO pay as it requests bailout
The aerospace conglomerate announced Friday it will suspend pay for CEO Dave Calhoun and dividend payments. The move comes as Boeing seeks at least $60 billion in federal loan guarantees amid a supply chain crisis and the global coronavirus outbreak. (Reuters)
Bayer donates malaria tablets for potential use against coronavirus
The German pharmaceutical and agricultural giant said last week it has donated 3 million tablets of malaria drug Resochin to the U.S. government for its potential use in treating COVID-19. The drug is being evaluated in China for its potential use against coronavirus and is pending approval for use in the U.S. (Reuters)
Columbia caps business capacity at 10
Columbia and Boone County health officials have issued a new order limiting occupancy at many small businesses, including staff, to no more than 10 people. The order exempts certain places like hospital cafeterias, grocery stores, pharmacies and child care and crisis centers. (Columbia Missourian)
Coronavirus hasn’t halted progress on KCI airport project yet
The $1.5 billion Kansas City airport modernization project hasn’t been interrupted yet, according to developers. (Kansas City Business Journal)
St. Louis property owners grapple with renters who can’t pay
While some landlords across the area wait to see if the government will assist tenants who can’t make rent after being laid off due to the coronavirus, others, such as Garcia Property Management, are waiving late fees and allowing payments via credit card. (St. Louis Business Journal)
State labor department adds COVID-19 resources online
The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations added a section on its website offering workers who are newly laid off due to the global pandemic some guidance on how to collect unemployment benefits. Currently, Missouri limits benefits to 20 weeks. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
MU chancellor picked to lead UCF
Alexander Cartwright, who has served as chancellor of the University of Missouri campus in Columbia since 2017, was selected Friday as the next president of the University of Central Florida. The decision still requires approval by the Florida Board of Governors. (KBIA)
Missouri S&T researchers developing breath sensor for virus screening
The sensor would be able to detect viral diseases that affect the lungs and could track their concentration in confined areas like hospitals and airplanes. It likely won’t be finished to help the current COVID-19 pandemic, but it could help in future outbreaks, developers say. (St. Louis Public Radio)
Many rural counties have zero hospital beds
With declining populations, many rural areas in Missouri lack the resources to deal with coronavirus patients in the case of an outbreak. Forty-four of Missouri’s 114 counties do not have a hospital, and more than half don’t have ICU beds. (Kansas City Star)
CoxHealth sets aside $2.7 million for paid time off
The Springfield-based health system has created a fund to offer up to two weeks of paid time off for employees who have been exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19. (Springfield Business Journal)
Hy-Vee to hold fundraiser for food banks
Hy-Vee grocery stores will ask customers at checkout whether they are willing to donate $1 to local food banks. The store has pledged to match each dollar donated, up to $500,000, to help stock food pantry shelves amid the global COVID-19 pandemic. (Kansas City Star)
As of market close Friday, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index had lost 926 points, or about 29% of its value, since Dec. 31. Today’s graphic charts the rise of confirmed COVID-19 cases and decline of the S&P 500 over that time.
Say that again
“Not only is this significant for us, but we’re still a little lucky: Margaritas are fairly simple (to package). What about places that sell Manhattans, Martinis. You can’t sell all those ingredients to people.”
That’s Adam Tilford, owner of St. Louis-based Tilford Restaurant Group. Like many restaurants in Missouri, Tilford Restaurant Group’s properties began selling cocktails in sealed containers to go last week, until the state shut down the idea, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. On Wednesday, Tilford’s Mission Taco Joint restaurants charged $20 for a quart and $40 for a half-gallon of margaritas, and sold “a couple hundred combined.” By Friday, the state Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control shut down the to-go margaritas operation, saying the business’ alcohol license did not allow the sales. By contrast, states like Illinois, Texas and California have changed similar rules to allow alcohol delivery amid increasingly restrictive measures to contain COVID-19. Tilford then pivoted to selling a margarita kit for $80 for what he says is a much smaller margin.
That, according to St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard, is how high U.S. unemployment could climb as a result of COVID-19, Reuters reports. Bullard’s forecast is higher than unemployment during the Great Depression and three times more than in the 2008 financial crisis. He also projects that second-quarter economic output could take an estimated $2.5 trillion hit. Despite such effects, Bullard heralded shutdown efforts nationwide as necessary to contain the virus. Bullard calls for such measures to be combined with a massive federal effort to match all wages and businesses lost during the shutdown.
Hello, my name is
As schools close around the country, this Kansas City-area startup is pivoting its bus technology platform to expand internet access to students, Startland News reports. Transportant, which uses parents and school administrators to monitor school buses, started working on turning the buses into mobile hotspots after inquiries from its school district clients. “When you have a fleet the size most school districts do, they can cover a lot of area very quickly … and they’ve got a lot of hotspots ready to go since all our buses have integrated Wi-Fi,” Transportant co-founder John Styers said. Other districts have reached out hoping to use Transportant’s platform to deliver meals to students who need them, Styers added.
It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.