Missouri Minute: Major mall owner has survival doubts; The Muny cancels summer lineup

Good morning, MBA readers,

Medicaid expansion is still on track to go before Missouri voters this summer. After two conservative groups sued to have a measure proposing expansion of Medicaid in Missouri taken off the August ballot, a state appeals court ruled Monday that the measure could remain on the ballot, upholding an earlier court decision. While that vote remains on the summer schedule, performances at The Muny in St. Louis will not. The outdoor theater announced it is canceling its summer lineup due to coronavirus concerns, marking the first time in over a century that the venue will not put on summer shows. And all the stress and confusion over COVID-19 is taking a toll on mental health, according to a new report. There has been a surge in demand for mental health professionals, and some feel the issue will get worse before it gets better.

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Medicaid expansion measure withstands appeal, stays on ballot
A Missouri appeals court ruled against two groups looking to have a Medicaid expansion measure removed from the state’s August ballot. (MBA)

Largest St. Louis mall owner has doubts about survival
CBL & Associates Properties, a Tennessee-based real estate investment trust that owns five Missouri malls, said in a filing that it may not survive losses sustained due to the pandemic. After its malls were closed for weeks, the company may face bankruptcy. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

St. Louis home health care companies to hire 1,000
In a joint effort by four home health providers, displaced hospitality employees will be hired for jobs as personal caregivers in the homes of senior citizens. (St. Louis Business Journal)

New study reveals COVID-19’s toll on mental health
Daily screenings for anxiety were 370% higher in May than before “coronavirus stress” began in January, according to Mental Health America. Mental health professionals worry this will be amplified by the current social climate created by protests over racial injustice. (Kansas City Star)

Missouri suppliers join federal food box program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is purchasing up to $3 billion in fresh produce, meat and dairy products from suppliers to give to various charitable organizations. Six Missouri companies are among the 200 suppliers participating. (MBA)

Missouri receives federal grant for coronavirus jobs
The state received $1.3 million to support 30 temporary jobs combating the coronavirus, as well as job training for 70 additional people. Positions are expected to include contact tracers, certified nurses aides and delivery assistants. (Missourinet)

Temporary St. Louis County morgue vastly underused during pandemic
The $1.7 million project was constructed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and has only used 4.3% of its total capacity. (St. Louis Business Journal)

La-Z-Boy to shift some production to Neosho
The furniture company is cutting 10% of its workforce and closing a Mississippi plant. It will redistribute production to the three other facilities, including one in southwest Missouri. (Springfield Business Journal)

No new cases of COVID-19 at Springfield Great Clips
There have been no new cases reported after clients and coworkers were exposed to two hair stylists who tested positive for COVID-19. (Springfield News-Leader)

St. Louis City Museum to reopen next week with restrictions
The downtown attraction will now limit occupancy to 400 guests during each of the two three-hour sessions it will be open daily. Employees and guests older than 9 will be required to wear face masks, and social distancing guidelines will be applied. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Say that again

“If they outsource, I lose my insurance, and my retirement won’t be enough to pay my bills. I lose everything.”

That’s Tammy Walker, who has been a custodian at the University of Missouri for 27 years, commenting on the university’s decision to try to outsource landscaping and custodial work, the Columbia Missourian reports. As a result of coronavirus-related declines in revenue and decreases in state funding, MU will accept proposals to outsource the work as a cost-cutting measure. This could leave the 250 custodians and 30 landscapers currently employed by MU without work, and many gathered to protest the measures, with about 150 demonstrating on Saturday. The move by MU comes after furloughs, salary reductions and layoffs took place at the end of May, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Go figure


That’s the number of applications for medical marijuana that were approved in Missouri from June 28 to Dec. 5 last year, according to a new report by the Missouri Department for Health and Senior Services. It’s the department’s first annual report on the state’s medical marijuana program. According to the report, people aged 30-39 made up the largest portion of approved applicants, at nearly 22% of the total. The health conditions most commonly cited were psychiatric conditions, making up nearly 33% of approved applications. The number of Missourians applying to use medical marijuana has been climbing, and in March over 35,000 people had applied, the Mexico Ledger reports.

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That’s historic St. Louis theater The Muny announcing that its summer lineup will not take place this year due to concerns over the coronavirus. The theater runs programs year-round, but the summer months are when it does most of its business, expanding from its smaller, permanent staff to a seasonal team of over 600 people, according to its website. Rather than hold performances at its outdoor theater in Forest Park, The Muny said it will “produce special online performances.” The theater’s decision not to open under new guidelines like other St. Louis attractions, such as the City Museum, highlights the fact that some businesses still are not comfortable opening while health concerns are prominent.

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Super Dispatch

This Kansas City-based startup has developed a contactless method for signing off on the receipt of vehicle deliveries, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. Super Dispatch makes a platform for tracking, billing and communication in the auto transport industry. Now, on the company’s app, drivers can choose a “touchless delivery” setting, which will then send a text to the recipient who can sign for it that way. Though Super Dispatch hit a rough patch when the coronavirus pandemic started, with business volume falling 50%, the company is beginning to expand again. It currently employs 62 people, and is looking to hire 10 more this year.

It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.


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