Missouri Minute: KC mask order begins; Columbia gets grant to continue free bus rides

Good morning, MBA readers,

Monday marks the start of a new order in Kansas City requiring people to wear masks in public spaces. Mayor Quinton Lucas said the health order, which comes after several days of record new COVID-19 cases in the area, will help businesses. “How can you keep businesses open, and how can you reopen businesses?” Lucas said Friday. “The simplest, sharpest, fastest way is by making sure that people wear masks.” The move comes two weeks after statewide coronavirus restrictions were lifted, and it highlights differences between municipal and statewide requirements in response to the virus. Gov. Mike Parson has publicly said he believes wearing a mask is a “personal choice,” but that he will respect local ordinances.


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Speaking Startup: Supporting Black businesses by starting with kids
Amid growing calls to support Black-owned businesses, Christal Rogers is taking a grassroots approach to that effort. Rogers, a St. Louis entrepreneur, founded an organization called Brownpreneurs, which seeks to teach principles of entrepreneurship to African American youth. She discusses that on the latest episode of Speaking Startup. Plus, with local news organizations devoting much of their limited time and resources to chronicling the coronavirus pandemic, a group in Kansas City has formed to help news organizations keep an eye on local government.


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Kansas City area sees largest single-day spike in COVID-19 cases
The metro area recorded 246 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, the largest single-day increase to date. The total count of COVID-19 infections in Kansas City is 7,785, with 237 deaths. (Kansas City Star)

Three new senior health care facilities to open in St. Louis this week
Miami-based ChenMed is planning to open three primary care facilities in the St. Louis region and said it is spending $20 million on the expansion. ChenMed plans to hire 18 employees at each of the centers to start. (St. Louis Business Journal)

KCPD incurred $2.1 million in overtime costs during protests
The Kansas City Police Department deployed hundreds of officers to protests against police brutality in recent weeks, paying overtime for at least the first seven days of demonstrations.(Kansas City Star)

RubinBrown investment advisory expands with KC acquisition 
The St. Louis accounting firm’s investment advisory, RubinBrown Advisors, acquired Wealth Management Advisors, a Kansas City-area firm, for an undisclosed amount. The deal adds six employees and $470 million in assets under management. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Boeing 737 Max certification flight tests could begin Monday
Pilots and test crew members from the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing could begin certification tests for the grounded 737 Max. The FAA confirmed that a safety system assessment has been completed for the aircraft, which was grounded in March 2019 after two deadly crashes. (Reuters)

BJC HealthCare group president to retire 
Sandra Van Trease, a group president at BJC HealthCare, will step down from her position at the end of July. She has led the BJC Collaborative, an association of health systems across Missouri and Illinois, and overseen growth strategies for BJC’s community hospitals. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Federal grant allows buses in Columbia to continue free rides
Columbia’s transit system received a $6.5 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration. The funds come from the federal coronavirus relief bill and will allow buses and para-transit services, which suspended fares in March, to continue running for free. (Columbia Missourian)


Say that again

“Effectively, Kansas City has pushed off a day of reckoning in a way that makes future taxpayers pay for the cost of past government services.”

That’s what Bill Bergman, research director at Truth in Accounting, a nonpartisan think tank, has to say about Kansas City’s debt picture. Research shows the city’s debt, which was an issue before the coronavirus pandemic hit, amounts to a burden of about $10,000 per taxpayer, KCUR reports. While officials grapple with options for handling the debt, COVID-19 has led to new problems. Kansas City relies on a 1% earnings tax on all nonresidents who live in the city, but those workers may qualify for tax refunds if they have been working from home, The Kansas City Star reports, further stressing the city’s finances. The city ranked 17th nationally in a Brookings Institution report on cities that will feel the most immediate fiscal impacts from COVID-19.


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The tweet, from Kansas City Star reporter Jason Hancock, highlights differences between some state and municipal officials regarding mask requirements to combat the spread of the coronavirus. While Kansas City residents are required to wear masks or face coverings in public spaces starting Monday after an order from Mayor Quinton Lucas, the state has no such policy. Missouri Health Director Randall Williams said he doesn’t think a mask is necessary if people are socially distanced. Meanwhile, Gov. Mike Parson has publicly said he believes wearing a mask is a “personal choice,” but that he will respect local ordinances.


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TrackMy Solutions

The Kansas City-based company tracks medical devices and informs patients if a device has been recalled or is expiring. Hospitals are not required to notify patients if a device has been recalled, leaving many customers misinformed, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. The company is preparing for applications to medications as well. There are 1,000 patients using the company’s first application, TrackMy Implants.


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


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