Hello, MBA readers,
Kansas City is planning several months ahead with its latest COVID-19 ordinance, announced Thursday. Mayor Quinton Lucas has extended the city’s mask order to mid-January. At least until then, people will be required to wear masks in public and indoor spaces where social distancing is not possible. Across the state, weekly unemployment claims have hit their lowest level since the onset of the pandemic, with about 9,000 people filing claims last week. Numbers dipped nationally, as well, falling below 1 million for the first time since the start of pandemic-induced job losses. Still, state and national figures remain well above historical averages. And, with AMC Theaters set to reopen some locations next week, the struggling cinema chain has unveiled a promotion offering movie tickets at prices not seen since a century ago.
Weekly unemployment claims reach pandemic low, remain historically high
For the week ending Aug. 8, Missouri’s initial unemployment claims dropped to less than 9,000, a 17% decline from the week before. Nationally, weekly claims dipped below 1 million for the first time since March. (MBA)
Kansas City mask order extended to at least mid-January
The mayor extended the order, set to expire on Aug. 15, as confirmed COVID-19 cases increased by 494 in the Kansas City metro area Thursday. Masks are required in all public indoor spaces where people can’t be six feet apart, and businesses like salons and restaurants are encouraged to keep logs of people they serve to assist contact tracing. (Kansas City Star)
Airport contractor may lay off nearly 600 in St. Louis, KC
HMSHost said it may permanently lay off 353 workers at St. Louis Lambert International Airport and 229 more at airport Kansas City International Airport. The Maryland-based company said furloughs that started in March could become permanent in October. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Texas logistics firm to move headquarters to KC area next year
Sims Global Solutions already has an office in Lenexa, Kansas, and the city council there has approved a new 100,000-square-foot headquarters and incentives to help facilitate the move. (Kansas City Business Journal)
Garmin working to see if smartwatches can detect COVID-19
The Olathe, Kansas-based GPS technology company will work with Duke and Stanford universities to determine whether Garmin smartwatches can detect symptoms that humans might not otherwise detect. (Kansas City Business Journal)
Say that again
“Some people are really surprised by that because you did see in some cases the price of beef at the grocery store go up. But that did not result in higher prices received at the farm level.”
That comes from Spencer Tuma, director of national legislative programs for the Missouri Farm Bureau. With processing plants backlogged due to reduced capacity in recent months, meat prices have gone up in grocery stores, but that hasn’t meant more money for Missouri farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers in the state have applied for COVID-19 relief funding as net income for farmers nationally is expected to drop $20 billion in 2020. The Missouri Farm Bureau and local offices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture are working to make financial aid information available to farmers.
AMC Theatres is offering a promotion for movie tickets at just 15 cents, a price from the 1920s. That’s part of the Leawood, Kansas-based cinema chain’s reopening plan unveiled Thursday. More than 100 of the company’s locations will open next Thursday, with two-thirds of the theaters opening by Sept. 3, the Kansas City Star reports. AMC locations have been closed for five months due to concerns about coronavirus transmission, dealing the world’s largest theater operator a major financial blow. Under the new reopening plan, masks will be required for all customers and staff unless eating or drinking, and auditoriums will be capped at 30% of capacity.
— St. Louis CITY SC (@MLS4theLou) August 13, 2020
The announcement may seem simple, but the news of a name for St. Louis’ new Major League Soccer team has been long awaited, and it actually arrived a bit too soon. A tweet revealing the team’s name and logo was accidentally posted an hour before the scheduled reveal on Thursday, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. The name is meant to label St. Louis as an international city for tourists and businesses, but it also sparked conversation about the divide between city and county in the St. Louis area. Carolyn Kindle Betz, part of the team’s ownership group, said team owners want to expand what the word “city” means in the region and be more inclusive.
Hello, my name is
Plexpod, a company that operates coworking spaces across the Kansas City area, has introduced a new line of enclosed workspace structures that it’s calling Focalpods. The units are designed to be installed anywhere and are equipped with ventilation systems that filter in new air every two minutes, Startland News reports. Focalpods come in three formats: “Phone,” designed as a phone booth; “Meetup,” which can seat six people; and “Office,” which includes a desk, file cabinet and shelving. The pods bring a new option to coworking spaces, which have taken a hit during the pandemic due to people’s concerns about being around others.