Hello, MBA readers,
A much-anticipated coronavirus vaccine could be available to certain groups of people in Missouri by mid-month, but this hinges first on federal emergency authorization and then on decisions about who will receive the earliest rounds of the vaccine. Health care workers will be first in line, but decisions loom over when and how other vulnerable populations will get access. In a different effort to allay the effects of the pandemic, the Missouri Senate has approved a $1.3 billion supplemental budget that will let the state spend down remaining federal CARES Act funds. Gov. Mike Parson is expected to sign the bill. However, Parson dropped his pursuit of a COVID-19 liability bill he had previously sought to pass during the legislative special session, so the issue of lawsuits against businesses for COVID-19 infections will go unaddressed for now. In Kansas City, where bars and restaurants are subject to a curfew to reduce the spread of the virus, one sports bar has joined the ranks of Missouri businesses pushing back against local restrictions, and is suing the city.
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Missouri Senate approves $1.3 billion supplemental budget, doesn’t address COVID-19 liability
Lawmakers sent the spending plan, which enables the state to use remaining CARES Act funds, to Gov. Mike Parson. They did not discuss COVID-19 lawsuits against businesses, a topic the governor recently requested be addressed in January. (Missouri Independent, St. Louis Public Radio)
Kansas City bar sues city, county over pandemic curfew
The Blue Line hockey bar said the 10 p.m. curfew for bars and restaurants is unlawful because it was issued through an emergency order. (Kansas City Star)
Survey shows concern for future of Midwest economy
A monthly survey of business leaders in nine states indicated that confidence levels looking ahead six months plummeted to 50 points in November, from 70.4 points in October. A score below 50 suggests recession. (Associated Press)
Longtime Muny president and CEO to retire at end of 2021
Dennis Reagan has been president of the outdoor theater in St. Louis for nearly three decades. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Grand jury indicts 19 in $1.2 million insurance fraud conspiracy
The defendants from the Columbia and Kansas City areas allegedly made false claims to insurance companies about injuries from car accidents. (Columbia Missourian)
AAA Missouri to close Hazelwood facility, lay off 95
The provider of roadside assistance and other automotive services will shift more of its business to contract workers. (St. Louis Business Journal)
St. Louis hotelier opens $20 million property in KC area
The SpringHill Suites-Overland Park will be the third hotel in Kansas for St. Louis-based Midas Hospitality. (St. Louis Business Journal)
Illinois credit union purchases four Simmons Bank branches
Citizens Equity First Credit Union made the purchases on the Illinois side of the St. Louis area, marking its entry into the market. (St. Louis Business Journal)
Plaza Street Partners acquires Florida restaurant for $2.6 million
The Kansas City-area company also recently bought three Florida gas stations for more than $1 million apiece. (Kansas City Business Journal)
Say that again
“A vaccine is only a vaccine. It’s the vaccination that really matters. And until we move from the vaccine to the actual vaccination, we’ve done no good.”
That’s Phil Griffin, who works for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, commenting on the logistical challenges expected as the first rounds of a coronavirus vaccine are distributed. Two drug makers are expecting regulators to decide on emergency use authorization for their vaccines by mid-December, and Missouri could receive its first shipments of a Pfizer vaccine between Dec. 13 and Dec. 15, The Kansas City Star reports. However, this has brought issues of transportation and distribution to the forefront. Missouri is anticipating 51,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, with each person needing two doses. As of right now, health care workers will be prioritized, but there is still debate surrounding when other vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women, children and essential workers, will be vaccinated.
At least 11 public schools in St. Louis are expected to close permanently after historic drops in enrollment, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams proposed the closures Tuesday, recommending the district shutter four high schools, one middle school and six elementary schools. Enrollment numbers for the district have been on the decline since the 1960s, but last year numbers fell below 20,000 for the first time since the late 19th century. The pandemic has accelerated this trend, and enrollment dropped 9% this year, more than any other district in Missouri. The St. Louis Public School Board will vote on the proposal Dec. 15.
Hello my name is
Ernst & Young has hired Rock as its first female managing partner in Kansas City, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. Rock joined the global accounting and professional services firm in 2004, and became a partner in Nashville in 2011. Rock will succeed Dave Anderson, who held the role for about five years. In Kansas City, where Rock has now been for three months, she said she sees potential in technology companies and high-growth startups.
It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.