Missouri Minute: CDC rejects state vaccine incentive plan; KC restaurants see pandemic aid disparities

Hello, MBA readers,

In light of the ongoing spike of COVID-19 cases across the state, Kansas City-area health departments have issued new guidance imploring residents — particularly the unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk — to mask up. State health officials reported more than 2,300 new confirmed cases Friday and more than 1,700 Saturday, and Gov. Mike Parson is quarreling with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control after the agency denied Missouri’s vaccine incentive plan because of the price tag. While the food service industry as a whole continues to contend with the effects of the pandemic, federal data show that restaurants in Kansas City’s lower-income neighborhoods have borne the brunt. Of the nearly $100 million in federal funding that flowed the Kansas City-area eateries through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, little ended up in the hands of minority-owned businesses. Well-known establishments topped the list of grants, with some prominent restaurant groups receiving millions of dollars.


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State vaccine incentive plan rejected by CDC
Missouri officials are asking the federal agency to waive a limit of $25 per person for giveaways to incentivize vaccination against COVID-19, arguing that the state’s high case rate should allow for an exception. (Missouri Independent)

SBA data shows large discrepancy in pandemic relief to Kansas City restaurants
Well-known establishments received millions, while minority-owned businesses often received disproportionately less. (Kansas City Star)

Change could be coming to Missouri low income housing tax credits
Proposed changes to the program would speed up payouts and could lead to more construction. (Missouri Independent)

Ameren surge protector sales plan rejected
State regulators took issue with the St. Louis utility’s plan to sell surge protectors to customers, saying the risk of the endeavor would be placed on the customer rather than shareholders. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Some St. Louis city employees draw large pensions while employed
Despite efforts to limit the practice, a number of retired city employees still “double-dip,” or go back to work part-time while still receiving a sizable pension. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)


Show me

The global cybersecurity industry is now worth more than $150 billion, but there are fewer workers for every job opening in the market than there are in other industries in the U.S., according to Cyberseek. In light of a growing threat of cyber and ransomware attacks, demand for cyber experts continues to grow. In the Kansas City area, attacks on Metropolitan Community College, Truman Medical Center and the city of Independence — all in the last two years — have demonstrated a need for such services.


Say that again

“People are becoming more connected to nature and wanting to know where their food comes from.”

That’s John Pashia, a resident of Affton and member of the Eastern Missouri Beekeepers Association, an organization that now boasts hundreds of members. Pashia got into beekeeping 15 years ago, and many more Missourians have done the same in the years since. Many find therapeutic qualities in beekeeping, but the craft can also be lucrative, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Local honey is popular at farmers markets for its health benefits, and many keepers bottle honey and sell it online as well.


Go figure

100%

That’s how much Emerson has pledged to increase diversity among company leadership over the next decade. The Ferguson-based technology and engineering conglomerate plans to double representation of women globally and minorities in the U.S. by 2030, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. The company cited the importance of innovation in the engineering field and believes that diverse perspectives fuel innovation. In 2020, 25% of the company’s U.S. management roles were held by women, and 18.8% of domestic leadership roles were held by minorities.


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Health departments in the Kansas City region are advising residents who have not been vaccinated or have underlying medical conditions to wear face masks, KCUR reports. The guidance is driven by growing COVID-19 case numbers across the state, largely caused by the delta variant. The state confirmed 1,771 new cases of the virus Saturday, according to the Associated Press, and hospitalizations ticked up.


Word to the wise

Food miles

This term refers to the carbon cost of transporting food. Food miles are generally a small part of the overall carbon footprint of food, most of which tends to come from the production of food, rather than its transport. Experts are debating how food miles factor into creating a more sustainable food industry. Part of that is dependent on whether the food is transported by plane, boat or truck.


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


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