Missouri Minute: Biden issues sweeping vaccine order; Clayco CEO pitches $800 million convention center

Hello, MBA readers,

President Joe Biden has run out of patience. In the most sweeping pandemic order he has given so far, the president announced Thursday that all companies employing more than 100 workers will be required to mandate COVID-19 vaccines or test for the virus weekly. The order affects nearly 100 million Americans and will be enforced through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, with $14,000 fines per violation. In his announcement, Biden pointed a finger at the country’s unvaccinated population. “We’ve been patient,” he said. “But our patience is wearing thin.” Meanwhile, in St. Louis, Clayco CEO Bob Clark has pitched an ambitious alternative to the city’s $210 million plan for renovating its downtown convention center. The construction executive’s proposal ups the cost to $800 million and would involve tearing down the existing center, as well as the downtown dome. Funding, he said, could come from federal infrastructure money headed to the city, a potential settlement with the Los Angeles Rams, and even state funds. Plus, consumer groups are voicing new concerns about the state’s biggest utility. The largest wind farm in the state, which Ameren operates near Kirksville, has not been running at night because of danger posed to bats and birds. Amid talk of the St. Louis-based utility increasing electric rates, customer advocates argue ratepayers should not be charged more for the sake of a project that isn’t fully operational.


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Clayco CEO pitches $800 million St. Louis convention center
Construction executive Bob Clark’s plan would replace the current plan for a $210 million addition to the downtown convention center. The idea relies on federal funding and would involve demolishing the existing convention center and dome. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Ameren faces pushback on rate hikes as it limits wind farm operations
Missouri’s largest wind farm has shut down every night for months to avoid harming endangered bats. Consumer advocates are challenging Ameren’s move to increase electric rates, saying the utility should recoup less money if the facility isn’t fully operating. (Missouri Independent)

St. Louis businesses mull moving away from downtown
Some businesses are considering relocating from downtown because of gun violence. This year, there have been 168 reported incidences of gunfire entering buildings downtown. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Missouri AG elects to not represent state officials
Eric Schmitt cited a conflict of interest as his reason for not defending the secretary of state in a lawsuit filed by the state treasurer over a ballot summary, but Schmitt did not disclose what the conflict was. (Missouri Independent)

Wentzville plant shutdown extended
General Motors will continue the shutdown of its Wentzville plant another week due to the semiconductor shortage. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

St. Louis IT company to build new data center
TierPoint is planning a $20 million data center in Maryland Heights. The 23,000-square-foot facility would be the largest in St. Louis outside of downtown. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Jackson County shuts down cafe for mask mandate violations
Law enforcement officers showed up Thursday to close a Blue Springs restaurant that has resisted complying with the local mask order. (WDAF)


Say that again

“I have never in my life been evicted — ever. So I was just absolutely petrified. And then I started worrying about, well, where would I go?”

That’s Jacqueline Young, 66, a resident of a mobile home park in Independence. In August, she fell behind on her rent, the Beacon reports. Following the Supreme Court’s rejection of the Biden administration’s new eviction moratorium, Young had no protection against eviction. She then received a notice from her landlord. Unlike in St. Louis County, which has approved a new local eviction moratorium, residents in the Kansas City area and other parts of the state are vulnerable to eviction as housing authorities struggle to distribute rental assistance fast enough. An estimated 94,000 Missouri households were behind on rent as of early August, and with the compounding financial impact of the pandemic, many more Missourians could find themselves in Young’s situation.


Go figure

100

Any business with more than 100 employees is now legally obligated to mandate vaccination against COVID-19 or require weekly testing of its workforce following the Biden administration’s most forceful set of COVID-19 requirements yet, the Associated Press reports. The president expressed his lack of patience for the unvaccinated in the Thursday announcement, which drew the ire of Republican leaders who argued the mandate represented a massive overreach. The new requirements affect 80 million American workers, as well as 17 million health care workers in Medicare- or Medicaid-funded facilities.


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The Veterans Community Project, a Kansas City-based nonprofit, broke ground Thursday on a new St. Louis project that will bring 50 tiny homes to veterans in need. The new community will also include an outreach center that can connect veterans with necessary resources, St. Louis Public Radio reports. The Veterans Community Project is hoping to combat the high suicide rate among the country’s veteran population, which is largely attributed to a lack of mental health services. “By lowering the barrier and by making it much easier to access our services we want to make a real difference in those numbers, and that’s a big part of the walk-in operation,” said Jason Kander, president of the organization.


It’s been a pleasure doing business with you. Have a wonderful weekend.


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