Missouri Minute: UM System mandates COVID vaccines for employees; CVS to close hundreds of stores

Hello, MBA readers,

Under pressure from the Biden administration’s federal vaccine mandate, the University of Missouri System Board of Curators voted Thursday to require COVID-19 vaccination for all employees of the statewide system. The decision was a reversal of a previous vote and will affect up to 1,250 employees, who will have until Jan. 4 to complete vaccination. In other health care news, CVS Health announced Thursday it’s closing hundreds of stores across the U.S. over the next three years. The pharmacy chain, which has more than 200 stores in Missouri, cited population change and shifts in consumer behavior for the decision. As CVS eyes major operational changes, another company with a big Missouri presence has signaled it plans to stay the course. Bayer, the German drug and chemical maker, announced it does not plan to break up into three separate companies — focused on pharmaceuticals, crop science and consumer health, respectively — despite pressure from investors and a recent trend of other large conglomerates splitting up. Said Bayer CEO Werner Baumann: “What’s right for one company is not necessarily the right thing for the other company.”


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COVID vaccines required for UM System employeesThe University of Missouri Board of Curators voted to implement the mandate to comply with federal guidelines that put the statewide system at risk of losing $76 million in funding. (Columbia Missourian)Earthquake concerns resurfaceA 4.0 magnitude earthquake in southeast Missouri on Wednesday night didn’t cause any significant damage, but it has officials reconsidering some safety measures in the state. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)Bayer CEO says conglomerate won’t splitThe German pharmaceutical and chemical company with a large St. Louis presence said it has no plans of breaking its three businesses into independently traded companies, even as other large companies move that way and analysts call for a split. (Reuters).Beef facility to receive millions in state subsidiesA planned $450 million beef processing facility in Warren County could receive more than $36 million in state and local subsidies. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)Black & Veatch shaking up management, operational structureThe move comes as the Kansas City-area engineering firm looks to more broadly help clients with infrastructure issues while also prioritizing sustainability initiatives. (Kansas City Business Journal)Next-generation Panera opensThe first location of the new model of the restaurant is on display in west St. Louis County, where customers will experience a technology-driven experience. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)Mariner Wealth Advisors acquires California firmThe Kansas City-area financial advisory completed its ninth deal of the year, adding $770 million in assets by acquiring Savant Investment Group. (Kansas City Business Journal)St. Louis affordable housing development beginsThe nonprofit Equity Homes is partnering with McBride Homes to begin construction on an affordable housing community with 23 single-family homes in north St. Louis County. (St. Louis Business Journal)Van Gogh exhibit still looking for venue in Kansas CityDifficulties finding a location have caused the immersive Van Gogh exhibit’s visit to Kansas City to be delayed from December to February. (WDAF)St. Louis theater names new directorThe Repertory Theatre of St. Louis announced Danny Williams will serve as its new managing director after 34 years under the leadership of Mark Bernstein. (St. Louis Business Journal)


Say that again

“This deal is nothing more than a slap on the wrist for Smithfield and a deeply troubling betrayal of the men and women who have already sacrificed so much in this pandemic.”That’s B.J. Motley of the United Food and Commercial Workers union. Smithfield Foods reached a $13,494 settlement with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration over citations for exposing meatpackers to COVID-19 at a plant in South Dakota, according to the Missouri Independent. However, the settlement did not involve any admission of guilt from the food company, meaning it cannot be used against Smithfield in future litigation. COVID-19 outbreaks at meat processing plants have led to numerous lawsuits, including one against Smithfield in Missouri, but that was dismissed by a federal judge.


Go figure

$4.5 billionThat’s how much additional aid the Biden administration will distribute this winter to help with heat and utility bills. According to the Associated Press, the funding comes mostly from the administration’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill. When combined with the usual $3 billion or $4 billion devoted to the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, the funds represent a major increase in aid this year. The news reaches Missourians as they brace for a winter in which natural gas bills are expected to be 30% higher than last year, according to the Energy Information Administration.


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CVS Health announced Thursday that, over the course of the next three years, it will close 900 stores, drastically reducing its physical footprint nationally. Though the company did not disclose which stores would be closing, the action will begin in the spring, the Associated Press reports. The decision was made based on population changes and the desire to control store density and relevance to customers. The company currently operates nearly 10,000 stores, with more than 200 in Missouri, according to the CVS website.


Hello, my name is

Fostering Life-Changing OpportunitiesThis nonprofit will work with Columbia Public Schools to provide housing and other resources to youth in need. According to the Columbia Missourian, the partnership will not only work to meet students’ basic needs, but also provide students with work-study and internship opportunities in an effort to ensure long-term success and financial stability. The school district plans to buy a building for the organization to use to support local students and families.


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


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