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Business News Roundup, February 5, 2021

Congress continues to move toward action on a $1.9 trillion stimulus, while a Connecticut senator seeks to bolster “Buy American” policies. A third COVID-19 vaccine may be entering the mix soon, as Connecticut completes the vaccination of half its elderly population against the virus. And Denmark is planning a unique type of wind energy hub as part of its Blue Economy: an artificial island.

Other key business items this morning include retailer expectations for the coming year, the possibility of a four-day work week, the postponement of a new permitting structure for Connecticut liquor permits, and a policy agenda for Connecticut’s economy.


The Senate has narrowly approved a budget reconciliation process that would allow speedier passage of President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package, following a late-night session and a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Kamala Harris. Congress must still craft the legislation hammering out the details of the stimulus, a process likely to span the next few weeks.

Johnson & Johnson is requesting emergency approval for its COVID-19 vaccine, which is 66 percent effective at preventing moderate or severe cases of the virus and can be administered with a single dose. U.S. regulators have currently authorized the distribution of vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer, both of which require two doses.

Senator Chris Murphy is reintroducing “Buy American” legislation that he originally proposed under President Donald Trump. His bill, which aims to enhance federal purchases from American manufacturers, comes after Biden issued an executive order that tightens rules on how domestic preference is determined in federal purchases.

Retailers are anticipating stronger sales this year as COVID-19 vaccines are distributed, but also expect near-term challenges to continue. However, some retailers are also optimistic that they will see a considerable sales boost this year.

Business trends

COVID-19 has led companies to be more embracing of working from home, and could fuel other changes to the standard way we do our work. CNBC explores how the pandemic may lead more businesses to experiment with a four-day work week.

Denmark is planning to construct an artificial island in the North Sea to serve as a wind energy hub. The project, scheduled for completion in 2033, will serve to link together hundreds of turbines in offshore wind operations and provide green hydrogen as well.


Connecticut has issued COVID-19 vaccines to about half of its population of residents ages 75 and older. However, the vaccination rate continues to lag in several cities, and supply shortages are also hindering efforts to advance the state’s vaccination plan.

Governor Ned Lamont has issued his first executive order since December, enacting eight separate provisions. These include the extension of a new permitting fee structure for liquor permits, which was established in 2019 and set to go into effect on July 1.

The Connecticut Business & Industry Association has issued an 11-point policy agenda entitled “Rebuilding Connecticut” and is seeking support for the initiative from Connecticut lawmakers. The document covers five public policy areas, including workforce development and small business relief.

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