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Small Business News Roundup, January 18, 2021

A planned set of executive orders, multiple restaurant trends, an automation revolution, a Yelp change, challenges with the Columbia submarine program, and a Connecticut budget surplus are among the key business items this morning.


President-elect Joe Biden is planning a round of executive orders in his first 10 days in office to address four crises he says the nation is facing, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn that has accompanied it. Biden has also named climate change and racial equality as priority issues.

Business trends

Tensions have grown between restaurant owners and health officials amid a new round of business restrictions in several states, with some eateries opting to flout bans on indoor dining due to concerns that they won’t make it through the winter if they don’t. Restaurants have also contributed to a greater demand for propane due to outdoor dining setups, and have been spending less on food and more on supplies such as takeout containers. Yelp has updated its platform to allow customers to leave feedback on restaurants’ COVID-19 safety measures.

Some analysts are suggesting that the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating a shift toward automation, with the World Economic Forum suggesting that half of U.S. jobs are at significant or high risk of being automated. This shift would also prompt a long-term adjustment in workforce training strategies and in-demand skills.


Southeastern Connecticut stands to see major economic gains from the new Columbia class ballistic submarines that will be built at Electric Boat, but a recent government report highlighted challenges the programs is facing in its supply chain. The report notes that the number of suppliers has fallen by more than two-thirds since Cold War.

Connecticut received some good news on its budget, as the forecast for an anticipated $2 billion deficit for the end of the fiscal year on June 30 was revised to show an anticipated surplus of $70 million. Governor Ned Lamont said that some portions of the state economy have grown strongly despite the pandemic, with federal support and state investments contributing to Connecticut’s economic stability.


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