Business Report: COVID-19 vaccine, Trump taxes, retailer purchase limits

Wegman’s and ShopRite are limiting sales on certain products

We are now one step closer to a vaccine for COVID-19. On Friday, Pfizer and BioNTech applied for emergency use authorization for their coronavirus vaccine, which they say has proven to be nearly 95% effective. The Food and Drug Administration’s review process will take a few weeks. Pfizer says if it receives the OK, the vaccine would be available for some high-risk Americans in December. Pfizer is the first company to apply for emergency use of a coronavirus vaccine.

New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell has once again called for reviewing President Donald Trump’s tax returns. During a hearing Pascrell chaired Friday on Capitol Hill, he delivered some harsh words to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, saying he “aided and abetted” the president’s refusal to disclose his tax returns. The commissioner took exception to that comment and said he can’t talk about Trump’s taxes because of litigation.

The Trump administration has decided to end some emergency lending programs at the end of this year, over the objections of the Federal Reserve. The lending programs, made available through the federal CARES Act, include loans for businesses and local governments. The Fed says those programs are still needed to support the economy. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the decision closes the door on options for businesses when they need it most.

As COVID-19 cases rise, more retailers are putting limits on the number of in-demand products people can buy. Wegman’s and ShopRite are limiting sales on things like bleach, cleaning and paper products. This week ShopRite said even turkeys are subject to purchase limits, and Walmart has gone back to curtailing the number of customers allowed in its stores.