The sheer panic that has swept the world has taken an even more panicked turn as leaders continue to look for ways to stop the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, from spreading. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have called COVID-19 a pandemic. As a result, Coronavirus closures have begun to be announced.
A number of steps are being taken to try to contain the spread of the virus as best as possible with many more measures, some drastic, being discussed. The one big measure that seems to be gaining quickly is shutting down businesses and ordering people to stay home.
College Campus Shutdowns
Most University and College and campuses around the United States closed in early Spring to help limit the spread of the Coronavirus. Now, some have announced that they won’t reopen in 2020 at all.
In particular, the California State University system has announced they’re cancelling all in-person classes for the Fall 2020 semester. That means they won’t reopen at any point in 2020. Whether they’ll open up in 2021 remains to be seen. California State University operates 23 different campuses where nearly 500,000 students go to learn.
Included among the 23 campuses which won’t be reopening are places like Cal State, San Francisco State University, and Sonoma Bay University. All those universities will conduct a mixture of online classes, but won’t conduct any in-person classes. They’ll also be happy to keep accepting tuition.
The announcement from CSU comes closely on the heels of newly issued Federal guidance which says university campuses may be able to open in the fall.
Amazon And Instacart Workers On Strike
With Americans locked in their homes we’re all extremely dependent on delivery services to provide for our daily needs. In particular we’re all relying on Amazon, the biggest online shopping destination in the world. For a lot of people right now, Amazon is literally the only way for them to get their essentials. It is in that environment that Amazon’s workforce has decided to go on strike.
Amazon workers at their warehouse in Staten Island, N.Y. and workers for Instacart grocery delivery service nationwide walked off the job on the morning of Monday, March 30, 2020. According to NPR they’re demanding the following…
- More paid-sick time off. Currently workers who test positive for the Coronavirus or who are quarantined on suspicion of it get paid sick time, but they want more of it for other reasons.
- They want their warehouses closed longer for more cleaning, during which time they want to be paid while the warehouse is closed.
- Instacart workers want more sanitizing wipes available and also hazard pay.
At the same time Amazon and Instacart’s workers are walking off the job, the companies are both trying to hire more workers to meet the increased demands and keep America fed and alive. That just got a lot harder for everyone, thanks to the strike.
Coronavirus Shutdowns Changing Shopping Habits
As the citizens of the world are forced to stay home, they’re also being forced to work via telecommuting. And telecommuting means that almost all of your interactions with your workmates are either through email or video chat. And you don’t need pants to video chat.
Or at least that seems to be the conclusion reached by most shoppers. The latest online clothes buying habits seem to indicate that when working from home, many employees are Porky Pigging it.
Dan Bartlett, executive vice president of Walmart’s Corporate Affairs tells Yahoo Finance that they’ve seen a big spike in consumers buying shirts online, while at the same time no one is actually buying bottoms.
So the next time you’re talking to Bob about the big project you’re working on, ask him to stand up and see what happens. Or maybe, depending on how you think Bob might look in his tighty-whiteys, you might be better off not asking at all.
YouTube Limiting Access To Videos
YouTube has announced that for the next month, viewers globally will no longer be able to watch their videos in HD by default. Going forward all videos will default to viewing in low quality Standard Definition. You’ll still be able to manually force videos to display in HD, but most users probably won’t even realize they can do that.
The move comes in response to the increased traffic they’re receiving due to the Coronavirus outbreak. More people are at home and not at work, which means more people have more time to watch YouTube videos. So just when people actually need YouTube most to keep themselves sane while they’re trapped inside four walls… YouTube is limiting the quality they’re willing to deliver their videos in.
The plan is an effort to reduce the strain on global internet services. Netflix has also been urged to stop delivering their videos in HD. They’ve complied in places like Europe, but have not yet agreed to do so in the United States the way YouTube has. Still, it’s probably only a matter of time before your Netflix videos look terrible too.
Italy Shutting Down Gas Stations
Though there have been a number of different lockdowns in various countries and states in the United States, in most cases these shutdowns have made keeping vital services open a priority. That’s about to change as Italy will shut down all its gas stations starting on March 25th.
The claim according to Reuters is that this is being done because they can no longer guarantee health and safety standards at the stations. But it’s hard not to notice that shutting down gas stations would have the added benefit of forcing people to stay home because they don’t have any gas in their car to go anywhere.
It’s a tactic which we could see adopted more and more places, if its a successful means to get people to stay in their homes without having to declare something drastic martial law.
Trump Pushing To End The Shutdowns
On March 23, 2020 President Trump began pushing to end the shutdowns in the United States in an effort to get the economy moving again. Trump says…
With promising cures in pill form being tested in hospitals, it’s possible that America could be ready to emerge from its quarantine slumber. Experts are, however, skeptical.
The Olympics Are Postponed
The oddly named Dick Pound, who is a Veteran member of the International Olympic Committee, has announced the 2020 Olympic Games are cancelled.
In a statement issued over the phone to USA Today he says, “On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided… The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”
So we know for sure the original start date for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo has been cancelled. They sound like they have some intention to hold them at a later date, but they have no date chosen. So for now we don’t know when or if the games might be held later. But we do know they aren’t happening when they were supposed to.
It’s worth noting that when other IOC spokespeople were contacted for confirmation, they did not give it and instead gave vague answers like, “Well, as we announced yesterday, we are looking at scenarios.”
Sensing that their time being allowed to leave their house is drawing to a close, citizens around the world have been rushing stores in an attempt to stock up on vital commodities. The number one target for most apocalypse prepping shoppers? Toilet paper.
There isn’t actually a toilet paper, there’s plenty of the stuff being produced, but people are buying it up so fast the stores simply can’t keep it in stock. The second it hits the shelves its gone.
That might mean you’ll find yourself running low on toilet paper soon, with no easy way to get more. Luckily, the internet has a solution.
The new website How Much Toilet Paper? has created a calculator to help you manage your toilet paper supply. Input the number of rolls you have left and track your usage and they’ll help you keep track of how many days worth of toilet paper you have left. That’ll let you conserve when you need to or relax and go crazy using as much as you want when there’s nothing to worry about.
CORONAVIRUS SCHOOL CLOSURES
What started as a few Coronavirus closures has grown rapidly. Federal health officials have been urging school districts near and far to prepare for the spread of the virus and many have taken them to heart as they have closed down schools and, in some cases, entire districts.
As of March 18, 2020 the public school systems are now closed in 32 out of 50 states. They would go on to be cancelled in all 50 states. No restart date has been given for schools anywhere in the United States.
The National Schools Board Association (NSBA) has put together a legal guide to help assist schools and decision-makers on how to hopefully combat the spread of the virus. There is also a live map of the United States tracking all the school closures as they occur or are scheduled to occur.
AMAZON SUSPENDS ALL NON-ESSENTIAL SHIPMENTS TO ITS WAREHOUSES
Amazon.com informed sellers on Tuesday March 17, 2020 that they are suspending all shipments to their distribution warehouses, except those that qualify as essential products. Those essential products still being shipped include things like medical supplies and household staples. The stoppage will continue until at least April 5th in an effort to better cope with increased demand as people are locked away in their homes and become more dependent on their services.
In the email sent out to their retailers Amazon says, “We are seeing increased online shopping, and as a result some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock… With this in mind, we are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock, and deliver these products to customers.”
Steven Yates, CEO of Prime Guidance an organization which works with Prime Sellers says, “Amazon is taking drastic measures to address logistical challenges faced amid the coronavirus pandemic… Amazon has struggled to keep up with demand on essential items, so this move will allow them to focus more available resources to meet this increased demand.”
According to information released by Amazon, while overall demand for their services has massively increasing as the Coronavirus outbreak unfolds, demand for non-essential items has been on the decline anyway. Their numbers indicate that demand for non-essential goods has dropped anywhere from 40 – 60% as buyers focus their cash on stocking up with essentials like toilet paper and face masks.
Sellers who normally ship their products using Amazon’s warehouses will still be able to ship them on their own. They’ll just have to do it without Amazon.
Here’s the full email as relayed by Business Insider…
“Hello from Fulfillment by Amazon,
We are closely monitoring the developments of COVID-19 and its impact on our customers, selling partners, and employees.
We are seeing increased online shopping, and as a result some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock. With this in mind, we are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock, and deliver these products to customers.
For products other than these, we have temporarily disabled shipment creation. We are taking a similar approach with retail vendors.
This will be in effect today through April 5, 2020, and we will let you know once we resume regular operations. Shipments created before today will be received at fulfillment centers.
You can learn more about this on this Help page. Please note that Selling Partner Support does not have further guidance.
We understand this is a change to your business, and we did not take this decision lightly. We are working around the clock to increase capacity and yesterday announced that we are opening 100,000 new full- and part-time positions in our fulfillment centers across the US.
We appreciate your understanding as we prioritize the above products for our customers.
Thank you for your patience, and for participating in FBA.”
Amazon is currently working on upping its ability to handle increased demand. They’ve put out a call to hire as many as 100,000 more workers.
CORONAVIRUS CLOSING BUSINESSES
The CDC now recommended that gatherings of more than 50 people be prohibited nationwide. In response, some states have begun mandating a shutdown of all restaurants, movie theaters, and recreational facilities.
It’s the straw that broke the camel’s back for the movie industry. Find out how they’re trying to survive with our Coronavirus Shuts Down The Movie Theater Industry special report.
A growing number of states across the country have now banned the public from using restaurants, movie theaters, and entertainment venues of all kinds. In most states the ban allows restaurants to serve curbside take-out and keep drive-throughs open. The bans also allow grocery stores and pharmacies to stay open. But it’s clear they want everyone to stay in.
To help hammer the point home, former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger posted the following video. In it he urges people to stay home and sets the example by cuddling up in his dining room with his pet miniature donkeys. Watch…
CORONAVIRUS CLOSING DOWN HOLLYWOOD
Disney has been forced by the Coronavirus to cancel movie releases like Mulan and close all their theme parks worldwide. And it’s going to cost them a fortune. Current estimates have them losing as much as $350,000 a day just from the shutdown of work on productions like The Little Mermaid alone. And the Coronavirus cancellations are just getting started.
Overall analysts expect Hollywood in general to lose at least $20 billion from the Coronavirus shutdown. And that’s really just one of the many, many industries being totally paralyzed as the world settles into a near global quarantine.
Movie premieres have been cancelled because of Coronavirus concerns. The first domino to fall was the new Daniel Craig James Bond movie. No Time To Die, has been moved from an April 10, 2020, U.S. premiere back to November 25, 2020, and because of this could lose upwards of $50 million on ads that ran with the now incorrect date.
After the cancellation of No Time To Die other movies started cancelling with A Quiet Place II and Fast & Furious 9 bailing on their releases in quick succession. Now nearly everything is bailing on releasing in theaters. Below is a complete list of all the major movies which have cancelled and/or rescheduled their release dates…
- A Quiet Place Part II | Original Release Date: March 20, 2020 New Release Date: TBA
- Mulan | Original Release Date: March 27, 2020 New Release Date: TBA
- No Time To Die | Original Release Date: April 10, 2020 New Release Date: Nov. 25 2020
- Antlers | Original Release Date: April 17 New Release Date: TBA
- The New Mutants | Original Release Date: Apr. 3, 2020 New Release Date: TBA
- Fast & Furious 9 | Original Release Date: May 22, 2020 New Release Date: April 2021
The award-winning TV Show The Amazing Race had to temporarily suspend their production as they were filming in Europe. The contestants have been sent home until they can figure out how to move forward with production in light of the Coronavirus.
Even Tom Cruise has been affected. Filming of Mission: Impossible 7 has been halted as the crew was scheduled to shoot in Venice, Italy but Italy is now the third-worst country affected by the coronavirus. So the Coronavirus has closed down production for the forseeable future
CORONAVIRUS CLOSURES AT AMUSEMENT PARKS
Four only the fourth time in its entire history, Disneyland is shutting down. Disney World and all of Disney’s parks are now closed too. The announcement came after California’s governor announced that gatherings of more than 250 people should be avoided. The park is currently scheduled to remain closed indefinitely.
Except there’s one, small part of Disney World that isn’t closed and it’s the part that mostly only caters to really rich people: The golf course.
Disney World’s golf course is, according to their website, running at full swing in Orange County, Florida. For some bizarre reason, golf courses have been excluded from the mandate requiring all non-essential businesses to close. Of course it doesn’t seem so bizarre when you think about who spends the most time at golf courses. Politicians perhaps?
However, golf courses also tend to attract old people. So if a lot of old politicians suddenly start dropping dead from the Coronavirus, you’ll have a good guess at where they got it.
Here’s original the statement issued by Disney regarding the closure…
Disney’s parks in other countries are already closed due to the Coronavirus. With the closing of Disneyland, that leaves only Disney World in Orlando, Florida still open.
Now that Disneyland has closed, expect other theme parks, particularly other theme parks in California, to soon follow suit.
CORONAVIRUS ELIMINATES STUDIO AUDIENCES
The iconic game shows Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! have announced they will no longer have studio audiences, due to concerns about the Coronavirus. Live audience reactions have been a critical part of both shows for years, but now when you tune in you’ll hear silence or worse, canned reactions.
Both shows will start filming to empty seats starting on March 10. Now most productions have followed suit and none of the shows you see on television will film with live audiences.
Beyond concerns for transmission of the disease among the audience both shows need to take extra care with their hosts. Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek is currently battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer. With his immune system compromised by chemo, he’s in no shape to fight off the Coronavirus too.
Meanwhile let’s face it, Wheel of Fortune’s audience is old. Like, really old. The elderly are most susceptible to the Coronavirus. They can’t have their core fans put at risk, especially when medical recommendations are starting to pop up suggesting older people should stay in their homes.
CANCELLING SPORTING EVENTS
The NBA has suspended its season in response to the Coronavirus threat. The decision came after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
When leagues began talking about playing games in empty stadiums, NBA star LeBron James to fire back at those plans. “I ain’t playing,” James said per USA Today’s Mark Medina. “I ain’t got the fans in the crowd. That’s who I play for. I play for my teammates. I play for the fans. That’s what it’s all about. If I show up to an arena and there are no fans in there, I ain’t playing. They can do what they want to do.”
So now the NBA is done for the season.
The NCAA has decided not to invite audiences to their March Madness tournaments. They’ll still have them, but the players will be playing to empty stadiums. For now. With the NBA cancelling its season it may not be long til everyone else follows suit.
With COVID-19 starting to make its impact felt across the nation, what do we do about our sporting events? Mass crowds are one thing we have been told to avoid, so what about an arena full of warm-blooded bodies?
The Indian Wells tennis tournament, one of the world’s leading tourneys, decided on the eve of its start to cancel the event. This was done after county officials declared a public health emergency when a single case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the area.
As far as other professional sports, they are starting to see the effects too. The NHL, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer have announced they are closing their locker rooms to journalists due to COVID-19. They all agreed after “after consultation with infectious disease and public health experts.” The NBA spoke to their teams via conference call to let them know their decision to enact Coronavirus closures was made not to ban reporters but to ensure the safety of players and staff.
League officials (from all leagues) have informed their respective players to be prepared for anything.
But it isn’t only major sporting events that are feeling the virus. Many local sporting events, high school basketball games, wrestling matches, and cheer competitions have been cancelled due to the Coronavirus. Some tournaments are still on the books but some schools that are in areas affected by district closures have been uninvited to these events. It’s a tough call, not to let these young men and women compete in their championships but school officials are doing what they feel is best to stop the spread of the virus.
CORONAVIRUS CLOSURES OF CONFERENCES
Another area hit hard are the conferences across the U.S.
The annual gaming expo E3 has been cancelled amid Coronavirus concerns. The conference wasn’t scheduled to begin until June 9, 2020 but the event was officially cancelled early on March 11, 2020.
Reaction amongst gamers and potential attendees has not been good. Here’s a sampling of what they’re saying…
Austin, Texas is the another victim as it announced the Coronavirus leading to the cancellation of South by Southwest (SXSW), a movie, music, and technology festival that has been running for 34 straight years and last year attracted some 200,000 people. Also cancelled:
- Facebook Global Marketing Summit in San Francisco, California
- Facebook F8 in San Jose, California
- Google News Initiative Global Summit in Sunnyvale, California
- Google I/O in Mountain View, California
The economic effect of these Coronavirus closures has gone over $1 billion and this doesn’t even factor in the money companies like Facebook stood to gain. The numbers are staggering as SXSW is expected to lose close to $350 million according to data intelligence company PredictHQ.
San Francisco’s Game Developers Conference, scheduled for this month, has been postponed until the summer and still could lose $129 million. Google’s I/O developer conference will lose around $20 million with its cancellation.
If you have tickets to your favorite singer, your favorite act, you better check in to make sure they will still be out on the road, especially if the concert is within the next couple of months. Many high-profile singers have either cancelled or rescheduled their concerts on fear of the virus or because of certain travel restrictions.
Mariah Carey rescheduled her Hawaiian stop citing international travel restrictions.
The Metropolitan Opera in New York has not enacted Coronavirus closures but instead has issued a 14-day quarantine for any employees, performers or artists traveling from Iran, South Korea, China, Hong Kong or Italy.
Ciara, who happens to be pregnant, has been advised by her doctors to avoid large groups and travel. This means she had to cancel her Fort Hood, Texas hometown performance that was set to be the grand opening for the Fort Hood USO. Thankfully the concert and grand opening have been moved back to later this year.
Other Coronavirus closures have occurred outside of the U.S. as Khalid, BTS, Stormzy, Green Day, Avril Lavigne, Louis Tomlinson, and even Material Girl Madonna have all had to either cancel or reschedule overseas concerts.
Continue to check in on the venue or performer for updates on possible Coronavirus cancellations or reschedules.
CORONAVIRUS CANCELLING TRAVEL PLANS
Another area being greatly affected is the travel industry. More specifically, cruise ships and airplanes. The CDC has recently changed its tune from earlier, now stating that the elderly and those with compromised health should avoid long plane trips and to especially avoid cruises.
This coming on the heels of two Princess Cruise ships that have finally been allowed to dock. The Grand Princess was finally allowed to dock in Oakland, California after 21 people tested positive for the coronavirus. The Regal Princess was held up but finally allowed to port in Florida after two crew members had to wait for the results of their coronavirus test.
Airlines are also seeing a hit with the CDC’s new guidance stating that the elderly and those with health issues should avoid “non-essential travel such as long plane trips.” The Coronavirus closure losses could be staggering for the air travel industry. According to estimates by the International Air Transport Association, they forecast a loss from anywhere between $63 billion to $113 billion in passenger air travel.
CORONAVIRUS CLOSURES AROUND THE WORLD
News around the globe doesn’t get any better. Mass Coronavirus closures rock many countries. Asia’s amusement parks are being hit hard, sporting events are being shut down or being played with no fans, and Italy’s Premier Giuseppe Conte has completely shut down travel in the entire country.
Whether it is warranted or not, the globe is under attack and everyone is trying to figure out the best way to combat it. Until then, treat it as you would any other major flu outbreak. Wash your hands, cough and sneeze into your arm, stay home if you are feverish and last, but not least, wash your hands (yes, we did say this twice). Be smart and safe.