The outbreak of the coronavirus has dealt a shock to the global economy with unprecedented speed. Following are developments Wednesday related to the national and global response, the work place and the spread of the virus.
TRAVEL & LEISURE: Viral videos out of places like Lake of the Ozarks over the holiday weekend showed how willing people are to gather, even in a pandemic. Tourist destinations, from countries to theme parks, are laying out plans with hopes of avoiding such scenes.
— Nevada's casinos will reopen next week, including those on the Las Vegas Strip. The casinos, which power Nevada's economy, were ordered closed more than 11 weeks ago. They will be allowed to open June 4, right before the weekend.
— SeaWorld and Walt Disney World will reopen in Orlando, Florida, in June and July, according to plans a city task force approved Wednesday. The proposals will now be sent to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for final approval.
SeaWorld would open on June 11. Disney plans a tiered reopening, with Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom opening on July 11, followed by Epcot and Hollywood Studios on July 15. Universal and Six Flags outlined new park guidelines earlier this month.
— Boeing is cutting more than 12,000 jobs through layoffs and buyouts as the coronavirus pandemic seizes the travel industry. The Washington company warned Wednesday that more cuts are coming.
— Cyprus has pledged to cover all costs for anyone testing positive for the coronavirus while on holiday in the east Mediterranean island nation. That includes lodging, food, drink and medication for COVID-19 patients and their families.
A 100-bed hospital will cater exclusively to foreign travelers who test positive. A 500-room “quarantine-hotel” will exclusively host patients’ family members and other close contacts.
THE WORK PLACE: The pace of returning to work varies by industry, with some tech companies dropping any requirement of returning to the office, and industrial companies creating new safety requirements for workers.
— Ford temporarily halted production on the Transit Van assembly line at its Kansas City, Missouri, assembly plant so it can perform a deep cleaning after a worker tested positive for COVID-19. In addition to disinfecting the employee's work area and the paths taken while at the plant, Ford is notifying people known to have been in close contact with the person and asking them to self-quarantine for 14 days.
— Google is giving a $1,000 allowance to each worker to expense necessary equipment and office furniture. The company will also start reopening more offices in more cities beginning July 6.
CEO Sundar Pichai said employees will return on a rotating basis, at about 10% building occupancy. The company hopes to ramp up that rotation in September, eventually reaching 30% occupancy. Those who can work remotely will be allowed to due so through 2020.
GOVERNMENTS & CENTRAL BANKS: Countries continue to roll out new funding measures to support hospitals, businesses and citizens. The push to reopen national economies continues even though the dangers of doing so is becoming clear.
— Japan approved its largest-ever draft extra budget of 32 trillion-yen ($297 billion) to fund stimulus projects aimed at softening the economic damage from the pandemic. The second round of funding announced this month will partially finance projects worth about 117 trillion yen ($1.1 trillion), including support for small businesses, funding to strengthen medical systems and for medical workers, as well as subsidies for local governments to step up regional coronavirus measures.
— The French economy is expected to shrink by 20% in the third quarter, the worst economic performance since World War II. In the best-case scenario, the French economy will contract 8% over all of 2020, state statistics agency Insee said Wednesday.
— Poland is lifting most of its lockdown restrictions starting Saturday. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Wednesday the number of people allowed in shops, restaurants and hair salons is being loosened. starting June 6 cinemas, theaters and concert halls will be allowed to open, but only at 50% capacity, and masks will be mandatory.
IT'S THE HEAT: To keep police safe from the novel coronavirus, Ford has come up with a hot idea. Blast the heater inside the Ford Explorer Police Interceptor SUV to above 133 degrees for 15 minutes to kill the virus on plastic and vinyl surfaces.
The company is offering software to automatically heat up and cool down police vehicles when needed. Ford tested the software on police vehicles in New York City, Los Angeles and elsewhere, and partnered with Ohio State University to make sure the temperature killed the virus on the interior surfaces. Researchers used a bovine coronavirus with similar properties to the novel coronavirus to determine that heating the vehicles killed 99% of the virus.
Ford is providing the software to police departments for free, but there may be a small charge for a dealer to install it. Larger departments with big maintenance garages can install the software themselves.
MARKETS: Stock indexes are mixed on Wall Street Wednesday, as hopes for a coming economic revival.
ROUND NUMBERS: Americans are devouring pizza in lockdown. In the eight weeks starting March 23, Domino's comparable-store sales jumped 16%. That trend accelerated the longer people were shut in. In the final three weeks of that period, sales spiked 22%, the company said Wednesday. It was the same story at Papa John's, where same-store sales rocketed 27% between March 30 and April 26, and 33.5% through the end of May.