Pants, bras are out, PJs in; travel industry layoffs begin
The outbreak of the coronavirus has dealt a shock to the global economy with unprecedented speed. Following are developments Tuesday related to national and global response, the work place and the spread of the virus.
TRAVEL & LODGING: Hotels, rental cars, cruises, flights, anything associated with getting away from it all, is on hold. Quarterly numbers from airlines and the rest of the travel industry this week and last were abysmal. Job cuts have begun.
— Hyatt will begin laying off about 1,300 people next month. The hotel chain has slashed costs through pay cuts for executives as well as work and pay reductions for workers, but it has not been enough to staunch the bleeding.
— Brussels Airlines will let 25% of its workers go as part of a massive cost-cutting plan. The Lufthansa subsidiary in Belgium, which employs 4,000 people, has suspended its flights and plans to reduce its fleet from 54 to 38 aircraft as part of its restructuring.
— Ryanair will begin operating nearly 1,000 daily flights starting in July — assuming government restrictions on flights within Europe are lifted. The budget airline will restore 90% of its pre-COVID-19 route network. The airline has been operating with a skeleton schedule since mid-March, with some 30 flights daily between Ireland, the UK and Europe.
— The Transportation Department is allowing airlines to drop flights to some destinations without jeopardizing billions in federal pandemic aid. The department issued a notice Tuesday that airlines will be able to drop up to 5% of their destinations as long as at least one airline serves every U.S. airport that had airline service before March 1.
— Airline complaints have jumped from the average 1,500 per month, to more than 25,000 in March and April, according to the Transportation Department. Most of the complaints were about refunds. The department issued new refund guidelines for airlines but stopped short of demands by congressional Democrats to require cash refunds instead of ticket vouchers when customers cancel a reservation. Airlines are issuing refunds if the carrier canceled the flight.
— People in Singapore will be able to get professional haircuts or pop into the bakery Tuesday as the government loosens restrictions, three weeks before a partial lockdown ends. Barbers and hairdressers, food manufacturers and outlets as well as laundry shops are among select businesses that can open their doors under strict rules.
— Britain’s Treasury chief extended a job retention plan to the end of October, but said that from August the government might pay less than the current 80% of workers’ salaries as it grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rishi Sunak told the House of Commons on Tuesday that he wouldn’t give up on people who relied on the program — an unprecedented intervention to keep people in work amid the crisis. He said 7.5 million jobs had been furloughed — jobs that would have been lost if not for the program.
WHOPPERS, DRUMSTICKS & DOUGHNUTS: The risk to a restaurant’s survival in many places depends on how heavily it depends on a dining room. Fast-food chains, while damaged, have transitioned to takeout, delivery and drive-thru.
— The company that owns Burger King, Popeyes and Tim Hortons has reopened nearly 1,000 dining rooms in North America with new restrictions, and efforts to reopen fully are ongoing.
Restaurant Brands International CEO Jose Cil said in a letter Tuesday that the company is offering contactless service at most restaurants. Tables are spaced in dining rooms and will be, along with chairs, sanitized after every use. Self-serve soda fountains will not be available. Employees will have temperatures checked at the start of the shift and all are wearing masks and gloves.
— According to a check at 80 of the top 100 U.S. online retailers, sales of pajamas rose 143% between March and April. Falling are sales of pants, down 13%, and bras down 12%, according to Adobe Analytics.
MARKETS: — Stocks are mixed in tentative on Wall Street Tuesday, as investors wait to see how well the lifting of lockdowns around the world goes.
LAST LAUGH: Peloton Interactive Inc. began trending late last year and not in the way any company would desire. A commercial for Peloton was described as “dystopian,” and “sexist," and the blowback was so severe, shares of the company plunged. What a difference a pandemic makes. In a regulatory filing Tuesday, Peloton said it's topped 1 million aggregate connected fitness subscribers during lockdown.
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