Welcome to the most Sisyphean hump day of all hump days. We wish we could tell you things were looking better out there, but not so much. One piece of “good news” is that air pollution has been massively reduced.
Today’s Coronavirus Briefing is 1,279 words and will take you six minutes to read. Register for the newsletter here.
Just the hits
- U.S. lawmakers reached a $2 trillion aid deal just before dawn. It is the biggest relief package in American history.
- Spain turned an ice rink into a provisional morgue after a spike of 500 new deaths and 6,600 cases overnight. One funeral parlor manager called the situation “quite apocalyptic.”
- Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, has tested positive for COVID-19.
- It is day one in India of lockdown.
- In last night’s White House briefing, President Trump posited that by Easter (Sunday, April 12), the U.S. could “ease the guidelines and open things up to very large sections of our country as we near the end of our historic battle with the invisible enemy.”
It has been suggested that things would get worse before they got better. With infection and mortality rates continuing to rise, our daily hope is that we reach the nadir soon.
In a “normal economy,” more consumers = more ad revenue. But today’s landscape is far from normal: a decrease in commuters has caused advertisers to pull out of radio campaigns. An interruption in manufacturing has postponed the need to promote products. And with the cancellation of live sporting of events, millions of dollars in advertising spots have been deferred. While the public is increasingly going online for information and entertainment, that traffic is not translating into sales growth. Here’s a look at why that’s (not) happening.
- Stephen Delahunty writes in PRWeek US about advertising’s economic uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic, citing Coca-Cola’s suspension of marketing in the U.K.
- In Campaign UK, Gurjit Degun reports that journalists in Britain are calling for brands and advertisers to drop blacklists for the term “coronavirus” so they can continue reporting the news online.
- Elsewhere in Campaign UK, Jessica Goodfellow reports that Twitter is expecting an operating loss and revenue slip for its first quarter, despite a bump in users.
- Facebook use also rises, but online advertising plunges. Perhaps its superpowered partnership with The World Health Organization, Microsoft, Twitter, WeChat, TikTok, Pinterest, Slack and Giphy, promoting the development of software to take on challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic, will change advertisers’ minds.
Like every other industry, advertisers are scrambling to rewrite their rulebook. If online audiences continue to grow, it seems like a massive pivot is in order if they’re going to survive.
Contracts, due diligence & sex
Organizations live and die by their calendars. Employee handbooks are written, signed, and frequently never looked at again. How do you to reckon with cancellations due to COVID-19? Do you need to reconsider your office rules? And what hard-won advances are getting lost in the shuffle?
- C&IT shared a piece written by Conor Maher from Ellis Jones Solicitors, explaining what your options are when a contract cannot be fulfilled because of COVID-19.
- In People Management, Kate Redshaw takes a look at the legalities of working from home and what businesses need to consider. From the basic — providing employees with stationery, paper, and printer ink — to the more complex — what steps need to be put in place to protect personal data that is being taken offsite — this is a good primer for ensuring a new-style healthy and safe workplace.
- Gender pay gap reporting appears to be the tipping point for many organizations. In the U.K., the Government Equalities Office has suspended enforcement of the gender pay gap deadlines this year in the wake of coronavirus to help ease employers’ uncertainty and pressure, Francis Churchill reports.
The way we work today … none of us was prepared for this. Even organizations which have been letting workers spend one day a week working remotely didn’t have a structure in place for an entire organization to work from home. It’s going to take patience, and a great deal of understanding, from both employers and employees to find ways to make this work. And since we don’t know how long this is going to last, the faster we acclimate, the better.
Coronavirus has decimated the hospitality industry. Shuttered restaurants, boarded-up bars. Thousands of employees who get paid hourly are out of work, and every day that goes by drains what little savings most of them have. But the hospitality industry is filled with people unafraid of the heat, social creatures who thrive working long hours and late nights, surrounded by other people. So it comes as no surprise that while they’re down, they’re by no means out.
- A group of restauranteurs created #TheGreatAmericanTakeout campaign in an effort to encourage people to pick up food, or order in from their favorite spot. With many sit-down restaurants pivoting to delivery and take-out service in order to survive, this is a great way to help your locals alive.
- New podcasts like RE-Opening Soon and Take Away, are giving chefs, restaurateurs and their vendors, an outlet to vent. The conversations reverberate far beyond the hospitality industry, offering inspirational, instructive and invaluable information to everyone struggling with their jobs.
- Famed restaurateurs Danny Meyer, Tom Colicchio, Marcus Samuelsson and others, have launched the Independent Restaurant Coalition to advocate for financial relief from the government in the form of “direct income replacement” for workers missing their paychecks.
No one is immune to the devastation of this pandemic, but the hospitality industry has been hit especially hard. Once this epidemic is over, we’re really going to need places to go, to eat, to drink, and to commune with each other once again.
It’s morning. You toss back a tall glass of orange juice, kiss your loved one goodbye, head out the front door, walk down the sidewalk and slide into your high-performance, super-safe, impossibly sleek car. It’s off to work you go!
OK. That is literally not how anyone’s day has ever started. But these days, even less so. With more and more people stuck inside, more and more cars are stuck in neutral. Here’s a look at how COVID-19 is affecting the automotive industry.
- In Autocar, Felix Page compiled this helpful list of safety tips for motorists, including wearing gloves at the gas station, postponing car servicing, and how to buy a new car online.
- In Media Post, Tanya Gazdik takes a look at the measures auto industry players are using—in Michigan in particular—to protect employees, including shutting down their plants. She also lists a few who are mind-bogglingly operating as usual.
- Airlines are hauling more goods and fewer people, while the big automakers — including a reluctant Tesla — are suspending operations.
- If you love driving and miss going for a ride, maybe now’s a good time to become a gamer.
You should be driving only if absolutely necessary — take extra precautions when you do.
And now, for some things completely different
We all deserve a break from the news, so we leave you today with art to look at and a scientific look at the loo.
- Adam Thorman, an Oakland, California-based artist, photographer, and educator, has an affecting social distancing photography project — taking pictures of people, through windows.
- Campaign UK’s Patrick Fagan harnesses behavioral science in an attempt to decipher whether stockpiling “loo rolls” is a subconscious reflection of our need for cleanliness in a world that is physically, and spiritually, unclean.
Wash your hands. Wash your hands again. See you tomorrow.