The outbreak of the coronavirus has dealt a shock to the global economy with unprecedented speed. Following are developments Monday related to the national and global response, the work place and the spread of the virus.
PIZZA TIME: Domino’s Pizza is now offering carside delivery service, allowing customers to stay in their cars while one of the pizza company’s workers delivers their order to them.
The chain said Monday that customers can choose the new contactless carryout option when placing a prepaid order online. It is available in U.S. stores.
When a customer places a carside delivery order online, they’ll be prompted to add their vehicle color, make and model, which will be used to identify them when they arrive at the store. Customers can also choose where they’d like their order placed – the passenger side, back seat, trunk or the option to decide when they arrive. Customers can notify the store when they arrive by hitting the “I’m here” button on Domino’s Tracker page or by replying “HERE” to Domino’s opt-in text, and an employee will bring the order to their vehicle.
SUPPORTING MOMS AND POPS: American Express said it will set aside up to $200 million to help spur spending at small businesses which were shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The program will consist mostly of a cash-back program for cardmembers. For every $10 an AmEx cardholder spends at a small business, they will get $5 back, up to $50. Like other credit card companies, AmEx codes each of its merchants it its system by size and industry, so the cashback will only work at small businesses.
The program is similar to AmEx’s “Small Business Saturday” promotion that the company runs during the Christmas holiday shopping season.
AmEx is also setting aside $10 million that will go directly to Black-owned small businesses in the form of grants to help address the “challenges they face due to racial and social inequalities.”
BONUS TIME: Amazon said it is paying out $500 million in bonuses to its front-line workers as a thank you for working during the pandemic. Amazon stopped paying a $2 an hour bonus at the end of May. Amazon said full-time warehouse and Whole Foods workers who were employed by the company in June will get $500, while part-time workers will get $250. Managers will get $1,000. Those who started a package delivery business with Amazon will get $3,000 and their drivers will get the same bonuses as the warehouse workers. Those who delivered packages for at least 10 hours using Amazon’s Flex service will get $150.
Amazon’s competitors, including Walmart and Target, have also offered cash bonuses to its workers. All three companies kept their stores and warehouses open during the pandemic, and saw demand spike as shoppers stocked up on goods.
— Travelers at Frankfurt airport, Germany’s biggest and a major intercontinental hub, will be able to get an on-site coronavirus test before jetting off.
Airport operators, German carrier Lufthansa and medical research company Centogene are opening a walk-in testing center near the main terminal Monday.
Some countries require that travelers provide proof of negative COVID-19 tests to avoid quarantine on arrival.
Fast-track tests providing results within two to three hours will cost 139 euros ($156). Regular tests with results available within six to twelve hours — recommended for travelers who can get tested the day before departure — cost 59 euros.
CENTRAL GOVERNMENTS & BANKS:
— Year-round movie theaters, casinos and children’s summer camps reopened in Greece on Monday, while concerts, conferences, commercial fairs and artistic events can once again be held in the latest phase of the country’s easing of lockdown measures.
Outdoor summer movie theaters have already been open for several weeks, but this is the first time indoor theaters will be able to operate since the lockdown was imposed in March.
On Wednesday, international flights will be allowed at regional airports across the country. Currently tourists can fly into only Athens or the northern city of Thessaloniki. Greece has been eager to attract foreign visitors, as tourism makes up a significant part of the country’s economy.
— Germany’s parliament has signed off on a government plan to lower sales tax and provide more money for families that it is hoped will stimulate spending and help the economy as coronavirus restrictions are eased.
The lower house of parliament on Monday approved the plan to lower the country’s value added tax from 19% to 16% for a half a year, starting July 1. A reduced tax for food and other necessities will be lowered from 7% to 5% under the plan.
In addition, lawmakers approved one-time bonus payments of 300 euros ($335) per child to families. The first 200 euros will be paid in September, followed by an additional 100 euros in October.
The measures are part of a 130 billion euro stimulus package proposed by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government, which also includes financial incentives for electric and hybrid vehicles. They are expected to receive final approval from the upper house of parliament later Monday.
MARKETS: Stocks are opening mostly higher on Wall Street Monday as the market claws back some of the ground it lost in a steep drop on Friday.
HOUSE HUNT: Home buyers dealing with serious health concerns or other issues can now use a new secure platform to bypass the traditional home selling process during the pandemic.
HomeQuickie.com announced Monday a system that automates the entire home selling process, providing access to the selling, marketing and closing tools that industry professionals use. The program offers full self-service options for a flat $1,495 fee or expert support for a 2% commission on the final sales price.
HomeQuickie.com says the system will continue to be available once the virus outbreak is over, as it is considered a helpful tool for busy buyers and sellers who want to speed up the process while maintaining security. It is also useful for those who are moving long distances or relocating internationally and for hearing-impaired individuals.