Monday, April 27, 2020

6:07 pm ET: NY Sen. Gillibrand on Bringing Back Postal Banking

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) has been very vocal about what she thinks needs to be done to battle the economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis.
The senator told Cheddar Monday that postal banking will be able to serve more people during the pandemic, specifically low-income families, who may be unbanked.
"It was instrumental in getting us out of the Depression because post offices were able to sell bonds and it made a difference because it allowed more low-income people to have bank accounts," Gillibrand said. Read more...
— McKenzie Marshall

4:13 pm ET: Stocks Climb Globally as Hopes Build for Easing Lockdowns

Stocks are closing higher on Wall Street and around the world as governments prepare to gradually lift restrictions they imposed on businesses to slow the sweep of the coronavirus pandemic. The S&P 500 rose 1.5% Monday at the start of a week that’s packed with market-moving events. Read more...
— The Associated Press

4:03 pm ET: Alaska Girl Scouts Get Cookie Bailout

Selling Girl Scout cookies is normally a foolproof business model, but the coronavirus outbreak cooled sales of the treats in Alaska.
The Girl Scouts of Alaska sought assistance, and the organization is expected to receive a federal recovery loan to help compensate for lost cookie sales.
First National Bank Alaska facilitated the federal Paycheck Protection Program loan, The Anchorage Daily News reported Sunday.  
— The Associated Press
File photo of Girl Scouts selling cookies, Friday, Feb. 23, 2007. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

3:38 pm ET: WNET President Says Educational TV a 'Game-Changer' 

Schools across the country have been closed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, so public television stations are trying to help fill the education gap facing young people.
Neal Shapiro, president of the New York metro area public broadcasting station WNET, told Cheddar Monday that PBS stations are offering kids the tools to stay on track with their schooling via educational television. Read more...
— McKenzie Marshall

2:32 pm ET: Health Officials Ready New Guidelines as Virus Restrictions Ease

The Trump administration is reviewing proposed new guidelines for how restaurants, schools, churches, and businesses can safely reopen as states look to gradually lift their coronavirus restrictions.
The draft guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been sent to Washington but still could be revised before being released to the public. The recommendations were obtained from a federal official who was not authorized to release them publicly.
The guidelines include suggestions such as closing break rooms at offices, using disposable menus in restaurants, and having students eat lunch in their classrooms. Read more...
— The Associated Press

2:11 pm ET: First Georgia Restaurants Dish Up Meals Go-Ahead to Re-Open

The staff of Roasters, a gastropub in Sandy Springs, Georgia, came in an hour early Monday for a rapid-fire training session on new safety measures being put in place to protect staff and employees. The local chain restaurant resumed dine-in service this morning after more than a month of offering only delivery and pick-up to customers.
"We want to make sure everybody is on the same page as far as the sanitation procedures go and is extra-conscious about cleanliness at this point," district manager Becca Fishman told Cheddar. "We work in a restaurant, so fortunately none of this is new to us."
Roasters is one of the first Georgia restaurants to reopen its dining area in line with an executive order from Gov. Brian Kemp that went into effect Monday. The Republican governor has led the pack of largely conservative states that are eager to restart their economies amid the coronavirus outbreak, despite criticism from businesses and even President Donald Trump. Read more...
— Alex Vuocolo
Corey Brooks, right, orders food at a Waffle House restaurant in Savannah, Georgia, on Monday, April 27, 2020. Restaurants statewide were allowed to resume dine-in service with restrictions after a month of being limited to takeout orders because of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Russ Bynum)

12:25 pm ET: NY Nixes Democratic Presidential Primary Due to Virus

In an unprecedented move, New York has canceled its Democratic presidential primary originally scheduled for June 23 amid the coronavirus epidemic.
The Democratic members of the State’s Board of Elections voted Monday to nix the primary. New York will still hold its congressional and state-level primaries on June 23. Read more...
— The Associated Press

10:28 am ET: Stocks Rise as Governments Plan to Ease Virus Lockdowns

Stocks are rising around the world as governments prepare to gradually lift restrictions they imposed on businesses to slow the sweep of the coronavirus pandemic. The S&P 500 added 0.7% in early trading Monday at the start of a week chockablock with market-moving events. Several major central banks are meeting, including the Bank of Japan, which announced its latest stimulus measures to prop up markets. A slew of the biggest U.S. companies is also scheduled to report how much profit they made in the first three months of 2020. Bond yields rose and the price of oil fell. Read more...
— The Associated Press

8:14 am ET: Need2Know: Reopening of U.S., Milestone in Wuhan & the Day It All Changed

Get your news over easy every morning by listening to the Need 2 Know podcast (StitcheriTunes) and signing up for our morning newsletter.
COVID-19: LATEST DEVELOPMENTS: The official global death toll of the pandemic has surpassed 200,000 (though is in reality much higher), with the U.S. accounting for a quarter of that number. France, Spain and Italy — some of the hardest-hit countries — will begin easing their lockdown measures in the days to come. Italy has provided the most detailed plan, which includes a phased reopening of certain sectors of the economy and schools returning in September. In Wuhan, residents are cheering a milestone: the city where it all started is reporting no coronavirus patients in its hospitals. GUARDIAN
U.S. REOPENING: The slow and partial reopening of much of the U.S. will accelerate this week, with more governors preparing to lift restrictions on businesses and gatherings as the calendar turns to May. More than a dozen states have stay-home orders that expire this week. In the most hard-hit state of New York, the governor introduced a plan that would gradually phase in a re-opening of some upstate businesses as soon as May 15. Meanwhile, Dr. Deborah Birx says the U.S. needs a “breakthrough” in antibody testing and that Americans should prepare for social distancing guidelines to be in place at least through the summer. NBC NEWS
TASK FORCE BRIEFINGS CURTAILED: For weeks now, the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House has become a staple of the Trump Administration’s response — marathon events that often go for more than two hours. But after President Trump was widely mocked and criticized for suggesting the injection of disinfectants into the human body to treat coronavirus, the daily updates may be less frequent. Friday’s was the shortest yet and there were none over the weekend, though one is on the schedule for today. The president’s advisors have reportedly been trying to get him to hold fewer, shorter briefings, worried that he’s not helping his case for re-election. Republicans in D.C. are said to be increasingly worried that they are at risk of losing not just the presidency, but the Senate, too. NY TIMES
WHERE IS KIM JONG UN? Rumors about the health and whereabouts of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un went into overdrive over the weekend, with unverified reports out of Asia that he was either dead or dying. But U.S. and South Korean intelligence officials are skeptical, pointing to recent satellite images that show Kim’s personal train at a coastal resort area. Kim had been a no-show for a couple of high-profile public events in the last few weeks, but some analysts believe he may have just been avoiding the crowds — even though North Korea “officially” has zero coronavirus cases. WASH POST
RETAIL APOCALYPSE: Not even a strong e-commerce game may be enough to save some retailers that have had to shut their stores. Adidas just reported a 93 percent plunge in its quarterly profit, with a 35 percent increase in online sales only partially offsetting that. Elsewhere in the sector, Gap says it is quickly running out of cash in the bank and will stop paying rent on its closed stores in North America. And JCPenney, which was in bad shape even before the pandemic, is in advanced bankruptcy talks with its lenders. REUTERS
TRACING TECH: Apple and Google announced new details of their joint coronavirus contract tracing software currently in development. The technology will work by using Bluetooth to recognize if someone’s smartphone has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. Both companies will use special encryption to block any identifying information and the service will be “opt-in” when it rolls out as Android and iOS updates later this year. Germany is the latest country to back this venture, which is perhaps the best opportunity to allow for mass tracing on a global scale — provided people opt-in. CNET
SPLITSVILLE...for reality TV star Kristin Cavallari and former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler. Cavallari wrote on her Instagram that they’d be divorcing after a decade together, and requested privacy. ESPN
TOM HANKS TO THE RESCUE: Tom Hanks revealed in a podcast interview that he and his wife Rita Wilson are donating blood to be used in a potential COVID-19 treatment. The pair have fully recovered from their bouts with the virus and are carrying antibodies. They volunteered and now researchers will be using their very famous plasma to help develop a vaccine. Hanks joked that if his blood helps, he wants it to be called the “Hank-ccine.” DEADLINESPOTTED...Brad Pitt as Dr. Fauci in the SNL At Home cold open. Saturday Night Live’s second attempt at a remotely produced and acted episode went off much smoother — and funnier — than the first: WATCH
LEFTOVERS: 3/11/20: Do you remember March 11? When the history of the coronavirus pandemic is written, it’s likely that will be the date that we look back on as the point at which we pivoted from normal life to something different — the moment the coronavirus threat went from an abstraction for many to an urgent emergency for the entire country. In a matter of hours on that day, the WHO declared an official pandemic, the Dow fell 1500 points and entered a bear market, the NCAA announced a March Madness without fans, the NBA suspended its season, President Trump delivered a rare Oval Office address, and Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson announced they tested positive. For a crisis as slow-moving as this one, it’s remarkable how quickly it snowballed on a single late-winter day. Here’s an oral history of 3/11/20: WIRED