business news in context, analysis with attitude

Random and illustrative stories about the global pandemic and how businesses and various business sectors are dealing with it, with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  In the United States, we now have 6,211,816 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, with 187,737 fatalities and 3,456,263 reported recoveries.

Globally, there have been 25,656,610 confirmed coronavirus cases, 855,146 deaths, and 17,955,331 reported recoveries.

•  From the Wall Street Journal:

"The U.S. recorded its smallest number of daily coronavirus cases in months, continuing a slowdown in new infections."

However, Arthur Reingold, head of the division of epidemiology and biostatistics at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, tells the Journal that it is "highly plausible" that "cases would increase in coming months compared with August as schools reopen and people tire of precautionary measures such as social distancing."

•  The Washington Post reports that "the country’s known cases have more than tripled since June 1 as the pandemic accelerated beyond the East Coast, and over the past week infections have trended upward in parts of the Midwest, including Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota and the Dakotas."

•  The New York Times elaborates:

"As U.S. cases decline elsewhere, the Midwest sees a worrying spike.

"Reports of new cases have fallen significantly around the country since July; they are now flat in 26 states and falling in 15 others. But in nine states, cases are still growing, and in some, setting records — especially in the Midwest.

"Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota all added more cases in a recent seven-day stretch than in any previous week of the pandemic. Together, they reported 19,133 new cases in the week ending Sunday, according to a New York Times database — 6.4 percent of the national total, though the five states are home to only 4 percent of the population. In each, some of the biggest surges in new case numbers have come in college towns.

"The Dakotas, which had made it through the summer without suffering the big increases seen in some other parts of the country, have both recently set single-day case records. On Saturday, South Dakota added 425 new cases and North Dakota added 374, their worst days yet. Grand Forks, home of the University of North Dakota, has one of the highest per capita growth rates in the country.

"Iowa’s recent outbreak, so serious that it prompted Gov. Kim Reynolds to shut down bars and nightclubs in six counties, has been most pronounced in college towns like Ames and Iowa City, which reported greater numbers of new cases per capita over the past two weeks than any other metro area in the country."

•  From the Los Angeles Times, a report on how Gov. Gavin Newsom has unveiled a new plan "to rekindle a California economy decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic, a four-tier system in which counties must show consistent success in stemming the transmission of the coronavirus before allowing businesses greater flexibility to reopen and group activities to resume.

"In doing so, Newsom appears to be taking a far more cautious approach than his first effort in the spring, when his decision to rapidly ease restrictions led to such a major surge in cases that he ordered another statewide shutdown … For most of California, the new rules won’t result in many immediate changes because restaurant dining, religious services, gyms and fitness centers, movie theaters and museums will remain restricted to outdoors only in the vast majority of counties in the state."

"We’re going to be more stubborn this time," Newsom says.  "This more stringent, but we believe more steady, approach."

•  The Washington Post reports that Bali has announced that it will not allow foreign tourists until 2021, with experts saying that such dramatic moves may be necessary in order to insure - to the greatest extent possible - long-term survival.

I'm glad the airlines have started eliminating change fees. I was really looking forward to seeing Bali for the first time...

But seriously, Bali won't be alone.  Count on it.

•  One day after United Airlines announced that it was eliminating change fees on most of its flights, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines followed suit, making the  issue of fees a "new competitive battleground among airlines … The sluggish rebound in passenger demand since April and concerns that Covid-19 cases could rise during the fall and winter have pushed airlines to identify new competitive strategies. The carriers are seeking to provide passengers with more reassurance about returning to the skies. Southwest Airlines Co. has never charged baggage or change fees, a policy it has used as a marketing tool."

•  USA Today reports that "Walt Disney World is postponing the reopening of its Polynesian Village Resort until next summer, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hammer hotel occupancy in central Florida.

"Disney has postponed the reopening of the Polynesian Village multiple times. As of late June, it was supposed to reopen on Aug. 12; as of July, it was supposed to reopen on Oct. 4.

"Two other Disney World Resorts, the Beach Club Resort and BoardWalk Inn, will remain closed indefinitely."

The story points out that "hotel occupancy in Orlando continues to be among the lowest in the country, according to STR, which tracks hotel occupancy data. As of the week ending Aug. 22, occupancy in the Orlando market was 29.3%, well below the national average of 48.8%."

•  From the Boston Globe:

"The best Boston sports bar of all time closed for good late Sunday night. The Fours on Canal Street is the latest victim of COVID-19 … The Closing of the Fours was inevitable. It can’t be easy to pay the rent when you own a neighborhood joint across the street from Boston Garden and you rely on crowds from Bruins games, Celtics games, and rock shows. No gatherings means no games or concerts and that meant nobody bellying up to the bar or sitting in a nice wooden booth at the two-story sports bar/restaurant in the shadow of the Causeway Street barn.

"This one hurts. And not just among the thirsty/freeloading sports media crowd. The Fours was a sports bar for fans, players, coaches, owners, and team personnel. It had the greatest collection of sports memorabilia in the region.

"When news broke of The Fours’s demise, Richard Johnson, curator of the New England Sports Museum said, 'The apocalypse has officially begun. The beloved flagship is closing'."