Welcome to the Weekly Scan. Here’s what we’re following for the week of April 13, 2020.
Make sure to check back during the week as we update these stories.
A virus app that could go viral. Apple and Google are working together on an app that would let users know if they’ve recently come into contact with someone who’s tested positive for Covid-19. The software would reportedly use the same Bluetooth technology you use to connect your phone to wireless speakers or headphones. When your phone is in close proximity with another, the two phones would reportedly exchange anonymous identifiers, according to Google. Users who’ve tested positive for the virus would voluntarily report that information to the app. If someone you came into contact with tests positive and reports it, you’ll be notified on your phone.
While President Trump has expressed interest in the software, some people have raised concerns about the power of big tech companies and privacy, as well as the accuracy of such an app. While the software would rely on people to self-report, it could also allow people to falsely report a Covid-19 diagnosis. Wall Street Journal.
Let’s all just get along. In a deal brokered by the U.S. over the weekend, Saudi Arabia, Russia and other leading petroleum producers have agreed to cut oil production amid declining demand during the Covid-19 crisis. Energy-producing countries have reportedly committed to reducing levels by 10 million barrels a day. Oil prices have fallen by about 35% since March, when Saudi Arabia and Russia launched a price war that unsettled global markets. In a move that experts say was meant to take market share away from Russia, Saudi Arabia slashed its oil prices on March 10, 2020 and flooded world markets with cheap crude. New York Times.
Don’t be a deadbeat. Airlines are reportedly balking at new rules that would require them to pay back 30% of federal bailout loans within five years. Collectively, the industry is seeking about $50 billion in federal money to keep them afloat, as part of the $2.2 trillion rescue package recently approved by Congress. About 230 carriers have applied for financial assistance. The air travel industry has been gutted by declining consumer demand during Covid-19. Bloomberg.
Breadsticks right to your door. Dining may be dead for many restaurant chains for now, but takeout is reportedly thriving. Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse, reported a decline in overall sales for the third fiscal quarter to date. However, both restaurant chains saw an increase in delivery sales. From February 24 through April 5, Olive Garden’s sales dropped 34.5%. LongHorn Steakhouse’s sales declined 36.4% during the same period. Same-store sales for Darden Restaurants were down 39.1%.
Despite the decline in overall sales, Olive Garden has doubled its takeout sales and LongHorn has tripled those sales. While many restaurants have been forced to close for in-house dining during the pandemic, many are still delivering. More than 99% of Darden Restaurants have remained open in some capacity during the outbreak, according to the company’s CEO. The Street.
Check out last week’s Scan for additional news here.