Welcome to the Weekly Scan. Here’s what we’re following for the week of July 13, 2020.
Make sure to check back as we update these stories.
Magic Kingdom faces pandemic realities. Entertainment giant Disney opened its Orlando, Florida-based Disney World theme park this weekend to thousands of visitors, despite 15,000 new coronavirus infections in the state on Sunday, according to reports. Disney reportedly retrofitted the park for the pandemic, installing hand-sanitizing stations, and requiring visitors to wear masks, as well as mandating empty space between seats on rides.
- The takeaway. Disney World’s reopening is seen by some as a test of whether businesses can open responsibly during the pandemic, without creating a surge in new infections.
More fizz than pop. After strong job gains in June, what was looking like an economic recovery might be leveling off, financial experts say. Just in the past few days, United Airlines said it may lay off tens of thousands of workers, upscale clothier Brooks Brothers, which has operated since 1818, filed for bankruptcy, and home retailer Bed Bath & Beyond said it will shutter 200 stores.
- The takeaway. The layoff pain could spread to other industries beyond the service sector, where most job cuts have taken place, experts say. Although the economy gained 4.8 million jobs in June, 2020, the biggest gain since 1939, according to reports, the unemployment rate is 11.1%, compared to 3.5% in February, 2020.
TikTok’s time could be ticking. Last week, Amazon reportedly asked employees via email to delete the video creation app TikTok from cell phones used to access their Amazon emails as concern over TikTok’s privacy practices has grown. But later the same day, Amazon said that the initial email was sent in error and that the company’s policy on Amazon had not changed. Amazon isn’t the only company that’s attempted to ban use of TikTok. Wells Fargo also asked employees to delete the app from company-owned cell phones.
The takeaway: This news comes as suspicion over TikTok’s security and privacy practices mounts. The app, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, is one of the 60 Chinese apps that India banned last month. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also suggested that the Trump administration could ban several Chinese apps such as TikTok. TikTok has been downloaded about 2 billion times worldwide, including about 170 million times in the U.S. alone.
Not so United. United Airlines announced that it plans to layoff or furlough 36,000 employees, about half of its employees in October 2020. The personnel changes will reportedly include 15,000 flight attendants, 2,250 pilots, and 11,000 customer service workers. Although flying has picked up slightly from April lows, United says it’s still losing $40 million per day.
- The takeaway: It’s likely the layoffs won’t happen until October 1, 2020, when a $25 billion stimulus package for airlines runs out. Airlines can’t layoff or furlough workers before September 30, 2020 as part of that package.
Find out what we covered in last week’s Scan.