Covid-19 Economic Impact

Business • Economy
Disney to lay off 28,000 employees as Covid-19 affects its theme park business
Disney to lay off 28,000 employees as Covid-19 affects its theme park business
Credit: Joe Penniston (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

In a memo sent to employees on Tuesday, Disney announced it would lay off 28,000 employees across its parks, experiences and consumer products segment. Around 67% of the laid-off workers were part-time employees.

The company blamed prolonged closures and capacity limits at open parks for the layoffs. While Disney's theme parks in Florida, Paris, Shanghai, Japan and Hong Kong have been able to reopen with limited capacity, both California theme parks have remained shuttered.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • TV & Movies
Filming of Avatar 2 "100 percent complete", James Cameron says
Filming of Avatar 2 "100 percent complete", James Cameron says
Credit: unsplash.com /

Canadian filmmaker and director James Cameron has recently confirmed that filming on Avatar 2 and 3 is almost done after the Covid-19 pandemic had delayed shooting.

"We've got about 10 percent left to go. We're 100 percent complete on Avatar 2 and we're sort of 95 percent complete on Avatar 3," Cameron said in a video call with Terminator friend Arnold Schwarzenegger. "Covid hit us like it hit everybody... We lost about four and a half months of production. As a result of that, we've rolled around one more full year for a release in December of 2022. That's been announced already. Now that doesn't mean I have an extra year to finish the film, because the day we deliver Avatar 2 we'll just start working on finishing Avatar 3."

Business • Economy
EasyJet is "hanging by a thread" due to Covid-19 pandemic, union official says
EasyJet is "hanging by a thread" due to Covid-19 pandemic, union official says
Credit: unsplash.com/Frederick Tubiermont

According to a union official, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has left the British low-cost airline group EasyJet "hanging by a thread".

"If easyJet don’t have a good summer and make money next summer, I suspect none of us will have a job this time next year," pilots’ union official Martin Entwisle said in a now leaked recording of an EasyJet staff conference call. Entwisle claimed the information was shared by the company’s chief financial officer, Andrew Findlay, who allegedly warned that the company's situation was "even worse than their worst fears."

"The easiest way to put it is: the company is hanging by a thread," Entwisl added.

EasyJet has denied that Entwisl's comments "reflect what EasyJet or its finance officer said."

Politics • American • Brazil
Rio de Janeiro is delaying its annual Carnival parade for the first time in a century
Viradouro parade during the 2020 Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro
Viradouro parade during the 2020 Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro Credit: Raphael David | Riotur

Rio de Janeiro delayed its annual Carnival parade, that would take place in February 2021, as Brazil continues to face the Covid-19 pandemic. The League of Samba Schools (LIESA) announced that the spread of the coronavirus has made it impossible to safely hold the parades, and it is studying the possibility of holding the parade on another date.

Jorge Castanheira, the president of LIESA, said Thursday: "We only imagined the parade with a vaccine. Failing to get a vaccine or action plan that will guarantee safety for everyone by mid-September, it will be difficult to present in the current mold. After that, it may not be possible to present the carnival as it is known today. In today's condition it is ethically unlikely to have the parade."

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Dutch minister in doubt of Air France-KLM's future without more cost cuts
Dutch minister in doubt of Air France-KLM's future without more cost cuts
Credit: Nabil Molinari (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The Dutch Finance minister Wopke Hoekstra said Sunday Air France-KLM needs to lower its costs to survive its current crisis. Air France-KLM stated last month that it was losing 10 million euros per day due to the Covid-19 crisis.

In an interview with the Dutch public television, Hoekstra said, "The survival of Air France-KLM is not a given, They will have to address their cost base even as things stand now. And suppose this situation lasts until the end of next year, then they will have to cut even deeper."

Back in July, French and Dutch governments loaned a total of €10.4 billion, and in return, KLM has said it would reduce its staff by 20%, and Air France would reduce 16% of its workforce, through 2022.

Technology • Internet & Web
Consumer advocacy group accuses Amazon of price gouging during pandemic
Consumer advocacy group accuses Amazon of price gouging during pandemic
Credit: Christoph Scholz

Amazon is being accused of price gouging on essential items during the early days of the pandemic in March, so Washington-based consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.

"Amazon has fundamentally misled the public, law enforcement and policymakers about price increases during the pandemic," so Public Citizen's Alex Harman.

The group found that prices increased for various products, including face masks, antibacterial hand soap, disposable hand gloves and toilet paper. Amazon has refuted those claims, saying there was no place for price gouging on their website and that their systems were "designed to offer customers the best available online price."

Law
Germany reports that drug trafficking is consistently high despite Corona
Germany reports that drug trafficking is consistently high despite Corona
Credit: Markus Spiske

The drug trade continues to flourish despite Corona and thanks to digital sales channels. In 2019, the offenses in this context continued to increase, with cocaine in particular increasing.

The German "Federal Criminal Police Office's report on drug crime 2019" shows an increase of 2.6% compared to the previous year.

Above all, the sales channels in the Darknet would take retail off the street and make investigations more difficult. The Berlin trend of so-called "coke taxis" (mobile delivery) would also increase constantly.

The federal government would like to continue to focus on prevention, especially in schools.

Business • Economy
Austria reports 20% decline in sales of new cars since beginning of 2020
Austria reports 20% decline in sales of new cars since beginning of 2020
Credit: GFreihalter (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

The Austrian car sales are heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to a -67% and -65% decline in sales in March and April. The market since then recovered to a low of -18% in June and went back to -20% in August.

The statistics are based on the registration number of new cars per month.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • TV & Movies
Tenet grosses $20.2m on opening weekend in US
Tenet grosses $20.2m on opening weekend in US
Credit: Warner Bros

Christopher Nolan's new movie "Tenet" garnered around $20.2 million in the US over Labor Day weekend. Usually, Nolan's movies make around $50m during an opening weekend but around 45% of the country's film venues remain closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Domestically, while our results show positive like-for-like theatre indicators compared to previous films such as Dunkirk, there is literally no context in which to compare the results of a film opening during a pandemic with any other circumstance. We are in unprecedented territory, so any comparisons to the pre-COVID world would be inequitable and baseless," Warner Bros said in a statement.

Transportation • Public, Railway & Bus Transportation
Dehli, India: Subway trains resume after 5-month-long Coronavirus shutdown
India's transport system carried around 2.7 million passengers a day before the lockdown.
India's transport system carried around 2.7 million passengers a day before the lockdown. Credit: © Yann Forget / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Dehli's metro is resuming again after being suspended for five months due to the Coronavirus lockdown measures. The Indian economy has started to reopen even though the country experiences high daily counts of new infections.

Commuters will have to wear masks, keep a safe distance and have their temperature checked.

Lifestyle • Food
NYC restaurant owners file $2b lawsuit against city and state officials
Financier Patisserie closed all its location due to mandated indoor dining shutdown
Financier Patisserie closed all its location due to mandated indoor dining shutdown Credit: Billie Grace Ward from New York, USA / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

New York City restaurant owners have filed a $2 billion class-action suit against city and state officials in Manhattan's Supreme Court, stating a violation of the constitutional rights of mover than 150,000 New York City restaurant owners.

"It’s been nearly six months since New York City restaurants were mandated to shutdown indoor dining, and Mayor de Blasio still does not have a reopening plan, even though the rest of the state has been dining indoors since June," so Andrew Rigie, Executive Director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance.

Business • Economy
GDP falls 9.7% record in the 2nd quarter and Brazil enters recession again
Closed stores in Santos, Brazil
Closed stores in Santos, Brazil Credit: Marcelo dos Santos

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Brazil had a historical fall of 9.7% in the 2nd quarter, in comparison with the first 3 months of the year, due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis,

With a pandemic, the Brazilian economy regressed to the level of late 2009.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Lufthansa has 1.2 million outstanding applications for Covid-19 related ticket refunds
Lufthansa has 1.2 million outstanding applications for Covid-19 related ticket refunds
Credit: unsplash.com/Kevin Hackert

AUA parent Lufthansa is making progress with the reimbursement of cancelled tickets from the Corona crisis. In the current year, the group has now returned 2.5 billion euros to 5.6 million customers, the group announced on Friday. However, this still leaves 1.2 million applications open, with a volume of around 600 million euros.

In the past seven days, 20,000 cases were settled daily, according to the company. If things had continued at the same pace without new cancellations, the applications would have been cleared in 60 days. The Group had announced that it would settle the cases from the first half of the year by the end of August.

According to EU law, airlines are obliged to refund the ticket price within seven days if they initiate cancellations. Following the collapse of air traffic in March, Lufthansa switched off automatic refund processes and insisted on individual case reviews.

Business • Economy
Department store chain Lord & Taylor to close all its stores
Department store chain Lord & Taylor to close all its stores
Credit: Lord & Taylor

After 194 years in business, the American department store chain Lord & Taylor is closing all its 38 remaining stores after filing bankruptcy on August 2 and has begun liquidation sales.

"While we are still entertaining various opportunities, we believe it is prudent to simultaneously put the remainder of the stores into liquidation to maximize value of inventory for the estate while pursuing options for the company's brands," so Lord & Taylor's chief restructuring officer Ed Kremer.

Business • Economy
Airbnb files to go public
Airbnb files to go public
Credit: Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine (Public Domain)

Airbnb announced on Wednesday that it had confidentially filed to go public. Reports indicate the company could have an IPO as soon as the end of the year.

The company had been privately valued at $31 billion before this year and it must now convince investors that it can thrive and turn a profit in a new era of limited travel.

Lifestyle • Travel
Covid-19 causes huge losses for German travel giant TUI
Covid-19 causes huge losses for German travel giant TUI
Credit: Marco Verch (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

TUI, the world's largest travel operator, suffered a 98.5% drop in revenues due to Covid-19 restrictions. The group posted a €1.42 billion loss between April and June.

On Wednesday, TUI secured a second credit line from the German government, adding to a €1.8 billion loan taken on in April, and while the CEO said it might not need to use the latest line, the focus is now on debt.

In May the company stated it would need to cut 8,000 jobs and save €300 million a year to help it withstand the crisis.

Business • Economy
UK officially in recession for first time in 11 years
UK officially in recession for first time in 11 years
Credit: Franck V.

The UK economy suffered its biggest slump on record between April and June as coronavirus lockdown measures pushed the country officially into recession.

The economy shrank 20.4% compared with the first three months of the year.

Technology • Internet & Web
Mozilla announces that they will layoff around 250 employees
Mozilla announces that they will layoff around 250 employees

The Mozilla Corporation has announced that around 250 employees will lose their jobs as part of a restructuring. According to the announcement "economic conditions resulting from the global pandemic have significantly impacted" the revenue of the corporation.

Earlier in 2020 around 70 employees had already lost their jobs.

Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker has stated that: "Though we’ve been talking openly with our employees about the need for change — including the likelihood of layoffs — since the spring, it was no easier today when these changes became real. I desperately wish there was some other way to set Mozilla up for long term success in building a better internet".

Business • Economy
Disney reports $4.7b loss in third quarter
Disney reports $4.7b loss in third quarter
Credit: Coolcaesar / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Walt Disney Co. reports its first quarterly loss since 2001 largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with a loss of $4.72 billion in its third fiscal quarter ending with June 27.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Disney had to close its theme parks and lost revenue from theatrical parks, live sports and movie distribution. However, due to people staying at home, Disney+ has gained over 60 million subscribers in less than nine months.

Technology • Internet & Web
Covid-19 pandemic boosts online dating, and Match Group forecasts sales above estimates
iPhone displaying the Tinder app
iPhone displaying the Tinder app Credit: Kon Karampelas

Match Group Inc. reported Tuesday strong gains in profit and revenue in the second quarter above Wall Street expectations. The company is the owner of Tinder, Match.com, OKCupid and other online-dating properties.

As dating apps became an alternative to face-to-face meetings, as restrictions to stop the spread of the pandemic, results for the quarter were positive. Tinder gained 200,000 users in the quarter, taking its average subscribers-base to 6.2 million.

In an email, CEO Shar Dubey said: "Despite the pandemic, our user trends, like engagement and willingness to pay for our products, is up, proving what we’ve always known: Our products satisfy a very critical human need, and those needs aren’t going anywhere".