Business News

Bastiaan Slabbers/iStockBy GENEVIEVE SHAW BROWN, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- With Walt Disney World planning to reopen its parks beginning July 11, there's much to know about significant changes guests will experience in the coming months.

Good Morning America detailed the safety measures put in place earlier this week. But there are additional changes. Among them:

No new ticket sales

According to the Disney Parks blog, "FastPass service will be suspended for the time being as we plan to use additional queue space to manage capacity at our attractions and maintain physical distancing. We will automatically cancel existing FastPass selections and share any future updates on the service at a later date. Also, please note that upon reopening, Extra Magic Hours will be temporarily suspended.

Canceled dining and experience reservations

All existing dining reservations and experience bookings, including Disney dining plans included in packages, have been canceled. Dining and experience bookings will reopen to limited numbers closer to the reopening dates. The parks will shift from a 180-day booking window to a 60-day booking window for dining and experience bookings going forward.

Walt Disney World plans to open Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom on July 11 and Epcot and Hollywood Studios on July 15. Disney Springs has already begun its phased reopening.

The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


svetikd/iStockBy IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- For more than half the country, restaurants and bars have been allowed to deliver beer, wine and cocktails to customers stuck at home as part of various states' emergency orders.

As the country looks to bounce back from the pandemic, some state leaders say more permanent alcohol-on-demand laws could be the fuel that the restaurant and service industry needs to restart their economies.

Illinois' state legislature passed a bill last week that would keep its emergency alcohol to-go measure in place for an extra year. New Jersey lawmakers also codified its order for six months after the pandemic ends.

Illinois State Rep. Lindsay LaPointe, who sponsored the bill, told ABC News restaurants and bars will have the toughest time recovering from their COVID-related issues and the new law is the best life preserver they can get.

"In my district (alcohol-on-demand) has allowed certain businesses to be flexible and innovative and survive," she told ABC News.

Thirty-four states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia have instituted alcohol on-demand laws since the pandemic began, according to the National Restaurant Association, which represents over 500,000 restaurants around the country. Pennslyvania is the only state to have enacted the temporary measure through its state legislature and not a governor's emergency order.

In most of the state laws, the eatery or bar can only deliver alcohol if it comes with a food order; drinks must be placed in a sealed container and the delivery person must ensure that the customer is over 21.

Currently, New Jersey is the only state where the new alcohol rule has been extended beyond the emergency order timeline.

New Jersey state assemblyman John Burzichelli, who sponsored New Jersey's law, said he has heard positive feedback from both restaurant owners and customers. While customers can still get alcohol from their local liquor store, they are still interested in their favorite specialty drink that was prepared at their old hangouts, Burzichelli said.

"Some people like the idea of having it mixed and prepared for them, just like they like their favorite piece of steak prepared for them," the assemblyman told ABC News.

Mike Whatley, the vice president of state and local affairs for National Restaurant Association, said it polled consumers in Missouri and found that 77% favored ordering off-premise drinks from their restaurants and bars. He said people feel there is no substitute for in-home drinks compared to ones made by experienced mixers.

"People want cocktails that are unique. People stuck at home are looking for that creativity," he told ABC News.

Whatley added that alcohol sales tend to have a higher markup than food sales for restaurants and the extra dollars are going a long way for restaurants. LaPointe agreed and said that elected leaders, business owners and regulators in her state came together to extend and improve on the emergency rule.

"This concept landed in our laps," she said.

And leaders of all political backgrounds across the country share that sentiment.

Washington D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser said she is looking into changing the city's laws to make alcohol deliveries more permanent and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he was interested in extending his state's law.

New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman, who represents parts of Manhattan, said he will introduce a bill that would extend his state's alcohol on-demand law for two years after the COVID emergency orders are lifted. He said the hundreds of thousands of restaurant workers are losing jobs in his district and the state needed to examine its "archaic" alcohol regulation laws.

"Our restaurants are facing a small business apocalypse in the wake of COVID-19," he told ABC News. "Necessity is the mother of invention and this is something that may make us rethink our sometimes narrow understanding of what is allowable."

Holyman said that the bill would mandate constant supervision and dialogue with community players and business owners. He also stressed that the law would still ensure that drinks are delivered to the appropriate customers.

The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control released a statement last month that several establishments were violating the alcohol delivery law by failing to confirm the customer was over 21.

"The Department notes that many third-party delivery companies have specific guidelines designed to avoid sales to minors, but those guidelines are largely being ignored by the delivery personnel," it said in its statement.

Holyman said that his bill would allow local community boards to send complaints about restaurants that violate alcohol sales rules through deliveries and the state liquor authority could fine them.

"We would need to see how it works, and whether the administration of it is smooth," he said.

Some bar and restaurant owners have called for the current alcohol on-demand orders tweaked to fit their current situation.

Brenna Beato, the co-owner of Community Tavern in Chicago, said Illinois's current emergency order only allows for the sale of bottles and cocktail kits to their customers.

“Selling in that form means we have to compete with all retail. If our customers see a bottle of their go-to bourbon, they’ll get it there in the store,” she told ABC News.

LaPointe’s bill allows for the delivery of single containers of already mixed drinks to the customers.

“That’s the main thing, we can manipulate a product and sell it as an item at a cheaper price than the kits,” Beato said.

The restaurant owner said she hopes other states take Illinois’ lead and commit to keeping on-demand alcohol service. Aside from the extra cash, she noted that serving drinks to customers who are ordering take out lifts some of the stress from the kitchen staff.

“To make up for sales, our kitchen team is extremely busy to make up for sales,” Beato said. “Being able to sell alcohol takes much less labor.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved



(NEW YORK) -- As state and local governments unveil plans to reopen restaurants amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the hard-hit industry is ready for a comeback, but dining will look different under new guidelines.

Before the coronavirus outbreak hit the U.S., the restaurant industry was projected to make $899 billion in sales in 2020, according to the National Restaurant Association. Now, the association anticipates losses totaling $240 billion by the end of 2020.

Established eateries all over the country from major cities like New York and Los Angeles to smaller family-operated restaurants have tried to survive with limited service operations dwindled to delivery or takeout.

Sandra Bonaparte, the general manager of El Floridita in Hollywood, California, told ABC News that the former lively Cuban restaurant has been "completely closed" for six weeks.

"We used to do live music and salsa dancing and it would get packed -- it was a lot of fun," she said, harkening back to the bustling crowds before coronavirus hit. "I think we’ll be okay, but it’s not sustainable for the long haul. We need to open up."

Another restaurateur from Roswell, Georgia, Ryan Pernice, wondered if an industry based on warmth and hospitality, could thrive adhering to cold and sterile guidelines.

"You know, there’s a question of can we even make money if we reopen given the new social distancing guidelines," Pernice told ABC News. "We had three full-service restaurants and then as of March 16, 17, we were operating one sort of combined takeout menu out of one restaurant."

Larry Lynch, senior vice president of Science and Industry for the National Restaurant Association, told ABC News that the staggering unemployment numbers in the country are largely made up of restaurant workers.

"The numbers I’ve seen are in the millions of people who are unemployed coming out of the restaurant industry. And I know that’s why a lot of restaurants are anxious to get their people back ... and get them working again," Lynch said.

While some restaurants were "very creative" in modifications to takeout and delivery models, Lynch said "now what we’re seeing is an opportunity in some locations to reopen. So what we’ve focused on is providing them with the guidance on the way they can do it the safest both for their employees and as well as consumers."

The National Restaurant Association has released a set of guidelines in tandem with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration to help advise restaurants on how to safely reopen.

Some of the new requirements include social distancing parameters, face coverings, additional cleaning and sanitation as well as frequent hand-washing.

"First and foremost is the face coverings," Lynch said. "And that’s both for the employees and potentially for guests as well. Obviously, you can’t eat while you’re wearing a face covering, but if you’re waiting outside or waiting in line we want to make sure that we’re protecting each other."

He added that they "want to emphasize the importance of hand-washing and the frequency of hand-washing."

"The next thing, obviously, is the cleaning and sanitation. So thinking about the tabletops, the chairs. If you’re not using disposable menus, make sure you’re wiping them down. Condiments that are on tables," Lynch explained.

As for social distancing, Lynch said restaurants will need to consider "how you separate your guests when they come in, separating the tables. You know, are there some kind of barriers that can be put in place?"

The challenge, he noted, is to figure out how those CDC and FDA guidelines will "play out in 50 different states."

In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp gave restaurants the green light to reopen but has limited them to allowing just 10 customers per 300-square feet of dining space.

For restaurants like Table and Main, Pernice said the small space with limitations is quite restrictive.

"Our restaurant Table and Main is tiny. It’s 1,800-square-feet, it’s got only 52 seats inside. So a busy summer there would be around 200 covers. Now we’re looking at less than half that," he explained.

Lynch provided Florida as an example, "where they’ve been permitted to open at a 25% capacity."

"For a lot of restaurateurs they realize they can’t make money at 25% and it’s actually better for them to stay closed at this point in time," he said.

Pernice said that while some people will think "oh now you can open -- there's going to be a rush to get open," but said it's not that simple. "To do that properly takes some time."

"Restaurateurs recognize that they have to figure out a way to make people feel comfortable," Lynch added.

Bonaparte said her staff is thinking ahead about their most dedicated patrons who could face other difficulties.

"We have some regulars that have been with us for 30 years and some of them are in their 80s ... so we’re cautious of that," she said.

For Pernice, it means "training the staff on how to deal with guests at more of an arm's length when we’ve spent all our time for the last nine years trying to make guests feel like there’s just a big bear hug when you come into the restaurants. We can’t do that anymore."

Bonaparte said right now they are in survival mode and reopening is just the first step.

"We’re just trying to adapt, you know, to make sure that we’re still around. I mean, we’ve survived the LA riots, we survived 9/11, we survived 2008, so there’s been a lot, the earthquakes in California," she said. "We’ve survived all of that."

Lynch reiterated that "over time we'll adjust -- it's going to take time."

"It's like anything we see when we have issues," he said, "we take a look at what we’re faced with and figure out, how can we get back to as close to normal as we possibly can?"

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved


Courtesy Harvest HostsBy GENEVIEVE SHAW BROWN, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- With the unofficial start of summer behind us and months before the kids go back to school -- or not -- many would-be-travelers with canceled plans are looking for ideas to travel safely.

"Safe" does not mean the same thing to all people: While one person might be comfortable in a campground because they have personal accommodations, another might find the campground itself too crowded for personal comfort.

RV off the beaten path

RV travel is appealing to a larger audience than before the pandemic shut down hotels and limited many travel options.

Harvest Hosts, a company that connects road trippers with unique overnight accommodations in the U.S. and Canada, said membership sign-ups are up 400% compared to this time last year.

"This is the fastest growth in the history of the company and it is directly because of COVID. RVing is uniquely situated as a way to safely travel this year," Joel Holland, the company's CEO, told ABC News' Good Morning America.

The company counts more than 1,000 options for overnights at museums, vineyards, farms and breweries. There's no charge to stay with the hosts but guests are encouraged to purchase their host's for-sale goods. Holland sees it as a way to support small businesses.

"Many of our wineries, for example, will drop purchases right outside of the RV," he said.


Treehouses are another option that's growing in popularity for travelers looking to distance themselves from others. Bolt Farm Treehouse is a collection of four luxury treehouses on 30 acres on Wadmalaw Island outside Charleston, South Carolina. The company switched from a nightly rate to month-long stay requirements since interest is so high.

Other treehouse options: Edisto River Treehouses are a collection of three treehouses in the Lowcountry accessible only by a 13-mile canoe ride that departs once daily. It, too, has seen more interest this year than in the past.

In Maine, the Hidden Pond resort will debut 10 treehouse accommodations in June. The resort restaurant offers private dining sheds to maximize social distance from other resort guests.

Tiny houses and luxe cottages on big land

Vacations within driving distance are a popular option, according to online travel agent Travelocity, which said most accommodations are being booked within 100 miles of people's homes. For those in major metro areas like New York City, something like the A Tiny House Resort, which features nine tiny houses on 26 acres in the Catskills, might fit the bill.

Each features a kitchen, full bathroom, heat/air conditioning, TV, dedicated Wi-Fi and a private patio with a Weber barbecue grill and fire pit. The property has an onsite waterfall, kayaking, tubing as well as a pick your own garden, baby goats, ducks and chickens. Guests enjoy a daily goat walk, perfect for social distancing, with the resident turkey "Lucky" joining in.

The Cedar Lakes Estate, located 90 miles from NYC, typically operates as a venue for weddings and corporate events. But given the pandemic, the property has pivoted to individual stays. The hotel’s 500 acres are made up of 18 individual cottages and there are no common lobbies, hallways or enclosed spaces. Contactless meals and drinks are included with each stay: breakfast delivered to your room each morning, a lunch box for a picnic anywhere on the grounds each afternoon and a special dinner each night.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved


John Lamparski/Getty ImagesBy KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Emeril Lagasse is known for his bold flavors in the kitchen and his even bigger heart when it comes to helping his local community, so it comes as no surprise that in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic he has once again kicked it up a notch.

The New Orleans-based celebrity chef and restaurateur has seen firsthand how to adapt and help those in need in the wake of tragedy following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and was quick to lend a hand with the recent onslaught of job losses, restaurant closures and families in need of assistance.

The Emeril Lagasse Foundation announced Thursday that it has committed $500,000 in grants to support youth organizations, families of hospitality industry workers and community meals to support COVID-19 relief efforts.

The multi-tiered relief response will grant immediate funding and long-term support to youth programs and families of hospitality industry workers in Louisiana, Nevada and Florida, where Lagasse has local ties with multiple restaurants.

“The need to support the youth in our community is a priority of Alden and I through the work of our Foundation. The need is more overwhelming than ever,” Lagasse said in a statement about his and his wife's efforts to help. “We are committed to our mission of helping disadvantaged youth during this extraordinary time.”

According to the foundation, $150,000 of the most recent round of rapid response grants will go to organizations that provide essential services to vulnerable communities.

Those organizations include: Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana, Covenant House, Café Reconcile, Café Hope, Liberty’s Kitchen, Youth Empowerment Project and Three Square Food Bank of Las Vegas.

When the COVID-19 outbreak started to take a drastic toll on the restaurant and hospitality industry, Emeril's foundation raised over $150,000 for nonprofits in Walton and Okaloosa Counties and awarded an additional $150,000 in grants to nonprofits that provide services for individuals with developmental disabilities in Greater Ft. Lauderdale/Miami Dade Counties.

In addition to the immediate grant funding, the foundation has collaborated with Emeril’s Homebase in New Orleans to provide weekly meals to youth in the community, as well as to his restaurant team and family.

The foundation predicted that the need for support will continue to grow and has allocated $125,000 in grants to be distributed this fall to help local hospitality industry workers.

The Emeril Lagasse Foundation has also shared its message with others to help raise awareness and join in its commitment to this essential industry.

"The foundation is proud to continue to work together with the community while navigating this difficult time," according to a press release.

Emeril's namesake organization was first founded in 2002 and seeks to "create opportunities to inspire, mentor and enable youth to reach their full potential through culinary, nutrition and arts education with a focus on life skills development."

The Emeril Lagasse Foundation has granted over $13.5 million to children’s charities to support culinary, nutrition and arts programs.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved



Arizona's attorney general has filed a lawsuit against Google, alleging the the company improperly collects users' location data and uses it for its advertising business.

"While Google users are led to believe they can opt-out of location tracking, the company exploits other avenues to invade personal privacy," Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in a statement.

"It’s nearly impossible to stop Google from tracking your movements without your knowledge or consent," he added. "This is contrary to the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act and even the most innovative companies must operate within the law."

Brnovich cited reporting from The Associated Press which found in a 2018 investigation that Google still collects location information even if users disable their location history. He said his office began investigating Google after the AP article was published in August 2018.

Today we filed a consumer fraud lawsuit against Google for deceptive and unfair practices used to obtain users’ location data, which Google then exploits for its lucrative advertising business.

— Mark Brnovich (@GeneralBrnovich) May 27, 2020

The nearly 50-page complaint alleges that Google's Android operating system is deceptive and opaque when it collects users' location information.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in the Maricopa County Superior Court. It seeks unspecified damages.

"The tactics Google deploys to surveil its users' locations -- including users in Arizona -- include willfully deceptive and unfair acts and practices within the meaning of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act," the lawsuit claims.

"Google has engaged in these deceptive and unfair acts and practices with the purpose of enhancing its ability to collect and profit from user location information," it added.

A spokesperson for Google said the lawsuit mischaracterizes its services.

"The attorney general and the contingency fee lawyers filing this lawsuit appear to have mischaracterized our services," Jose Castaneda, a Google spokesperson told ABC News in a statement. "We have always built privacy features into our products and provided robust controls for location data. We look forward to setting the record straight."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



Walmart is stepping into the rising resale market by partnering with leading recommerce platform thredUP.

On Wednesday, it was announced that this new partnership will give shoppers the opportunity to browse nearly 75,000 secondhand apparel items, including children's clothing, accessories, footwear and handbags from popular national brands directly on Walmart's website. The items being sold have been carefully evaluated and hand-selected by thredUP's professional buyers.

During these unprecedented times, many people are evolving in the ways they choose to shop, and Walmart's new initiative in the resale market aims to grow the company's assortment of top brands in addition to offering upcycled items they're looking for as part of their everyday shopping experience.

"We are excited to join forces with Walmart to power a sustainable, secondhand shopping experience unlike any other," Jenn Volk, director of product management for thredUP, said in a statement. "From Calvin Klein and Nike to Coach and Michael Kors, this digital partnership enhances Walmart's fashion offering with fresh brands at amazing prices that their customers will love."

In addition to the large assortment of secondhand items available, customers will also have access to Walmart's free shipping on orders of $35 or more as well as free returns. These are not services that were previously available through thredUP.

While this is an uncertain time, entering the resale market right now isn't a bad idea, according to experts.

"Resale is something that consumers are more than likely to gravitate towards as we move into recovery stages and consumers go back to earning regular wages, as opposed to these stimulated wages with extra in unemployment pay and stimulus checks," Marshal Cohen, market research group NPD's chief industry adviser for retail, told "GMA."

Marshal also pointed out, "Resale with a reputable partner is also very important as consumers are living in a more anti-viral society going forward -- so trusting the brand is very important."

According to thredUP's upcoming 2020 annual report, the brand shared with "GMA" that 70% of consumers have bought or are now willing to buy secondhand.

"ThredUP's Resale-as-a-Service platform was built to meet consumers where they are and make it easy for retailers to offer customizable resale experiences," thredUP CEO and co-founder James Reinhart said in a statement. "After spending the past decade becoming the world's largest resale marketplace, we are thrilled to join forces with the world's largest retailer to deliver a digital secondhand shopping experience to Walmart's troves of shoppers nationwide."

He continued, "More than ever, consumers are seeking value without sacrificing quality and style, and this partnership is yet another step toward a brighter, more circular fashion future."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


PaulBiryukov/iStockBy AARON KATERSKY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- On the Jersey Shore, gyms, along with tanning and laundry, are a third of the trinity of essential living. However, gyms are not considered essential businesses in New Jersey's coronavirus restrictions.

A Bellmawr gym is now suing the state for classifying it as nonessential.

"Plaintiff's business is absolutely essential to the health and well-being of its members and to the financial viability and health of its owners and employees," the lawsuit said.

New Jersey has faced other lawsuits involving coronavirus restrictions from gun stores, churches, a hair salon and a car wash. Three high school students in Toms River claimed the prohibition on in-person graduation ceremonies violated their right to free assembly. The governor has since said outdoor commencement ceremonies can take place beginning in July.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


By ABC News

Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images(WACO, Texas) -- Chip and Joanna Gaines have set new safety guidelines at Magnolia Market, their popular Central Texas food destination, ahead of its reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are ready to welcome you back starting June 1. While you've been gone, our team has been preparing to make your return as safe and enjoyable as possible," the Fixer Upper stars wrote in a statement titled "Together Again" on both their website and social media.

Magnolia Market, its restaurant, Magnolia Table, and its next-door neighbor, Silos Baking Co., will not operate at more than 50% capacity inside the buildings. Social distancing will be highly encouraged by six-foot separation floor indicators, one-way-flow floor plans, and contactless payment. All staff will have daily healthy screenings, and are required to wear masks and gloves at all times, according to the statement.

Although Texas is not requiring the use of facemasks, according to ABC affiliate KTRK, the Gaineses still urged guests to prioritize safety by wearing a mask and maintaining appropriate distance.

"The City of Waco does not require [masks], but we invite those who have a covering to please wear it while visiting us," read the website.

The Texas stay-at-home order was lifted on April 30 and, as of May 1, all restaurants, retail stores, movie theaters and malls are able to reopen at limited capacity, according to Gov. Greg Abbott.

Established in 2015, Magnolia Market and its restaurant counterpart, Magnolia Table, has become a popular tourist destination within Central Texas.

In 2019, "Magnolia Market reported 1,445,357 visitors, which is 27,795 visitors per week," Carla Pendergraft, the director of marketing for the Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau, told GMA.

"We are grateful to be a part of this community and will continue to do all we can to look out for one another. We look forward to seeing you in the days to come," said the Gaines' statement.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


courtneyk/iStockBy CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- Another 2.1 million more Americans filed for unemployment insurance last week, the Labor Department said Thursday.

This pushes the total number of U.S. workers who have filed jobless claims to 40 million over the last 10 weeks as the coronavirus pandemic brought much of the U.S. economy to a standstill.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


courtneyk/iStockBy KATIE KINDELAN, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- During the coronavirus pandemic, more than 38 million Americans have filed for unemployment insurance -- and for the first time in history, the nation's unemployment claims have a largely female, non-white face to them.

While the two previous biggest economic crises in U.S. history -- the Great Depression and the 2008 financial crisis -- affected men's jobs more than women's, the coronavirus pandemic is disproportionately impacting women in the workforce, data shows.

The bleak job numbers for women and the economic uncertainty women now face have put the American economy in a "shecession," according to C. Nicole Mason, president and chief executive of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a women-focused think tank.

"The way we think about work and women’s earnings is this idea of a 1950s Mad Men era where men are the primary breadwinners and women are stay-at-home, and any income they earn doesn’t really matter," Mason told ABC News' Good Morning America. "That’s just not the case and it hasn’t been our reality for a long time, so when women lose jobs, it not only impacts families, it impacts the economy as well."

Of the 20.5 million jobs lost in April, the most recent month for which data is available, women accounted for 55% of jobs lost, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The unemployment rate for adult women is now 15.5%, up from 3% in February. The unemployment rate is even higher for Hispanic adult women, at 20.2.%, and for black adult women, at 16.4%, according to BLS.

By comparison, the unemployment rate for adult men is currently 13%.

Why women are disproportionately impacted

Just a few months ago, in December, women marked a historic achievement when, for the first time in a decade, they surpassed men with the number of U.S. jobs held, according to the Department of Labor.

The reason why women are facing unprecedented unemployment rates during the coronavirus pandemic has both historical and current-day roots, experts say.

Women have long been relegated to service sector jobs, like hospitality, food services and retail -- industries that are now hit hardest by the coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions, data shows. In those jobs, women also face lower wages, which sets them up for economic uncertainty during a downturn, according to Mason.

"Even though women were more than 50% of the workforce, many of these jobs were not quality jobs or well-paying jobs with benefits, so many women were still living paycheck to paycheck," she said. "During the pandemic, we see that reality come into focus."

In addition, whether a woman is employed or not, the heavy domestic burden that women carry has been laid bare during this pandemic, with women taking on increased tasks at home and reporting even more stress, data shows.

From there, say experts, a hamster-wheel effect often results. Women are historically tasked with carrying the cognitive labor for household activities -- which now includes homeschooling for most parents -- and women already face a gender pay gap where they earn around 80 cents for each dollar their male coworkers make. When household and childcare duties increase, as they have during the pandemic, it's often the woman in opposite-sex couples who takes on the added burden -- which some justify because she is bringing less money into the household.

The demands of childcare placed on women has been brought to the forefront during the coronavirus pandemic as summer camps are canceled, daycare centers close and questions remain about whether schools will reopen in the fall.

"The thing that keeps me up at night is the childcare issue," said Mason. "If we don’t do something urgent and be really intentional about how we address it, then more women will leave the workforce. That’s just the bottom line."

When women do leave the workforce, whether because they lose their jobs or take time out for personal or family reasons such as childcare, they return to a trajectory of decreased pay over the course of their careers.

"Despite the fact that women were more than 50% of the workforce, employers have not really been responsive to the needs of working women, and it shows in this moment," said Mason. "We have to have an economy that when we recover doesn’t leave women behind."

A bright spot for change

Experts including Mason say one positive outcome that could come from this economic downturn is a real chance to make workplace and governmental policies that will help put women on equal footing in the workforce.

"I think women are stepping up and doing their part like they always do, but we as a society need to make sure that we’re supporting women so their careers won’t be stalled, so they don’t lose advancement opportunities and don't lose wages and earnings," said Mason. "This moment provides a real opportunity for the nation, for employers to really think about not only how to bring women into the workforce but how to keep them there."

For one thing, the stay-at-home orders brought on by the coronavirus pandemic have shown many companies that options like remote working and flexible schedules -- long seen as ways to keep women in the workforce -- can work across the board.

"I hope we see that as possible and they create a way for us to institutionalize it," Mason said of adding more flexibility into the workplace. "It’s crazy that women are half of the workforce and we’ve never thought about, well, what would make women stay in the workforce? We know that women have very specific needs in the workforce and it’s not a special accommodation."

The economic slowdown could also give women a chance to pursue their demands in the workforce, according to former Wall Street CEO Sallie Krawcheck, the cofounder and CEO of Ellevest, a digital investment platform for women.

"If we want this to change, nobody cares about this as much as we do," Krawcheck told GMA. "Just like 100 years ago, nobody gave us a vote. We went out and marched and we got ourselves a vote."

"In business, nobody is giving us the CEO position so we have to make a conscious decision that we’re going to change things," she said. "Maybe the conscious decision is that we’re going to get out and march over a mandated paid maternity leave."

"For women and people of color who are in more senior positions, hire more women and people of color," Krawcheck recommended. "We should be buying from each other. We should be investing in each other."

On the personal finance front, Krawcheck points out that the pandemic has shown again that women need to be more proactive about creating their own financial safety net.

"We talk all the time about the gender pay gap, but there is also a gender wealth gap, which is 32 cents for a man’s dollar," she said. "What we are learning now, as if we didn’t know it before, is that we have to take care of ourselves. As women, we have put off things like financial planning and investing."

What happens next

A full economic recovery in the U.S. will not come quickly and it will likely be even slower for women, according to both Mason and Krawcheck, who note that, "when the world moves backwards, women move backwards more."

Industries like retail and hospitality that have a majority of women employees may return differently, and competition in the job market will be stiff as not all jobs return, the experts noted.

Some women may also be burdened by debt, overwhelmed with a lack of childcare options, or facing institutional obstacles when it comes to returning to the workforce.

For women who are able to take a step back from their situation and make some changes, here are five tips from Mason and Krawcheck:

1. Do not carry the domestic burden alone.

"That is a very practical thing a woman can do to change things," said Mason. "For some families, they’ve not really had the conversation about how to share the load, so being able to communicate effectively about what it means to participate equally and share responsibilities in the home is really important."

"Make it a conversation," she said.

2. Pay off credit card debt first.

"Even if it means you don’t have an emergency fund, you have to pay off your credit card debt first," said Krawcheck. "If there is an emergency and you don’t have savings, you can use a credit card."

After credit card debt is paid off, Krawcheck recommends saving three to six months of take-home pay in a savings account.

3. Spend 15 minutes a day looking at your finances.

Spending 15 minutes each day putting together a budget and looking at your finances will "give you such a leg up on the other side of this," according to Krawcheck.

"If you can, getting yourself in financial shape where you’re bringing in more than you’re spending, and then getting yourself ready to invest or buy a home, that’s the way to build wealth," she said.

"Whether you have a job or have lost your job, look at what you’re spending money on that isn’t important to you," added Krawcheck. Take a step back. Get in touch with what matters."

4. Network and learn new skills.

The unique circumstances of the pandemic can be a time to step back and examine whether the work you are doing or were doing is what you really want to do, according to both Krawcheck and Mason.

It can also be a time to learn new skills or get more training, two tactics that will help you stand out in a crowded job market, the experts note.

"We saw this in the 2008 recession, that people did return to post-secondary education and pursued other kinds of degrees and training to make themselves more competitive," said Mason.

"We are sort of in the golden age of online education where you’re seeing classes be offered for free or at discounts," added Krawcheck. "Learning to code, this is the time. Learning about marketing analytics, this is the time."

Another way to stand out in a crowded job market is to "network, network, network, network," recommends Krawcheck.

"This is not a time you’ll likely be getting a job by seeing it on LinkedIn and being one of 6,000 applicants. The supply and demand is out of balance right now," she said. "Network now so you have some forward momentum."

5. Be kind to yourself.

"It’s really literally impossible to work 40 hours a week and also soldier 100% of the caretaking of families," said Mason. "[Women need to] cut themselves some slack and possibly find time for self-care, even if it’s just taking a 10-minute walk around the block or a longer shower. Just give ourselves a break."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved


MaximFesenko/iStockBy CLARA MCMICHAEL, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- On a weekend in mid-March, Marissa Molnar was bartending at Hog Fathers BBQ in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, a small town 40 minutes outside of Pittsburgh. That night, the mood in the bar was dampened by worries of coronavirus creeping into communities across the country and fears of a national shutdown.

The bar's patrons, many of them health care workers from a nearby hospital, told Molnar how crazy their jobs had been lately. She described the mood as panicky. She closed down the bar before midnight and went home to her 1-year-old daughter.

The next day, she got laid off.

Nightlife, which consists of clubs, bars and late-night restaurants, is an industry where businesses are often poorly financed and workers are especially vulnerable. In April alone, according to the Department of Labor, 7.7 million people working in the leisure and hospitality sector lost their jobs. As the season moves into summer and states start to reopen, those who support and are supported by nightlife will be forced to confront fissures in the industry that existed long before the pandemic.

Molnar recently reentered the workforce after a pregnancy so difficult she was unable to work. During her pregnancy, she went on unemployment. When that ran out, she qualified for welfare and was on government assistance for about three months. She said she never got a stimulus check due to a complication with child support.

She doesn't qualify for unemployment now because she didn't work during the right quarter. She's put her bills in backpay. She tried to work again at the bar, which was accepting takeout orders, but there were so many workers willing to come in they were placed on a rotation. Molnar said she only ended up working a day or two. As much as she would have loved to work full time, she said, she couldn't because her daughter's too young and childcare is too expensive.

"It's rough because I have bills that I need to pay," she said. "But at the same time, there's no work now."

She worries that once things open back up, there will be another economic crash after people spend their stimulus checks and unemployment money. Bartenders and servers rely heavily on tips, and Molnar fears that even when people do go out for food and drinks again they may have less for gratuities.

Andreina Seijas is a teaching fellow and doctoral candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Design who's researched urban nightlife for over a decade.

According to Seijas, nighttime workers, in addition to relying heavily on tips, also are vulnerable because of unfair guaranteed compensation and limited access to affordable transportation at odd hours. Seijas has heard of musicians playing in restaurants who get paid with dinner or workers using scooters to get home at 3 a.m. because they can't afford to use ride-share apps. The pandemic has made their situations worse.

"Once bars, restaurants and clubs reopen, these workers will be at the front lines," Seijas said. "They will be the ones whose lives will be in danger."

In some cases, nightlife workers have taken jobs, for now, as essential workers.

Sean Anthony is an Atlanta-based DJ. At first, he heard of venues on the West Coast that were starting to cancel events. Then, a booking that Anthony had in Boston put him on standby. As COVID-19 spread, his gigs were canceled entirely, and he was told that hopefully they'd be rescheduled for October. His last event was March 14. Meanwhile, he's picked up a part-time job at IKEA.

Many in the profession are trying to reinvent themselves and their brands. Innovators have been throwing parties online where guests can donate to the hosts, bars are offering cocktails to-go and some performers have been throwing concerts on balconies, to maintain social distance. But these stopgaps simply aren't generating enough revenue.

As summer begins, many businesses will struggle.

Norman Houston works as a club promoter and wedding planner from Houston. He said that in late February and early March, many of those in the city's nightlife scene began to encourage social distancing. Fewer people went out to the clubs. He arrived early to wipe down surfaces and made sure patrons were offered hand sanitizer at the door.

Houston said businesses have already missed out on revenue from big events, like Pride. He worries about other events further into the year, like Juneteenth and Fourth of July weekend.

"It's a lot of people coming in from all over and people traveling from all over the U.S. for these weekends," Houston said. "They pack out hotels and everything like that. So it's a kind of ripple effect when this happened."

Julio Zambrano, a venue owner from Miami, describes himself as a "nightlife entrepreneur." He has worked in the industry for 25 years and now runs a podcast where he offers advice to up-and-comers. He said the pandemic took businesses by surprise.

"Some people [were] thinking it may be the next 15 days ... two weeks, or so," Zambrano said. "Not thinking it was going to be this long."

Relief is hard to find, especially from the federal government. In April, the National Independent Venue Association, consisting of more than 1,600 club owners, petitioned Congress for financial aid. Last week, in a rare bipartisan effort, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, asking that coronavirus relief legislation include independent live music venues.

Even as restrictions loosen and states phase out shelter-in-place orders, nightlife businesses will be among the last to reopen. Many states will enforce strict capacity limits and social distancing for venues, which will bring a host of new difficulties.

"Most venues operate on 125% capacity to 200% capacity to make it," Zambrano said. "So I don't know what 25% capacity is going to look like in the books."

Industry leaders have suggested solutions to some of these problems, ideas such as spreading out nightlife hubs instead of having them clustered in high-density areas, loosening licensing regulations, extending closing times and using outdoor space to accommodate more people while keeping social distance.

"The truth is that we don't need to be packed like sardines into a bar or a restaurant to experience quality nightlife," Seijas wrote in a paper about how the industry can be saved.

Nightlife has always been resilient, and while the pandemic has slowed the business, Seijas doesn't think it will be down forever.

"There are things that will never change," Seijas said. "I don't think we, as human beings, can live without the social. ... It's part of who we are."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved



(NEW YORK) -- Twitter's new fact-checking label has been thrust into the spotlight after it was used to mark one of President Donald Trump's tweets as potentially misleading.

Here's what to know about how the new labels from the social media giant work to identify false claims:

A Twitter spokesperson told ABC News that Trump's two tweets from Tuesday "contain potentially misleading information about voting processes and have been labeled to provide additional context around mail-in ballots."

"This decision is in line with the approach we shared earlier this month," the spokesperson added, linking to a blog post by Twitter's Yoel Roth, head of site integrity, and Nick Pickles, director of Global Public Policy Strategy and Development, from when the feature was announced on May 11.

There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed. The Governor of California is sending Ballots to millions of people, anyone.....

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2020

While Trump's tweets aren't in violation of Twitter's rules, as they don't directly try to dissuade people from voting, they do contain misleading information about the voting process, specifically mail-in ballots, according to Twitter.

The fact-checking labels were rolled out earlier this month as a way to combat misinformation related to COVID-19, Roth and Pickles wrote. Initially, the labels were mostly used to link back to medical authorities' information about the virus when people posted false claims or misleading information.

The labels appear below a tweet and link to a page curated by Twitter staff or "external trusted sources" with more information about the claims made in a tweet.

For Trump's tweet, with unsubstantiated claims about mail-in ballots being fraudulent, the label took Twitter users to a page with links to media reports and bulleted points such as "fact-checkers say there is no evidence that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud."

Initially, Twitter rolled out the feature with three categories of labels. They included "Misleading information" (things that haven't been confirmed to be false or misleading by experts), "Disputed claims" (statements where the truth or credibility is contested or unknown) and "Unverified claims" (information that is unconfirmed at the time it is shared).

"Moving forward, we may use these labels and warning messages to provide additional explanations or clarifications in situations where the risks of harm associated with a Tweet are less severe but where people may still be confused or misled by the content," Roth and Pickles said. "This will make it easier to find facts and make informed decisions about what people see on Twitter."

Tuesday's labeling of Trump's tweets on mail-in ballots marked the first time the fact-checking labels have been used on the president's tweets.

The president did not take it well, and on Wednesday threatened that Republicans will try to "close" down social media platforms that "silence conservative voices."

Roth and Pickles said they identify tweets using "internal systems" that aim to ensure the platform is not amplifying the tweets with these labels and detecting highly visible content quickly. The company also said it is relying on "trusted partners to identify content that is likely to result in offline harm" though it did not specify who the partners were or how they fact-checked tweets.

The move comes at a time when social media giants have faced growing criticism for their role in the spread of misinformation online.

"Serving the public conversation remains our overarching mission," Roth and Pickles wrote, "and we’ll keep working to build tools and offer context so that people can find credible and authentic information on Twitter."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


FrozenShutter/iStockBy GENEVIEVE SHAW BROWN, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Walt Disney World has announced a phased re-open approach for its parks.

Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom Park are targeting July 11, 2020 as an opening date. Epcot and Hollywood Studios are targeting July 15, 2020.

The Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force met May 27 to hear the plans put forth by Walt Disney World and SeaWorld.

The plans were approved by the task force. Now they need approval from Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Jim MacPhee, Senior Vice President of Operations at Walt Disney World Resort made the virtual presentation on behalf of Disney. The proposed opening will take place in phases and will require a reservation for park entry to limit park capacity. There will be physical distancing; guests and cast members will be required to wear face masks; and plexiglass at registers and other places where distancing is difficult will be installed.

Parades and fireworks will temporarily suspended to enable distancing. Character meet and greets as well as playgrounds are also temporarily suspended. Temperature checks will be conducted.

SeaWorld also presented an opening plan at the May 27 meeting. The theme park proposed June 11 as the public reopening date. Face masks, staggered seating, social distancing in lines are all part of the proposed plan. At rides, there will be hand sanitizer both as guests board and deboard.

At the SeaWorld water parks -- Discovery Cove and Aquatica -- there will be increased sanitation at high-touch surfaces like rafts. Lounge chairs will be spaced out.

Universal Orlando has approval to reopen for the public on June 5.

The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Morsa Images/iStockBy MORGAN KORN, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The Great Recession nearly brought the automotive industry to its knees. A decade later, carmakers are reckoning with a new threat: the novel coronavirus, an unforeseen force that has halted production, disrupted sales and caused financial pain to an industry that was able to bounce back from its nadir in 2008.

The majority of automakers are better positioned to withstand the economic headwinds this time around, according to Jeff Schuster, president of LMC Automotive's Americas operations and global vehicle forecasts division.

"It's more challenging the smaller you are and the fewer resources you have," he told ABC News. "The exposure to European markets is a risk right now. The declines were deeper in Europe and there is no real recovery path yet."

He pointed to two brands that have a heavy exposure to Europe: Jaguar Land Rover, the largest automaker in the U.K., and Aston Martin, the British luxury sports car maker. Both marques were burning through cash before the pandemic shut down factories and forced the industry to come to a screeching halt.

Aston Martin, which is still expected to deliver orders of its first-ever DBX SUV this summer, reported a first-quarter loss of $146 million after sales fell by nearly one-third. The company's revenues dropped 9% in 2019, pressuring executives to seek additional equity financing including a $663 million capital injection from investors and its new chairman, Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll.

Aston Martin said the business is being "reset" this year and a full-year outlook will no longer be provided because of the "uncertainty surrounding the duration and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy." Aston Martin on Tuesday replaced Andy Palmer, who was named CEO in 2014, with Tobias Moers, the chief executive of Mercedes-AMG.

Jaguar Land Rover, which is owned by India's Tata Motors, is reportedly in talks to borrow more than $1.2 billion through the U.K.’s emergency coronavirus lending program, according to Bloomberg. The carmaker launched a restructuring plan last year to reduce costs and improve cash flow.

Michelle Krebs, a Detroit-based executive analyst for Autotrader Group, said Japanese carmaker Nissan Motor Co. was already in a "tough situation" and could possibly close plants in the wake of plunging sales. Nissan posted dismal earnings results in February, with the fourth-quarter of 2019 marking the company's first quarterly loss in 11 years.

"We have not announced any changes to our production plans for North America," a spokesperson for Nissan told ABC News.

According to Krebs, "If an automaker went into the pandemic in a weak situation, it will be difficult to survive or crawl your way out of it."

The Japanese government will likely bail out its hurting carmakers, she said, but U.S. carmakers should not expect the same treatment from the Trump administration.

"There will be no bailouts for General Motors or Ford -- they have lots of cash," she said. After the financial crisis "they immediately started reserving cash and taping into credit lines," she noted.

Also, unlike now, "automakers kept building cars during the Great Recession," she pointed out. "Never, ever did the biggest car plants in the world shut down at the same time."

Several members of Michigan's congressional delegation, including Reps. Debbie Dingell and Fred Upton, are mobilizing bipartisan support on Capitol Hill for an aid package that would bolster the auto industry if the sales slowdown persists. The lawmakers circulated a draft letter, reported by The Washington Post, that says in part, "Liquidity is challenging, particularly for suppliers, and it will be necessary to support demand for some time to ensure a meaningful recovery. In some regards, challenges the industry face exceed those of the 2008 financial meltdown."

GM said it earned $294 million for the first quarter though state lockdowns and factory shutdowns will reduce future earnings. Ford Motor Co. posted a $2 billion net loss between January and March that it chalked up to the coronavirus, and projects a record net loss of $5 billion in the current quarter.

"We believe that we’re positioned well to manage through this because we’ve taken swift actions to preserve liquidity,” GM chief financial officer Dhivya Suryadevara told reporters in early May.

U.S. auto sales plummeted 47% in April from a year ago. Krebs and Schuster agree that April was likely the bottom and sales will gradually pick up as incentives on new vehicles continue. Zero finance deals surged to an all-time record high in April, according to online car shopping guide Edmunds, with 25.8% of purchases financed at 0% compared to 4.7% in March and 3.6% in February. Automakers are also extending finance terms to 84 months and delaying first payments for up to 90 days.

"These incentives have been a lifeline for automakers," Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds' executive director of insights, told ABC News. "They won't end anytime soon but the incentives will taper off as the year goes on."

Caldwell was predicting new car sales of 16.9 million units before the pandemic struck. That number is in flux now, she said, adding that automakers, especially GM and Ford, could eek out small gains.

"Sales have been quite strong for a couple of years which has been helpful for automakers to retain a level of profitability," she said.

Schuster said robust sales of pickup trucks and the positive response to incentives convinced him to revise his yearly sales target to 13.3 million units versus 12.9 million. His original forecast for sales was 16.8 million.

"It's hard to think of any month being worse than April," he said. "I feel more positive about the industry than even a week ago, even a month ago."

He added, "The industry as a whole is pretty liquid and can survive most things until the end of the year."

Eddie Alterman, chief brand officer for Hearst Autos, said consolidation among marques could be one outcome of the pandemic. He also suspects some Americans who rely on ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft to get around may decide to forgo these services for a new vehicle, a potential "conquest" for struggling manufacturers. Chinese automakers like Geely may also look to add to their growing portfolios, he noted.

"You'll see more collaboration as costs of hardware rise -- especially in the electric vehicle realm -- and all kinds of strategic alliances," he told ABC News. "The industry is at an inflection point."

Automakers across the world have reopened factories this month, though not at full production. Bentley Motors said production resumed at 50% capacity and will ramp up in phases as part of the British company's "Come Back Stronger" program that includes 250 wide-ranging hygiene and social distancing guidelines.

Rolls-Royce, the 114-year-old maker of six-figure SUVs and ultra-lux sedans, has also brought its workforce back online but is operating at one shift a day, not two.

"In parallel with every luxury manufacturer around the world, our order bank was severely impacted in the initial stages of the pandemic," Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös told ABC News by email. "However, I can confirm that we are receiving new orders from customers, including those in countries that have already passed the COVID-19 peak."

Italian sports car maker Ferrari slashed its 2020 core earnings forecast and extended its wait list for cars to 12 months or longer.

“The second quarter will be very weak,” CEO Louis Camilleri conceded to analysts in early May.

The company still anticipates a profit of more than $1 billion this year.

Krebs said automakers will ultimately have to make tough calls on where to invest now that revenue has dried up and demand for new vehicles could abate if the economy worsens.

"The pandemic will have permanent changes on the industry," she said.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved


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