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Marccophoto/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Barbers aren't in their shops and people are staying home, which means you may be in need of a haircut.

Thanks to one inventive venture, the scissors are in your hands but the styling comes from a seasoned pro who walks you through the whole cut.

Greg Isenberg launched You Probably Need a Haircut to provide men with the tools to snip their locks and get a fresh look at an affordable price, with the help of a world-class barber via video chat.

The startup founder told ABC News his best words of wisdom for curious clients looking to take haircutting into their own hands: "You got this."

"If you can spare the $18, someone from You Probably Need a Haircut will handhold you through this. If you cannot, go very slowly and always cut less than more," he suggested.

The tech growth adviser and product strategist has lived Montreal, San Francisco and Brooklyn, and said, "I've been lucky to have had my hair cut by some top barbers who have become friends."

So as the COVID-19 outbreak sidelined stylists from their salons and shops, and more people started to stay home, he tapped into his vast network to set the idea in motion.

"Initially, I just called them up and they were excited to support. Since we've launched on Sunday, we've probably become the busiest virtual barbershop on the internet," Isenberg said.

"Many of their friends from their salons/barbershops have since been onboarded," he said of his team, about two dozen barbers.

What I learned building https://t.co/JzekbtGThl

Launched on Sunday, now is the busiest virtual barbershop on the internet

- Zoom Squarespace = the pandemic startup MVP
- People yearning to support other people
- 100% of people have given $5 tips

Support is a beautiful thing

— Greg Isenberg (@gregisenberg) April 8, 2020

Although Isenberg said Jim Morrison's words echoed through his head -- "Some of my worst mistakes in life have been haircuts" -- the entrepreneur said he had to give it a try.

"I was very weary to do my own hair, but having seen such great results from You Probably Need a Haircut, I had to do it," he said. "And I have to say, it looks pretty damn good."

One of the freelance barbers, Montreal-based David LeGault, said, "Initially, when Greg came to me and asked me to give people virtual haircuts, I thought he was crazy."

"I just gave one to a 19-year-old girl who gave [her] boyfriend a haircut. Let's just say I turned what would have been a 1 out of 10 haircut to an 8 out of 10 haircut. That's well worth the $18," LeGault said.

For now, You Probably Need a Haircut is tailored to men, but Isenberg said they will look to add hairstylists for women soon.

Tips from the pros


If you've grabbed a set of shears or buzzers, one freelance barber told ABC News it's important for guys to "follow the head shape" and work in a natural line with the curvature of it.

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pabradyphoto/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The Federal Reserve has announced a $600 billion lending initiative designed for mid-sized businesses to ensure the easy flow of credit through the newly unveiled Main Street Lending program as part of a $2.3 trillion funding effort to minimize the financial impact of the coronavirus.

The Fed is offering four-year loans to companies employing up to 10,000 workers and with revenues of less than $2.5 billion per year. The terms of those loans will also permit principal and interest payments to be deferred for a year.

"Our country's highest priority must be to address this public health crisis, providing care for the ill and limiting the further spread of the virus," Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in Thursday's announcement. "The Fed's role is to provide as much relief and stability as we can during this period of constrained economic activity, and our actions today will help ensure that the eventual recovery is as vigorous as possible."

The Main Street Lending Program funds are slated to come through the nation’s top banks, which still require an application for those loans.

There’s no data yet as to how large those loans will be and whether their limitations will be similar to the Paycheck Protection Program.

The Federal Reserve’s action today was well received by the U.S. stock market, which immediately rallied at the news. European markets closed higher ahead of the long Easter weekend.

The Fed’s move marks a stark contrast to the response of the central bank to the 2008 financial crisis, as quantitative easing was seen as too partial to the big banks and Wall Street, as opposed to the American public.

The Treasury Department on Tuesday asked Congress for $250 billion in additional funding for small business loans, which Congress is expected to vote on in the coming days.

“We want to assure everybody, if you don’t get a loan this week, you’ll get a loan next week or the following week,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in an interview with CNBC. “The money will be there.”

Banks, however, are struggling to keep up with the demand to assist thousands of small businesses vying for billions in government-funded loans.

Concerns grew that Wells Fargo would stop issuing loans until the Fed stepped in and said it would ease restrictions on its overall assets. Wells Fargo came under fire from the Fed in 2018 for creating millions of illegitimate bank accounts without the knowledge of their customers.

As a punitive measure, the Federal Reserve ordered Wells Fargo to keep its overall assets capped to $1.95 trillion in 2018, until it improved its overall banking operations.

“Due to the extraordinary disruptions from the coronavirus, the Federal Reserve Board on Wednesday announced that it will temporarily and narrowly modify the growth restriction on Wells Fargo so that it can provide additional support to small businesses,” the Fed said in a statement.

Citibank, which earlier in the week said it was not accepting loan applications, said today in a statement that it “will be reaching out to existing Citi Small Business Banking clients in phases” to begin the process.

Amid all the conversation regarding loans, focus now turns to the status of an additional coronavirus stimulus package.

“In the situation we face today, many borrowers will benefit from these programs, as will the overall economy,” said Powell in a webinar with the Brookings Institution. “But there will be entities of various kinds that need direct fiscal support rather than a loan they would struggle to repay.”

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iStock/Kwangmoozaa(NEW YORK) -- Restaurants have been among those hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. At a time when the future of the foodservice industry feels uncertain, one chef has called for the government to "listen to the people on the front lines of feeding people."

Celebrity chef and food advocate Tom Colicchio, owner of the restaurant and hospitality group Crafted Hospitality, was one of many New York City restaurateurs who made the difficult decision to close his kitchens and lay off over 400 of employees due to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

Now, he's helping to lead the charge to provide desperately needed aid through the Independent Restaurant Coalition to food service workers, small business owners and their communities.

"We started it about three or four weeks ago when we realized the enormity of the problem that we were facing and we knew there was a stimulus package that was going to help small businesses," Colicchio said on ABC News' "Pandemic: What You Need to Know."

"We found groups in Chicago that was working on the same issue. We found groups throughout the South and we put all these coalitions together and very quickly we hired a lobbying team, a [communications] team, and we are having direct conversations with members of Congress to let them know the issues that we have in the restaurant industry," Colicchio said. "And also -- to let [Congress] know that the -- CARES Act -- doesn't really work for the restaurant industry right now."

He said he's also trying to get the message to Congress that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act "doesn't really work for the restaurant industry right now."

The CARES Act provides the single largest economic relief package in U.S. history, and will include direct payments for qualifying individuals as well as loans and loan forgiveness for small businesses.

Even with the government's initial steps toward relief, Colicchio explained that "this is going to be tough" for the hospitality industry, which lost hundreds of thousands of jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

"This is not going to be easy. I still suspect that at least 50% of the restaurants will not get open. Then the problem with that is you're going to have a lot of vacancies on ground floor spaces," he said. "Restaurants have become such a part of our culture, even the small local restaurants that we have, and if they're not there when we come out of this, where are we going to go to celebrate and blow off steam. Where are we going to go together with each other? I'm really, really concerned."

Colicchio said he's been asked repeatedly when he's going to open his restaurants again. He said this isn't the right question to be asking.

"I think the question is when does the public feel confident and feel secure enough to start gathering again with groups of people? It doesn't really matter when we can open up," he said. "A lot of restaurants are trying to fill a gap by doing takeout or delivery and that's really not moving the needle."

Colicchio, who is a councilmember for the non-profit food rescue organization City Harvest, said there are ways to deliver food to communities in need if "restaurants have the proper funding through the government."

He spoke of New York Sen. Nydia Velazquez's proposed Community Meals Fund bill, which would grant nonprofits $500,000 to partner with small and mid-sized restaurants to prepare and distribute food to vulnerable communities.

"There's a role that we can all play and it's just getting a lot of cooperation and we need smart government right now," he said. "They should listen to small business owners. They should listen to the people on the front lines of feeding people and people who are taking care of people, because they're the ones who know how to get this done."



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oonal/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The coronavirus pandemic has quickly evolved from a health care crisis to a financial one, shuttering businesses, upending industries and sending financial markets reeling.

Here's the latest news on how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting the economy. For more on financial resources available during the pandemic, click here.

Here's how the day is unfolding. Please refresh for updates.

Markets tick up slightly Thursday

U.S. financial markets closed up on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 285 points or 1.2%. The S&P 500 rose 1.5% and the Nasdaq was up by 0.8%.

The slight rally comes despite distressing employment filing figures released early Thursday. News of further Fed intervention and ongoing signs that the pandemic may be plateauing in parts of the U.S., however, may have quelled some anxiety among investors.

The best performer for the Dow Thursday was JPMorgan Chase, which saw gains of more than 9%.

After weeks of unprecedented volatility, U.S. equity markets saw some stabilization this week.

Fed to provide $2.3 trillion in loans

The Federal Reserve announced additional action on Thursday to help support the coronavirus-battered economy, saying it would provide up to $2.3 trillion in loans.

The funding will assist "households and employers of all sizes," the agency said in a statement. It is the latest in a series of measures that have included slashing interest rates and launching a $700 billion quantitative easing program.

"Our country's highest priority must be to address this public health crisis, providing care for the ill and limiting the further spread of the virus," Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell said in a statement. "The Fed's role is to provide as much relief and stability as we can during this period of constrained economic activity, and our actions today will help ensure that the eventual recovery is as vigorous as possible."

The Main Street Lending Program that the Fed launched Thursday stems in part from the CARES act passed by lawmakers in late March.

In a webinar Thursday with the Brookings Institute, Powell said he believes an economic rebound can be "robust" as the economy was in good shape before the pandemic and due to the large amount of cash and credit being pumped into it now.

"In the situation we face today, many borrowers will benefit from these programs, as will the overall economy," Powell said. "But there will be entities of various kinds that need direct fiscal support rather than a loan they would struggle to repay."

Pandemic could plunge half a billion people into poverty, Oxfam warns

A new report on Thursday from the nonprofit group Oxfam warned that the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic could push half a billion people into poverty unless action is taken to support developing countries.

The organization urged for an economic rescue package "for all" ahead of the meetings between the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and G20 finance ministers scheduled for next week.

The report cited research from King's College London and the Australian National University.

 

#COVID19 LATEST: Half a billion people could be pushed into poverty by coronavirus.https://t.co/xaywj0CN9I#InequalityVirus pic.twitter.com/CZM0xTTclG

— Oxfam International (@Oxfam) April 8, 2020

 

"The devastating economic fallout of the pandemic is being felt across the globe. But for poor people in poor countries, who are already struggling to survive, there are almost no safety nets to stop them falling into poverty," Jose Maria Vera, Oxfam International's interim executive director, said in a statement.

"G20 Finance Ministers, the IMF and World Bank must give developing countries an immediate cash injection to help them bail out poor and vulnerable communities," Vera added. "They must cancel all developing country debt payments for 2020 and encourage other creditors to do the same, and issue at least US$1 trillion of Special Drawing Rights."

White House setting up additional task force with economic focus

The White House is preparing to announce a second coronavirus task force -- this one focused on reopening the U.S. economy, two senior administration officials and a person familiar with the discussions told ABC News.

This task force will include Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow and other top administration officials, plus additional people from the private sector, sources said.

While the president would not give a date of opening up the economy, the economic task force plans to focus on ways to reopen a majority of the country by April 30, the day to which Trump extended the administration's guidelines on social distancing.

6.6 million more Americans file for unemployment


An additional 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Thursday's figure adds to the some 10 million people who have already applied for unemployment insurance amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced non-essential businesses to close.

This means in just three weeks more than 16 million people have filed weekly jobless claims.

Just a few months ago, the unemployment rate in the U.S. was near a 50-year low.

"The unrelenting weekly deluge of UI [unemployment insurance] claims shows how abruptly the coronavirus outbreak has plunged the labor market into crisis," Glassdoor Senior Economist Daniel Zhao said in a commentary Thursday. "In its first month alone, the coronavirus crisis is poised to exceed any comparison to the Great Recession."

Zhao added that "the new normal" for unemployment claims "will be the canary in the coal mine for how long effects of the crisis will linger for the millions of newly unemployed Americans."

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KLH49/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- An additional 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Thursday's figure adds to the some 10 million people that have already applied for unemployment insurance amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced non-essential businesses across the country to close.

This means in just three weeks more than 16 million people have filed weekly jobless claims.

Some analysts say the number of claims will only get worse as businesses remain shuttered and the pandemic continues to clobber the U.S. labor market.

"This week’s unemployment insurance claims are yet another indication of the recessionary dynamics created by the coronavirus pandemic," Moody’s Investor Services Senior Vice President Robard Williams said Thursday.

"The stimulus from the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve will soften the shock to some degree," Williams added. "But with business restrictions and closures still in place, the coming weeks will likely reveal more people facing income and job losses, further trimming household spending and economic activity in the second quarter.”

The unprecedented influx in applications has created a number of issues for those in dire need of benefits, and Americans across the country report ongoing struggles in applying for unemployment insurance.

The service industry was among the hardest-hit by the pandemic, the DOL said last week. Other industries that have been heavily impacted include health care/social assistance, manufacturing, retail and construction.

Just a few months ago, the unemployment rate in the U.S. was near a 50-year low.

"The unrelenting weekly deluge of UI [unemployment insurance] claims shows how abruptly the coronavirus outbreak has plunged the labor market into crisis," Glassdoor's Senior Economist Daniel Zhao said in a commentary Thursday. "In its first month alone, the coronavirus crisis is poised to exceed any comparison to the Great Recession."

Zhao added that "the new normal" for unemployment claims "will be the canary in the coal mine for how long effects of the crisis will linger for the millions of newly unemployed Americans."

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glegorly/iStock(NEW YORK) -- When Alex Rasky was forced to shut down his family-owned retail location in Florida, he quickly realized he would have to file for unemployment. It took time and patience, but he thought he had done everything right.

"I applied through Florida's website on March 20," he told ABC News. "Fast forward to today, my status is still pending."

Rasky says he cannot get in touch with anyone at Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity to check his application status -- and with the birth of his first child expected next month, Rasky is worried.

"We're going on three weeks with zero income," said Rasky. "The world in the state that it's in is scary enough, but adding this financial fiasco to it all is extremely stressful."

Rasky was one of over 70,000 Floridians who applied for unemployment that week. The following week, over 270,000 more Floridians applied. As of Thursday morning, more than 15 million Americans have applied for unemployment in the span of three weeks, a record high.

The unprecedented influx in applications has already created a number of issues for those in dire need of benefits.

The DEO, like many other state labor departments, is overwhelmed. Numerous reports of its website crashing and its phone lines ringing empty are leaving people who desperately need unemployment benefits in limbo.

"We need help in Florida; people need to know what's going on here," said Rasky. "There are those who have yet to successfully apply for unemployment, and others who continue to wait for their application to be approved."

"We were actually in the process of filing bankruptcy," said Dani Priebe, a Florida resident whose husband Paul filed for unemployment about two weeks ago. "We had used up our entire savings to pay a lawyer to get ourselves out of debt, wipe the slate clean and start fresh ... and then this pandemic hit."

Paul worked in restaurant management before he was laid off like many others due to COVID-19. He successfully applied for unemployment about three weeks ago.

"Filing for us wasn't as difficult as what I'm seeing others have gone through," said Dani. "The problem is that his application has been pending ever since."

Dani works in restaurant management as well and says her paycheck is currently her family's only source of income. Her hours have been drastically cut, and she says the 16 hours she works won't be enough to feed her family of five. Her family has applied for food stamps.

"You're allowed to go in and file for underemployment -- and I have been trying," said Dani, adding that the website crashes before she's ever able to apply. "And you can't call because that's pointless -- you never get through. There have been times I want to throw my computer, my phone, because it's so frustrating."

Danielle Hopson was a cocktail waitress in Delray Beach, Florida, before she was laid off due to COVID-19. Like Rasky and the Priebes, Hopson thought she'd done everything right.

"I applied for unemployment March 13 and have had no type of information sent to me about processing, how much I will be receiving or if I was even approved," Hopson told ABC News. "You cannot get ahold of anyone to speak to as the phone lines are constantly down; the website is even worse than it was before."

Hopson said the thought of not having any income for the next few weeks is "terrifying and debilitating."

"I have phone bills, electric bills, cable bills and groceries I am pinching pennies for," said Hopson. "I just had to apply for food stamps, something that I never thought I would have to do."

Hopson is grateful, however, that she was at least able to apply online. This week, hundreds of people risked exposure to the virus by venturing to locations offering paper unemployment applications in Hialeah, Florida.

"I saw that they are handing [applications] out at places, which are creating long lines with people close to each other, which is not sticking to the social distancing [guidelines] for COVID-19," said Hopson. "We need to get the word out about this because the people of Florida desperately need help, something needs to happen now."

Ginny Baker, a recently unemployed call service worker, is 58 years old. She said the DEO website crashed halfway through her application, leaving her facing the possibility of having to pick up a paper application.

"I wouldn't go," said Baker. "I am desperate for money, sure -- but I don't think it's a good idea right now."

Florida is far from the only state labor department being inundated with calls and website traffic. ABC News has followed Arkansas resident Carlton Oakes since his struggle to apply for unemployment benefits when he was abruptly laid off in March.

Since his initial attempts, Oakes was finally able to file, but said he is not receiving the right amount of money. His wife, Michelle, said that "the math doesn't add up at all."

"We've emailed the office at least four times," Oakes said. "We've also tried calling and can't get through to a live person."

The Oakes said they've reached out to Gov. Asa Hutchison's office, but have received nothing more than an automatic reply.

States are beginning to roll out the unemployment benefits included in the $2.2 trillion relief package passed by Congress last month to salvage the economy. One of the benefits for those who have filed for unemployment is a $600 weekly increase for up to four months, on top of state benefits.

The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services said the extra $600 unemployment check would be added to weekly unemployment benefit payments starting as early as this week for those who've successfully applied. The Oakes said they've yet to receive the extra payment.

State labor officials in Minnesota and New York also claim the extra $600 will be included in unemployment checks starting this week.

Several states are reallocating state employees to answer unemployment phone lines and questions from applicants. An Arkansas DWS spokesperson said the department has added phone lines, increased their system capacity, reassigned DWS staff and at Arkansas Workforce Centers to answer hotlines and assist with filing claims and extended hours of operation for the online filing claims system to include weekends.

The Florida DEO announced Tuesday it added 500 additional personnel to support its phone lines and other department needs.

"The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is committed to ensuring Floridians are able to receive the benefits owed to them during this global pandemic," Ken Lawson, executive director of the DEO, said in a statement.

The DEO also installed 72 new servers to increase website capacity, claiming the system can now handle up to 120,000 simultaneous visitors, compared to the usual 20,000. The department has also created a mobile-friendly online application form.

Not everyone, however, has seen the DEO's website capacity improve.

"I don't see any difference -- I still keep getting booted out of that system," said Dani Priebe.

"I still don't have answers, and we need them," she added. "Rent is going to be due May 1, electric is due and I know all these [companies] are out there waiving late fees, and that's great, but it still needs to be paid ... even if it is later."

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Courtesy Food Bank of the Southern Tier(NEW YORK) -- The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 400,000 people and killed at least 13,000 in the United States so far.

Another serious consequence of the outbreak: food insecurity.

With sky-rocketing unemployment and millions of children unable to receive free or reduced-price school lunches, more people are now facing hunger because of this crisis, according to Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization in the U.S.

Feeding America officials report they are seeing a massive increase in demand. Approximately 37 million people are food insecure, including 11 million children and 5.5 million seniors.

In addition, they are also seeing that during this crisis, many families will find themselves needing help for the first time.

“I’ve never witnessed a system being more strained,” Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America, told ABC News' Good Morning America. “Our estimations are that we will need to serve an additional 17.1 million people through this crisis, on top of an already 37-40 million people that we were serving before.”

“For the first time probably in our history, we’ve had to turn some people away,” she said. “We don’t want to do that, ever.”

Due to this crisis, ABC is launching Day of Hope, in partnership with Feeding America, to highlight food banks and food pantry personnel working on the front lines, and to share food resources with all Americans who need it.

Learn more about Feeding America's work and get involved at FeedingAmerica.org/FeedTheLove.

On the front lines at food banks

Across the country, determined volunteers are urgently responding to the demand at food banks by making sure people don’t go hungry. But as the demand has increased, supplies are dwindling and volunteers are scarce in some communities.

In some areas, the National Guard has been deployed to close the gap.

At the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, Lloyd Vines, a senior volunteer coordinator, explained how their staff has shrunk in size since the pandemic hit.

"Normally we are relying on 100-200 volunteers every day,” said Vines. “For the past couple weeks it’s been myself and about eight other staff members."

Yet no matter how hectic it’s been, Vines and many committed volunteers like him are still staying positive.

"We’re so tired," he said, "but our spirits are high.”

Volunteering on the front lines during the pandemic comes with an increased risk of contracting the virus. It’s something that many volunteers are aware of and are taking precautions against -- but it hasn’t stopped them from continuing their critical work.

“I know it’s a scary time. I’m not a medical person, but I want to help in any way that I can,” said Jill Ash, a lead packaging volunteer at “Feed More” in Richmond, Virginia. “Regardless of any danger surrounding us … I will be here until I’m not needed anymore.”

At the “Fulfill” food bank in New Jersey, 51-year-old Diana Tennant, whose job was to go out into the community and put food stamps into the hands of those who needed them, lost her battle with COVID-19.

“Diana died making sure people who needed the food the most got that food,” said Kim Guadagno, the CEO and president of Fulfill. “The people who work in this building are unsung heroes. They put their lives on the line every day, and Diana is proof of that.”

Despite the risk, the Fulfill Food Bank and many others across the country are continuing their mission to make sure no one goes hungry during this pandemic.

Feeding the love


Feeding America has taken steps during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure no one goes hungry by providing resources for all Americans.

Among their efforts so far, Feeding America has launched the COVID-19 Response Fund, a national food and fundraising effort to support people facing hunger and the food banks who help them; they have worked with government leaders to ensure their emergency response to the coronavirus includes strong support and flexibility for federal nutrition programs; and they have provided emergency grants to food banks to support local response efforts.

Now, through Day of Hope, they are encouraging others to help by sharing food bank messaging online and supporting food banks in communities impacted by the pandemic.

Visit their website here for more information.

Other ways to help

In addition to the recommendations that Feeding America lists on their website, Good Morning America put together a list of other ways to help those in need during this time.

Here are a few:

1. Check in with neighbors, friends, and families that may be in need of food.

2. Shop responsibly, don’t hoard.

3. If you need help, get help. In addition to food banks, Feeding America's website can link you with other resources here.

4. If you can, give. Find out how to deliver food safely to a local food bank or donate money here. Call your local food bank first to find out what their food donation policy is right now.

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Courtesy Evans Family(CHICAGO) -- A relative of a Walmart employee in Illinois who died from COVID-19 complications filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the retail giant, alleging the store did not do enough to protect employees from the novel coronavirus.

Wando Evans, who worked at a Walmart store in Evergreen Park for 15 years, was found dead in his home on March 25. He had first mentioned symptoms consistent with the novel coronavirus to management at his store two weeks prior but was largely ignored, according to court documents filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court.

Evans, who worked overnights in stock and maintenance at Walmart, was sent home by store management on March 23, and then found dead just two days later. He was 51.

The lawsuit alleges Walmart was negligent in, among other things, failing to implement, promote and enforce social distancing guidelines and that it failed to cleanse and sanitize the store in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The suit also alleges the store failed to provide personal protective equipment such as masks, latex gloves and even antibacterial soaps or wipes to employees. Another employee at the same store passed away on March 29 also due to complications related to COVID-19, according to the complaint.

"The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has designated Walmart stores as 'high-volume retailers,' making them responsible for taking additional precautions to protect employees and customers from the spread of COVID-19," Tony Kalogerakos, the attorney for the family of Evans, said in a statement.

"At a minimum, they were responsible for notifying store workers that a colleague had symptoms consistent with COVID-19, providing their employees personal protective equipment such as masks and latex gloves, implementing social distancing, and sending exposed employees’ home until cleared by medical professionals," he said.

His firm is also requesting an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigation into Walmart's actions, Kalogerakos added.

Kalogerakos said Evans' family contacted his office only after they began receiving calls from his former co-workers. "It wasn’t until they learned about his death that they knew he had symptoms," Kalogerakos said.

"They urged the family to take action to prevent this from happening to someone else," he added.

On March 31, Walmart announced a slew of new safety measures for employees, including temperature checks.

A Walmart spokesman declined to comment on the pending litigation, but said the company was "heartbroken" over the deaths and had implemented new safety and sanitizing measures at all stores amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are heartbroken at the passing of two associates at our Evergreen Park store and we are mourning along with their families," the spokesperson said in a statement.

"While neither associate had been at the store in more than a week, we took action to reinforce our cleaning and sanitizing measures, which include a deep-cleaning of key areas. Within the last week, the store passed a third-party safety and environmental compliance assessment as well as a health department inspection," the statement said. "As an extra precaution, we brought in an outside company to further clean and sanitize all high-touch surfaces in the store, which included the decontamination of front entrances, carts, registers and bathrooms, as well as food areas including produce and meat."

The statement added that the company has taken extra steps across the country to protect associates and customers, "including additional cleaning measures, installing sneeze guards at registers, placing social distancing decals on the floors and limiting the number of customers in a store at a given time."

The company will also take steps such as screening associates, conducting temperature checks and providing masks and gloves for associates who wish to use them.

The statement continued: "We take this issue seriously and will respond with the court once we have been served with the complaint."

The legal action against Walmart comes as a handful of employees elsewhere in the retail sector have pressed for more protections as newly classified "essential workers" amid the crisis.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Tuan Ngo seemed to be at a dead end this weekend as he tried to apply for emergency loans for his nail salon business in Washington state, which has been shuttered since the novel coroanvirus pandemic struck and social distancing measures were implemented to stop the spread.

Like so many small-business owners across the country, Ngo was having a hard time navigating the complicated application process that went live late last week and instantly overwhelmed servers and many local banks.

"Paperwork on top of paperwork on top of paperwork,” he told ABC News recently. “The banks say they were not ready. The banks send you on to the [government] website, and you go on the website, they send you back to the bank. So, I don't know where I'm going right now I have no help."

His story was similar to that of more than a dozen local, small businesses across the country that ABC News has surveyed in the last few days. Still Ngo said he was lucky and worried for colleagues and friends that were having an even harder time.

“I can read things online, but think about for all the business owners -- think about all the ones you know – who do not have strong English as a second language,” he said. “I went to college… how is everyone else dealing with all of this?”

Of the more than 30 million small businesses in the United States, it is estimated that 11 million are owned by racial and ethnic minorities. Statistically, immigrants in the country are more likely to start and own small businesses than non-immigrants and are more likely to hire employees at faster rates than non-immigrants.

Yet many minority entrepreneurs are facing unique challenges, including language and cultural barriers, gaps in technology and a lack of existing lines of credit as they try to get the help and funds they need now to keep their doors open and their staff on payroll. They also face a banking system that has historically favored white applicants and may default to that pattern in a time of crisis, advocates say.

Ngo opened La Bella nail salon 13 years ago in Tacoma with his wife and two employees. They now have two locations and 34 employees, though he has had to furlough them all during this tough time. “They are struggling,” Ngo continued. Almost all of his staff are Vietnamese immigrants, like himself, some of them have limited English language skills. “My employees and their families are trying survive. I have a lot of single moms with no other income and it is really hard for them to get help.”

Marcos Rivera has followed in his father’s footsteps and owns his own Latin-inspired restaurant in the Chicago area, Libertad. Rivera told ABC News that his father was an immigrant from Mexico, who started as a dishwasher and eventually owned a few restaurants of his own. The restaurants were family affairs, with all of the children helping out.

Rivera said he has laid off 13 employees so far, but has a small team that has stayed on to help with some takeout orders during this period of social distancing. He said the process of applying for loans has been overwhelming. For instance, he said he did not receive confirmation over the weekend that his applications went through and has not had loans and lines of credit with his bank in the past.

He agreed that for business owners without dominant English skills, the process would have been even more difficult. For “mom and pop places it is going to be really difficult.. if you don’t speak the language well enough, if you’re not savvy with everything it is going to be very different for them to do," he said. "They are going to need people to help get them through it.”

The latest documents and resources from the federal government about how small businesses can apply for various loans and grants available during this crisis have only been provided in English, with some limited Spanish translation.

“The federal government is trying to do a lot in a very small amount of time, so I would not fault them entirely. They are trying to deploy the capital quickly and that means you don’t have time to run all the materials through every language, but that has created a vacuum that we and others are trying to fill,” Lamar Heystek, president of the non-profit minority business advocacy group ASIAN, Inc. told ABC News.

Heystek said his group has been inundated with calls from all around the country from people looking for assistance in navigating online portals and paperwork that are in English only. He was grateful some people have volunteered to help businesses through this process, but they are working overtime to translate, produce and get materials out in different languages so people can get information they need.

In addition to the language barriers, many of the smallest businesses in the country have not previously enjoyed loans, lines of credit or personal relationships with their banks. As such, in this moment, many have of found it difficult to have their applications for emergency loans prioritized.

Heystek called it a “vicious Catch-22,” and on a call with reporters Tuesday, members of the Congressional Black Congress also expressed concern over the issue.

The CBC pointed to a “history and legacy” of racial inequality in banking and credit systems, which they see hurting minority businesses owners in this case. In short, white business owners have been more likely to receive credit in the past, and now, in a moment of crisis, as banks default to lending to their familiar customers, minority-owned small businesses could once again be denied and excluded at disproportionate rates.

“There are built-in disadvantages,” Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, D- Mass., said on the call. She argued the lending preferences of banks and step up that some larger firms had in the process was hurting businesses that are “too small to fail,” like barber shops and dry cleaners.

“Our nation’s response was effective if you have a multi-million dollar business, if you are Boeing or United Airlines. We are worried these benefits are not trickling down to our communities,” Congresswoman Karen Bass, D-Calif., said. “We need to fix it in the next bill.”

The Department of Treasury signaled Tuesday that it was working to expand the amount of funds available to small businesses through some of the emergency lending programs. Still, such a wide range of small businesses competing for this emergency capital, there is great anxiety among owners of very small businesses that they might get overlooked.

Right now, businesses with fewer than 500 employees can apply for the Payroll Protection Program funds, for example to rehire or keep staff onboard during this pandemic. Those companies on the larger end of that 500-employee scale are much more likely to have accountants, lawyers, and sophisticated software to apply for funds.

“They feel betrayed… that there is no longer the possibility of the American dream,” Elizabeth Chung, executive director of the Asian American Center of Frederick, Maryland told ABC News. Her nonprofit helps support and advocate for small businesses and immigrant communities. “These are people who pay taxes, who are law abiding citizens and now all of a sudden are saying, “What about me?”

“These small business are the fabric of our communities. I don't have Boeing here. I have my neighborhood store,” she added. Chung said she worried about clients or hers and members of her local community who run cash-only businesses or family-run small firms who have limited bookkeeping.

Chung herself has struggled to successfully apply for the PPP loans and said she was denied when she attempted. She has kept her staff on payroll, but said she cannot do that much longer. “I've been in this country for 50 years, and I think this is the first time ever that I felt as much despair.”

“We talked about equity. This is not equitable,” she went on. “Just because you're smaller, or you don't have the clout, you don't know where to go, you should not be left behind in this. This is going to hurt the poor even more and that hurts everyone. Economies are built from bottom up.”

“This is where the rubber meets the road,” Heystek said echoing this point. “We need these businesses to continue to exist. Those small businesses employ people who spend money locally… If we don’t help these businesses survive, who employ our neighbors, we are hurting ourselves in the end.”

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guvendemir/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- As passengers continue to voice frustrations with U.S. airlines over rejected refund claims amid the coronavirus outbreak, one lawmaker told ABC News a potential future stimulus bill should mandate refunds, not vouchers.

"The airlines are not listening to their passengers," Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., said in an interview on Wednesday. "They're going to wind up paying a price for this in the next piece of legislation which we pass."

U.S. carriers have secured almost $60 billion from the federal government in cash grants and loans. In exchange, the airlines agreed to not lay off employees through September, to place limits on executive compensation for two years and to eliminate stock buybacks for at least a year.

Markey said airlines are being "greedy" by refusing to issue refunds for canceled flights.

"Passengers need to stay alive the same way that the airlines now can stay alive because of the federal taxpayer," Markey said.

A little over a week ago, Markey and eight other Democratic senators sent letters to all the major U.S. airline CEOs, urging them to issue refunds. The senators asked for a response by Tuesday.

As of Wednesday morning, lawmakers hadn't received enough responses to determine whether or not "the industry is going to comply," Markey said. "A passenger in the era of the Coronavirus pandemic should not have to have a voucher for a future trip. That passenger needs the money in their pocket right now to pay for food, to pay for rent, to pay the mortgage."

On Monday, a police officer from Minnesota, Jacob Rudolph, filed a lawsuit against United Airlines over a rejected ticket refund claim.
 
A United spokesperson told ABC News that the company was served with the complaint on Tuesday evening and currently is reviewing it. The spokesperson said United's policy on refunds is that if the airline changes a flight and can't get a passenger to their destination within six hours, that customer is eligible for a refund.

According to Rudolph, United offered to rebook his flight or issue him a ticket credit for travel within one year of the issue date. United and other major U.S. airlines have since announced they are extending voucher expirations for up to two years.

A class-action suit was filed just three days after the Department of Transportation told the airlines that they're obligated to provide a "prompt refund” to passengers whose flights were affected by the outbreak.

"The Department is receiving an increasing number of complaints and inquiries from ticketed passengers, including many with non-refundable tickets, who describe having been denied refunds for flights that were canceled or significantly delayed,” DOT said in a statement. "In many of these cases, the passengers stated that the carrier informed them that they would receive vouchers or credits for future travel."

In an attempt to weather the crisis, the airline industry has taken unprecedented measures such as slashing flights, cutting executive pay, offering employees unpaid leave and parking hundreds of aircraft.

At Delta Airlines, 30,000 employees -- about one-third of the company's global work force -- have volunteered to take unpaid leave, according to an internal memo from CEO Ed Bastian to employees.

Bastian said the airline is burning more than $60 million every day, and that without the company's self-help actions the funds received from the stimulus package "would be gone by June."

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code6d/iStock(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- In addition to donating millions of dollars to coronavirus relief, Nike is now also turning efforts towards creating personal protective equipment for health care workers.

On Tuesday, the athletic apparel brand announced that its innovation, manufacturing and product teams are collaborating to start creating full-face shields and powered, air-purifying respirator (PAPR) lenses to protect against COVID-19.

Working alongside health professionals at Oregon Health & Science University, Nike is finding a way to reproduce face shields using Nike-owned materials at the brand's manufacturing facilities.

"Without proper facial protection, healthcare workers are at a higher risk of contracting the virus, which could place substantial strain on the healthcare workforce in the months ahead," Dr. Miko Enomoto, associate professor of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine at OHSU School of Medicine, said in a statement on Nike's website. "The full-face shields help protect healthcare workers' faces and also help to prolong the length we can safely use a surgical or N95 mask."

Produced through a nine-step process, Nike's full-face shield includes three parts manufactured from elements of the brand's popular footwear. "Collar padding once destined for shoes is repurposed; cords originally earmarked for apparel reconsidered; and, most important, the TPU component of a Nike signature — the Nike Air soles — reimagined," the brand wrote in the statement.

The first shipment of full-face shields and PAPR lenses went to OHSU on April 3 and will be provided to health systems in Nike’s World Headquarters region, including Providence, Legacy Health Systems and Kaiser Permanente, and others across the state of Oregon, the company said.

"OHSU’s mission is to support the health and well-being of all Oregonians, and we can’t do that without adequate supplies of personal protective equipment," Dr. Danny Jacobs, president of Oregon Health & Science University, said in the Nike statement. "I've been so inspired by how our community has united to meet this health crisis. We are forever grateful to the commitment of our colleagues at Nike, as their dedication to our united effort will help save lives."

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Kameleon007/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Coronavirus economic updates: Toyota extends production suspension at US plants

(NEW YORK) -- The coronavirus pandemic has quickly evolved from a health crisis to a financial one, shuttering businesses, upending entire industries and sending financial markets reeling.

Here's the latest news on how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting the economy. For more on financial resources available during the pandemic, click here.

US financial markets rally

U.S. financial markets spiked sharply Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average soaring more than 700 points, or 3.4%.

The S&P 500 jumped 3.4% and the Nasdaq rose 2.6%.

Among the best performers for the Dow were Raytheon Technologies Corp and UnitedHealth Group, which both saw gains of approximately 8%.

UnitedHealth Group's large gains were likely boosted by news Wednesday that Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who wanted to eliminate private health insurance and create a single-payer system, was dropping out of the race.

Investors are also welcoming some signs that the pandemic could be nearing its peak globally. China lifted the lockdown on Wuhan, the city where the first cases of the novel coronavirus emerged. Spain announced plans to gradually ease lockdown measures, with the country's finance minister, Maria Jesus Montero, saying at a press conference Tuesday night that "citizens will be able to get back to their normal life" starting April 26.

The U.S. remains among the worst affected countries, with over 400,000 people diagnosed with COVID-19, according to data compiled by researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

Earlier in the week, authorities expressed hope that the rate of infections was possibly plateauing in some of the hardest-hit areas. In New York, the state most impacted by the virus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there was a "possible flattening of the curve" on Monday after the total number of hospitalizations, intensive care unit admissions and daily intubations were down.

Toyota extending production suspension through May 1 at all U.S. plants

Citing the "ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and decline in vehicle demand," Toyota said Wednesday it is extending its production suspension at all auto and components plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico through May 1.

But the company said it plans to resume production on May 4.

"Our service parts operations and finished vehicle logistics centers will continue to operate in order to meet the ongoing needs of our customers," the Japanese carmaker said. "We will continue to monitor the situation and take appropriate action in a timely manner."

It joins a growing list of automakers that have announced similar measures this week, including Nissan and Honda.

JetBlue to temporarily consolidate operations in major hubs


JetBlue announced Wednesday it is temporarily consolidating operations in Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City and Washington, D.C., starting on April 15 for eight weeks.

This means the airline will temporarily suspend all services at major airports including LaGuardia Airport, Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and more.

JetBlue previously announced it is reducing its flying network by 80% per day during April as the airline industry takes a major hit from the COVID-19 outbreak.

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anyaivanova/iStock(NEW YORK) -- With a White House increasingly anxious to get the economy in gear and an approved vaccine for the novel coronavirus still months away at best, public health officials are hoping that tens of millions of Americans will have access to a simple blood test that can identify recovered patients who've developed some kind of immune response to the virus.

The idea behind the push is that people who have been exposed to the virus form antibodies in their bloodstream that may help them to fight off another infection. The hope is that the body's antibodies against COVID-19 can diminish the chances of re-infection. Theoretically, those found to have immunized antibodies could then return to work and help reignite the economy.

Commercial labs are scrambling to develop and distribute serologic tests, as they are known, in large quantities -- and the federal government is doing its best to expedite an approval process that is, under normal circumstances, lengthy and cumbersome.

Adm. Brett Giroir, tapped by President Donald Trump to lead testing efforts, said he is "very optimistic" that tens of millions of the tests will be available by May. And he says it could dramatically change what we know about the scope of infection inside the United States.

"That's really important as we think about re-opening the country and the economy because if you've had the virus and you've had an immune response to it, in all probability you are immune and safe from the virus," Giroir said on ABC's Good Morning America on Monday.

Others remain skeptical. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former head of U.S. Food and Drug Administration under President Trump, told ABC News he does not view the antibody test as a game-changer in the effort to reopen the economy. In reality, he said, relatively few people have been exposed to the virus.

"I think there's a perception that when we test the larger, general population that there's a lot of people out there who were exposed and have immunity," Gottlieb said. "But I think when we do these tests, we'll see it's actually much smaller."

Others on the White House coronavirus task force have put faith in antibodies as a way to reverse course in quick order. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, has said he is "willing to bet anything that people who recover are really protected against reinfection," and Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House task force coordinator, said she has "called on every university and every state to develop [antibody test capabilities]."

Testing troubles from the start

The U.S. has struggled in determining who is infected by the novel coronavirus. The country's ability to track outbreaks of flu virus is done largely by public health labs that don't have the resources to conduct widespread diagnostic tests.

The federal government eventually brought in the private sector as part of a coordinated response. But by then, the virus was spreading rapidly and the complicated diagnostic tests that required specialized equipment wasn't widespread enough to figure out who had the virus -- prompting the need for "social distancing" rather than containment.

Now, health officials are urging Americans to reserve diagnostic tests for the active virus -- a nasal swab -- for health care workers and patients in hospitals.

The approach raises urgent questions though about how long social distancing can be maintained, especially considering the blow to the economy and families struggling to get back to work.

"There's tremendous light at the end of the tunnel," Trump promised late Monday, citing new developments in research.

Antibodies as treatment

Multiple healthcare institutions around the country are using blood antibody tests to identify potential donors for a therapy called convalescent plasma. The experimental treatment pulls blood plasma from recovered patients and injects those antibodies into the sickest patients, with the goal of staving off the disease.

"We believe it can be disease-modifying and reduce duration and severity in some patients," said Dr. Michael Joyner, a physiologist and anesthesiologist at the Mayo Clinic, one of the institutions who has started the collection process for COVID patients who may qualify.

While researchers move forward with convalescent plasma treatments as a stop-gap measure, the simple blood test that can tell a person if they have the antibodies is being strongly considered as a public health tool to understand how many people may already have had the disease.

On Tuesday, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said antibody testing can help identify individuals who have overcome an infection and that "may potentially be used to help determine, together with other clinical data, that such individual are no longer susceptible to infection and can return to work."

Those found to have sufficient antibody immunities could begin trickling back to work and eventually start getting the country -- and economy -- back to normal. Experts say the antibody test could be an invaluable marker to identify those recovered patients.

"The antibody test will tell us what happened in the past and will also help us in the future as a potential therapy," Dr. Arturo Casadevall, the chair of molecular biology and immunology at Johns Hopkins, told ABC News' Diane Sawyer. "So I do think that we need to redouble our efforts to deploy rapid antibody tests to know who has been infected and who has overcome the virus."
 
Federal regulators say they won't stand in the way

In March, the FDA allowed developers of the antibody test to market their antibody tests without FDA review as long as certain conditions were met.

"The important thing is for the people who have this test -- and I stress that some companies are developing them, and they're also being found in academic centers -- to work with the FDA so that this test can be done very rapidly," Casadevall said.

The FDA has said it doesn't intend to object to the development and distribution of these serology tests either. At least one company -- Cellex -- has gone so far as to receive "emergency authorization."

A spokesperson for Cellex told ABC News that the company "is optimistic that 100,000 test kits will be shipped very soon from China to New York City."

Industry, academia stepping up

The result is that several commercial labs have entered the race for a workable, scalable test.

New York-based United Biomedical partnered with San Miguel County, Colorado, with a goal of testing all 8,000 county residents for antibodies. As of Tuesday, over 1,600 tests were processed and only eight people so far have tested positive for antibodies. Full test results are expected in the coming days and the company said it already has plans to test other communities around the country.

BioMedomics, a North Carolina-based firm, is also developing a so-called rapid test -- with results available within 15 minutes. The company is working with BD, a medical tech company, and Henry Schein Inc. to distribute the tests.

The FDA said Monday it had received requests from more than 100 companies for emergency authorizations for antibody tests. United Biomedical also told ABC News it was seeking authorization.

As of Wednesday, 70 commercial labs had notified the FDA that they have antibody tests available for use but without proceeding with an emergency use authorization. BioMedomics is on that list.

Researchers at academic centers like Stanford have also experimented with mass serologic testing. Over the weekend, the university's health policy arm collaborated with the Santa Clara County Department of Health to administer serologic tests to 3,200 people in the area.

With all the private companies and researchers racing to develop and deploy tests -- and the FDA scrambling to cut out bureaucratic red tape -- risks with faulty products persist.

"It's a balance for the FDA to get things out quickly, and there has been a lot of pressure and lot of push to get tests out," said Dr. Angela Caliendo, an infectious disease expert at the Brown University medical school, describing the FDA's use of emergency authorizations for serologic tests.

"To get [tests] out quickly means you don't have a clinical study," Dr. Caliendo continued. "So the upside is we have the tests. The downside is we don't exactly know how well they're going to perform."

Adm. Giroir echoed that sentiment, noting that the volume of labs rolling out their own tests made it increasingly likely that some won't work.

"'Approved' is not a word we talk about," Giroir told reporters. "There is a test or two that has received emergency use authorization and many, many, many others out there that have not gone that way yet, and I want to take this opportunity to caution."

The FDA on Tuesday warned that some firms are "falsely claiming that their serological tests are FDA approved or authorized."

But will they work?


As for millions of faulty tests already on the market, Giroir said "we're not going to get in that situation."

Scott Becker, the CEO of the Association for Public Health Laboratories, said he has raised the concern of faulty tests with the federal officials -- including Giroir. To their credit, Becker said, the FDA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Institutes of Health have responded well and indicated that they plan to roll out a government validation panel to review tests in the coming weeks.

"The last thing we need right now is bad tests on the market," Becker said. "You do not want to provide a bad result. We need to ensure that whatever tests Americans are going to get have a high degree of accuracy."

The other question is who gets access to the tests. Giroir said he wants health care workers and the elderly to have first dibs. But with the private sector running the show, it's unclear how the government would enforce that -- possibly authorizing a specific company to test high-risk populations.

Meanwhile, another race is on within the biomedical community that will eventually nullify the need for antibody tests and treatments: a vaccine.

But with a possible vaccine still far beyond the horizon, the serologic testing could be fastest way for Americans to regain some sense of normalcy before the fall respiratory infection flu season begins again.

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mericsso/iStock(NEW YORK) -- After a successful initial launch, MAC Cosmetics is back with a second makeup collection that pays homage to the late, great pop star Selena Quintanilla.

On Monday, the popular makeup brand announced the launch of the new Selena La Reina collection, which was created alongside the late singer's family.

This new collection is inspired by Selena's unique musical style as well as her distinctive global influence.

"I am forever grateful to MAC for allowing me to bring my creative vision to life for this collection and being able to share what I felt would celebrate my sister's 25th Anniversary," Selena's sister, Suzette Quintanilla, said in a statement.

One standout in the limited-edition collection is the Bidi Bidi Bom Bom Lipglass, which has a pearlescent pink tone. It was part of the original "MAC Selena" collection that was launched in 2016.

The updated MAC Selena La Reina collection also includes a range of other lip products, a finishing face powder, an eyeshadow palette, and a makeup bag that looks reminiscent of the signature bedazzled bra Quintanilla used to wear when she performed.

"The true inspiration behind the packaging is Selena's iconic rhinestone bra and really led to the holographic feel for the rest of the collection so it pulled everything together," Suzette said in a statement.

Senior national artist Gisel Calvillo also spoke to the vibrant hues through the collection.

“The colours in the eye palette range from warm nudes that compliment every skin tone, to some rich-toned earthy browns," she said in a statement. "For lips, we have included an assortment of nudes, rose-toned and red shades that give the perfect pout. The textures run from both matte to shimmery metallic shades to play up your look from day to night."

The first collection was birthed after fans created an online petition in 2015 calling for MAC to create a makeup line inspired by the singer.
 
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SDI Productions/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Grocery store chain Stop & Shop is teaming up with Uber Technologies to offer seniors half-price rides to store locations during the coronavirus pandemic.

Customers age 60 and over can access the discount by entering the promo code “STOPSHOPUBER” in their Uber app beginning April 8. Friends, family and neighbors of costumers can also order a ride on behalf of the shopper if they don’t have access to the app.

“We hope this commitment will provide a helpful option for customers who wish to shop during special hours,” Stop & Shop President Gordon Reid said.

The discounted rates are available between 6 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. only. The discount is capped at $20 per ride, and there's a limit of two trips per week.

The deal is available at more than 400 Stop & Shop stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island, and the deal lasts through April 29.

“Now more than ever we have to do whatever it takes to ensure that transportation is not a barrier to food security,” Uber Global Operations Senior Vice President Andrew Macdonald said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest guidelines state that older adults are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and the CDC recommends that seniors “stay at home as much as possible.”

Many grocery stores like Stop & Shop have set up exclusive shopping hours for the elderly in an effort to limit potential COVID-19 exposure.

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