As the coronavirus—the infection that causes the illness Covid-19—has quickly spread across the world, global industries have struggled to adjust as businesses shut down and international travel slows to a trickle.
Starting in the end of February, Adweek kept a running list of how the pandemic is affecting the ad world, from event cancellations to layoffs and market updates.
On March 24, we launched another resource: Adweek Together, a daily live discussion at 1 p.m. on LinkedIn hosted by Adweek editors along with the leaders of the agencies, brands and companies we cover. Together, we’ll be seeking guidance, solutions and information as we work through the coronavirus crisis.
Editor’s note: All times are E.T.
April 16, 2020
8:30 a.m.: More than 5.2 million people made initial claims for unemployment insurance last week
The Labor Department announced the latest numbers this morning, which bring the total initial claims for the last four weeks to over 22 million.
April 15, 2020
7 a.m.: Tour de France 2020 has been rescheduled for Aug. 29-Sept. 20
The annual race was previously scheduled to take place June 27-July 19, and will follow the same route, with no changes, from Nice to Paris. The women’s event, La Course by le Tour de France avec FDJ, will also be rescheduled to a date that has yet to be determined.
April 10, 2020
1:45 p.m.: The XFL has suspended all of its day-to-day operations, and all team and league employees have been terminated effective immediately
April 9, 2020
5:54 p.m.: Kia Motors donates $1 million to charities working to assist homeless youth during the coronavirus pandemic
The donation is a continuation of Kia’s support for homeless youth—which was also the theme of its 2020 Super Bowl spot—and its Covid-19 response efforts. It’s dubbed the new program “Accelerate the Good,” and has also donated personal protective equipment to medical workers in Orange County, California, where Kia is based.
Kia’s Super Bowl spot earlier this year told the story of Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, who grew up homeless. The automaker’s new “Accelerate the Good” spot, created by Kia’s agency of record David&Goliath, stars the same youth actor that played Jacobs in the super bowl spot and features a voiceover discussing the ways that the pandemic uniquely affects young people living on the street.
8:30 a.m.: More than 6.6 million people made initial claims for unemployment insurance last week
The Labor Department announced the latest numbers this morning, which bring the total initial claims for the last three weeks to over 16 million.
April 8, 2020
3:11 a.m.: Dr. Fauci bobblehead sales raise more than $100,000 in donations to support healthcare workers
Last week, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum revealed a new bobblehead fashioned after Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and face of the White House response to the coronavirus pandemic. For each bobblehead sold, the Hall of Fame committed to donating $5 to the American Hospital Association’s 100 Million Masks Challenge, an initiative to support frontline healthcare workers with personal protective equipment. By this morning, the Dr. Fauci bobbleheads had led to more than $100,000 in donations.
April 7, 2020
7:46 p.m.: Nike announces partnership with Oregon Health & Science University to manufacture personal protective equipment for frontline workers
The company will be producing full-face shields and powered, air-purifying respirator lenses to protect against the coronavirus.
5:53 p.m.: Adweek introduces #MediaTogether, a place for media workers to share their stories and connect with others in the business
Following waves of layoffs and furloughs at media companies around the country, Adweek wanted to support the journalists faced with unexpected changes due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The project invites journalists to tell their stories in the hopes of building a network useful to those impacted—one that can connect those looking for work with those who can provide jobs.
9:50 a.m.: Hilton is teaming up with American Express to donate 1 million hotel room nights across the United States for medical professionals fighting Covid-19
9:33 a.m.: Little Caesars will donate a million pizzas to frontline heroes over the coming weeks. Starting April 13, customers can also donate a pizza to first responders and healthcare workers via the chain’s app
7:22 a.m.: Lowe’s is refocusing its message on community support for essential workers in new 30-second spot
7 a.m.: The Clio Awards have delayed their main ad awards program from October 2020 to April 2021
1:48 a.m.: The MLB and the MLB Players Association are eyeing Arizona as a possible location to start the season as early as May
The MLB and the MLB Players Association are focused on a plan that could lead them to kickoff the 2020 season as early as May. Their “fanless stadium” alternative has been reportedly deemed safe and has been backed by high-ranking federal public health authorities from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. All 30 teams would be able to play games and/or train in the Phoenix area, including at Chase Field and 10 nearby facilities. Essential staff and players would be socially isolated in hotels and would only travel to and from the stadiums.
A multitude of obstacles and matters—such as how to keep players six feet apart during game time—will need to be resolved between the league, the union, and public health officials before coming to an agreement.
1:00 a.m.: Tripadvisor is donating $1 million to Covid-19 relief efforts focused on the travel industry
April 6, 2020
6:25 p.m.: Mattress Firm will temporarily pay partial rent on its store locations
5:05 p.m. R/GA New York partners with local New York businesses to create custom merchandise
All proceeds from the T-shirts and tote bags designed by the agency will go to support the businesses, which include Metro Community Laundromat, Keg & Lantern, Harlem Doggie Day Spa, Lighthouse, Astor Place Hairstylists, New Kam Hing Coffee Shop and Astoria Bookshop.
April 3, 2020
2:05 a.m.: Cannes Lions 2020 is canceled
Cannes Lions, that the annual Festival of Creativity, will not take place in 2020. On May 18, organizers pushed the Festival from its normal June dates to October in light of the pandemic.
“Our difficult decision follows in-depth consultations with our partners and customers and reflects the unprecedented societal, health and economic challenges currently facing the world, as well as our desire to remove any uncertainty about the running of the awards and event for our partners and customers,” organizers said in a statement. “Cannes Lions at its core has always been about creativity and the Lions. We realise that the creative community has other challenges to face, and simply isn’t in a position to put forward the work that will set the benchmark.”
The next edition will run June 21-25, 2021.
April 2, 2020
12:42 p.m.: The Democratic National Convention has been postponed by about a month in light of the ongoing coronavirus crisis
The convention, where delegates will confirm their party’s candidate for the presidential race was originally slated to take place July 13-16. It is now scheduled to take place the week of Aug. 17, putting the DNC a week before the Republican National Convention, which is still scheduled to take place Aug. 24-27 in Charlotte, N.C.
8:30 a.m.: New unemployment claims soar
After a record 3.3 million unemployment claims last week, the U.S. Labor Department announced that it had processed 6,648,000 new claims this week. In the last two weeks, more than 10 million Americans have filed for unemployment as the U.S. economy has shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
7:38 a.m.: Unions demand better working conditions at Amazon warehouses
In an open letter released today, lead unions like the AFL-CIO, American Federation of Teachers and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, among others, demanded that Amazon close its warehouses until it can comply with CDC recommendations regarding social distancing and sanitization of work surfaces. That would include, according to the letter, that Amazon cancel rate and productivity requirements, provide paid sick leave for workers who are sick or have to take care of a loved one who is sick, cover childcare expenses during school closures and comply with independent sanitization inspections.
April 1, 2020
12:53 p.m.: New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority continues to run subway and bus services for essential workers, but asks everyone else to stay home
The MTA said it’s running as much service as it can with crews who are healthy and available to work, though service on many lines is limited.
11 a.m.: Wimbledon is canceled for the first time since World War II
The 134th tennis championships were scheduled for June 28-July 11.
10 a.m.: Southern supermarket chain Publix is offering rent relief in Publix-owned shopping centers
Publix, a Southern supermarket chain that currently operates roughly 1,243 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, is offering rent relief to tenants in Publix-owned shopping centers that have closed due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
The relief package includes waiving rent payments for two months and waiving payments for common area maintenance fees and taxes.
Publix is the largest employee-owned company in the U.S.
8:10 a.m.: Home Depot announces 160 hours of paid time off for high-risk employees, limits number of people in the store at one time
The home improvement retailer had already added 80 hours of paid time off for full-time employees and 40 hours for part-time employees. Unlike other businesses that have added sick time contingent upon a Covid-19 diagnosis or doctor’s recommendation to self-isolate, Home Depot said that these hours are to be used at the employee’s discretion and paid out at the end of the year if unused.
March 31, 2020
4:17 p.m.: Amazon is helping Lyft drivers find work in their fulfillment centers to support grocery and packaging deliveries
Amazon is collaborating with Lyft by encouraging its drivers to apply for roles in the jumbo e-commerce retailer’s fulfillment centers. Amazon recently opened up more than 100,000 new roles to support the increased demand for delivering critical supplies. In addition, Amazon is slightly increasing hourly pay in the United States, Canada and Europe through the end of April.
3:57 p.m.: Hobby Lobby quietly reopens stores in Ohio and Wisconsin, defying state-mandated lockdowns and prompting police intervention
The arts-and-crafts retailer reopened dozens of stores in the Midwest in defiance of official shutdown orders, distributing memos to employees on how to respond to authorities that may ask why the store was open. At least one store in Wisconsin was forcibly closed by police.
3:45 p.m.: Amazon’s firing of a Staten Island warehouse walkout organizer prompted New York Attorney General Letitia James and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to call for investigation
Amazon alleges that they fired Chris Smalls, a warehouse employee in Staten Island who helped organize a worker walkout on Monday to protest health safeguards and hygienic conditions, because Smalls went against the company’s quarantine and safety policies.
The sudden termination prompted New York Attorney General Letitia James to call for a federal labor investigation by the National Labor Relations Board. Shortly after James’ response, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered the city’s human rights commissioner to conduct an investigation into the firing.
2 p.m.: London-based holding company WPP is cutting costs in light of the pandemic
In light of the spread of Covid-19, WPP is implementing a hiring freeze, stopping discretionary costs, postponing planned salary increases for this year and suspending its $1.2 billion share buyback program (funded by its recent sale of Kantar). Moreover, members of WPP’s executive committee and board are taking a 20% reduction in their salaries or fees for a starting period of three months.
The London-based holding company predicts these cost-cutting measures will generate about $869-$993 million in savings for 2020.
Noon: Despite the overall grim environment for the retail sector amid Covid-19 closures, Nike had better than expected third-quarter results
Despite having to shutter retail locations and curtail store hours in order to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, Nike reported better than expected third-quarter results, with revenues up 5% globally to $10.1 billion.
Surprisingly, Nike reported only a 5% decrease in sales in Greater China for the quarter ending Feb. 29, even though most of the country was under quarantine during that time and roughly 75% of Nike-owned and partner stores in the region where closed or operating on reduced hours.
How’d the athletic retail giant make it though the overall grim environment for the retail sector? A robust e-commerce presence in China (and Nike’s unique situation in the country) helped.
9 a.m.: The Interactive Advertising Bureau postpones the NewFronts until June
Three weeks after shifting this year’s Digital Content NewFronts to a virtual event in light of the novel coronavirus, the IAB is now postponing the entire annual event for nearly two months. The NewFronts, which had been slated to take place April 27-May 6, have been moved to the week of June 22, the IAB said today in a blog post.
The delay comes a week after buyers indicated to Adweek that they would likely not be able to conduct upfront negotiations in the usual late spring/summer time frame as the Covid-19 pandemic continued to wreak havoc on the industry.
7:55 a.m.: ESPN will release a new docuseries about Michael Jordan and the 90s Chicago Bulls earlier than planned
The highly anticipated 10-part series, called The Last Dance, will air weekly over 5 weeks from April 19-May 17. Outside the U.S., the episodes will be available on Netflix the day after they air.
March 30, 2020
8:07 p.m.: Kohl’s and Gap announce indefinite furloughs of around 80,000 workers each
The retailers join Macy’s, food distributor Sysco Corp. and newspaper giant Gannett in furloughing workers due to the coronavirus-related economic slowdown.
6:42 p.m.: Airbnb to set aside $250 million to help hosts cover costs of Covid-19 cancellations
The company also extended the window for coronavirus-related cancellations through May 31, offering full refunds to guests who booked prior to March 14. Previously, Airbnb had committed to refunding trips through April 14.
12:28 p.m.: Whole Foods employees plan to strike Tuesday to protest lack of worker protections during pandemic
The strike at the grocery chain follows a string of actions from workers in essential industries related to the way the economy has changed as a result of the coronavirus. Today, Instacart and Amazon workers were on strike demanding better worker protections, and General Electric employees protested demanding that jet factories pivot to making ventilators.
12:10 p.m.: Facebook pledges another $100 million to support the news industry
The social media giant said today in a blog post that $25 million will go toward emergency grants for local publishers, while $75 million will go to additional market spending.
11:25 a.m.: Top execs at the Walt Disney Company will forego salaries or take pay cuts as parks stay closed
Walt Disney Company executive chairman Bob Iger will forego his entire salary amid the coronavirus pandemic. CEO Bob Chapek will take a 50% pay cut. Other executives will have their salaries cut by 20-30%, according to reports.
9:02 a.m.: Amazon launches a blog promising daily updates about its coronavirus response
The coronavirus pandemic has put a strain on the company’s ecommerce systems, prompting the addition of 100,000 temporary workers to help fulfill orders. The blog features announcements regarding health and safety procedures and corporate philanthropy related to the pandemic.
8:47 a.m.: The International Olympic Committee sets new dates for postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics
The Summer Olympics, postponed last week as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic, have been rescheduled. The Games—which will still be called the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020—will take place from July 23-Aug. 8, 2021. The Paralympic Games will be held from Aug. 24-Sept. 5, 2021. The new dates were agreed upon today by the the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee and the governments of Japan and Tokyo.
March 28, 2020
1:37 p.m.: Oregon launches blunt Covid-19 message: Stay home or you could accidentally kill someone
The posters, video spots and social media posts, created by Portland agency Wieden + Kennedy, are equally impactful and blunt with messages like “Don’t Accidentally Kill Someone” and “Keep Portland Weird Alive.”
March 27, 2020
5:08 p.m.: Visa’s CEO commits to no coronavirus-related layoffs for the company’s 20,000 employees
2:12 p.m.: Google and parent company Alphabet commit $800 million in ad grants and direct financial support to small businesses, health organizations and governments
The tech giant will give $250 million in ad grants to the World Health Organization, $340 million to small- and medium-sized businesses and $200 million to non-governmental organizations and financial institutions that help small businesses access capital.
1:29 p.m. The U.S. House of Representatives passes a $2 trillion spending bill to combat the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic
7:15 a.m. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces via Twitter that he has tested positive for Covid-19
March 26, 2020
3:10 p.m.: PopSugar postpones its third annual Play/Ground festival, which was to be held in June in New York City
11:11 a.m.: NBC Universal CEO Jeff Shell shared in a staff memo that he has Covid-19
9:37 a.m.: Airbnb’s CEO announces via Twitter that the company will provide housing to 100,000 Covid-19 responders around the world
8:30 a.m.: Today would have been Opening Day for Major League Baseball. Instead, the league is celebrating the day virtually
With the start of the season postponed for at least two months, the league is streaming 30 games today across multiple platforms. It also set up a coronavirus information page on its website to support fans and combat disinformation.
8:30 a.m.: Nearly 3.3 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Labor.
It’s the highest number of claims ever recorded. Several states noted that the increase in claims were due to layoffs in the service industry as a result of Covid-19.
March 25, 2020
7:02 p.m.: The American Black Film Festival is postponed until October
The 24th annual event was scheduled for June 17-21 in Miami Beach. Instead, it’s been rescheduled for Oct. 21-25.
4:58 p.m.: The London International Awards cancels its 2020 festival
9 a.m.: Dave Matthews will perform a solo livestream show to help support small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic
The concert will kick off a weekly entertainment series sponsored by Verizon called “Play It Forward Live.” The series will feature musicians, gamers, comedy and more. Verizon has said that it will donate up to $5 million to Local Initiatives Support Corporation, which will use the funds to provide grants to small businesses facing financial pressure due to Covid-19.
6:25 a.m.: Target withdraws its forecast for the first quarter and fiscal year
The retailer is also scaling back the number of stores it will open and remodel in 2020 to around half of what it had previously predicted.
Target has also rolled out several different employee support initiatives, including a $2 per hour raise for all full-time and part-time store and distribution center employees through at least May 2, manager bonuses and paid sick leave for employees over 65 or with underlying health conditions.
March 24, 2020
5:10 p.m.: AMC’s The Walking Dead was not able to finish post-production on the finale due to Covid-19
The show’s season will end with the 15th episode on April 5 with the finale appearing later in the year as a special episode.
2:19 p.m.: Warner Bros. pushes back Wonder Woman 84’s theatrical debut from June 5 to Aug. 14
2:04 p.m. Just Born, the candy company that makes Peeps, announces that it will suspend production at factories in Philadelphia and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
1:50 p.m.: Trump wants the country to “reopen” by Easter Sunday (April 12)
In a Fox News virtual town hall, President Trump announced that he would like the country to “reopen” by Easter Sunday (April 12), so that the U.S. economy can reinvigorate itself. In order to stress his point and in spite of public health experts repeatedly iterating that the coronavirus is more dangerous than the common influenza, Trump noted that the flu, which kills thousands per year in the country, has never “turned off” business.
12:51 p.m.: Video game maker Ndemic Creations donates $250,000 to help fund Covid-19 relief and develops an update for Plague Inc. that lets you stop a pandemic outbreak
Plague Inc., a video game produced by Ndemic Creations that allows you to play as a plague and decimate humanity, has risen in popularity the past couple of weeks following the emergence of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The disease simulator will now be updated so that players can stop a pandemic outbreak, a decision that came out of talks between the creators, the World Health Organization, and the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. The new game mode will be free for all players once it launches.
Ndemic Creations also donated $250,000 to help fund Covid-19 relief.
10:30 a.m.: Ford is working with 3M, GE Healthcare and the United Auto Workers Union to manufacture ventilators, respirators and other critical medical gear
Ford is working with 3M to produce a Powered Air-Purifying Respirator for healthcare workers, created with parts from both Ford and 3M (including fans used in the Ford F-150’s ventilated seats). Ford will also help to increase the production of 3M’s line of reusable respirators.
The automaker is also working with GE Healthcare to increase the production of ventilators, and is working with the United Auto Workers Union to manufacture clear face shields that protect people—from healthcare workers to grocery store clerks—from infectious respiratory droplets while they’re on the job.
10:16 a.m.: The 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony has been rescheduled for Nov. 7
The ceremony was originally to be held on May 2, but was postponed on March 13 due to concerns related to the new coronavirus. The event will be broadcast live on HBO from the Cleveland Public Auditorium.
8:47 a.m.: Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reaches an agreement with the International Olympic Committee to postpone the Olympics for a year
The IOC confirmed the decision in a statement: “The IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.”
The decision deprives NBCUniversal of what execs had long been calling “the media event of the year”—and a key element of its marketing campaign for upcoming streaming service Peacock—while leaving it with a $1.25 billion-plus ad revenue hole for 2020.
4:35 a.m.: AB InBev has withdrawn its 2020 forecast, citing uncertainty related to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic
March 23, 2020
4:28 p.m.: Brands promote social distancing with altered logos, slogans
Using their own platforms and marketing teams, Chiquita Brands, Coca-Cola and Mucinex are among the many companies that have debuted branded PSAs urging people to abide by official recommendations surrounding Covid-19.
1:34 p.m.: International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound tells USA Today Sports that the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games will be postponed
Details will be worked out in the next four weeks, Pound told the news outlet. The games will likely be held in 2021.
8:18 a.m.: Tito’s Vodka will make an initial batch of 24 tons of hand sanitizer over the next several weeks that adheres to industry and governmental guidance
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has authorized production of ethanol-based hand sanitizers by permitted distillers in response to the national shortage, and Tito’s Vodka wants in.
While the vodka brand still advises consumers that they cannot use their standard product as DIY disinfectant, given that its alcohol content is lower than the CDC’s requirements, their distillery team has been testing out a formula and working on production kinks to begin making hand sanitizer that adheres to industry and governmental guidance.
Over the next few weeks, an initial batch of 24 tons of Tito’s sanitizer will be given out for free to those who need it most.
7:35 a.m.: Time for Kids launches a new grade-specific digital library, free through the end of the school year
The library includes teaching tools, worksheets and quizzes for kids in kindergarten through sixth grade.
March 22, 2020
4:30 p.m.: McDonald’s UK will close all its stores in the UK and Ireland, effective 7 p.m. March 23
The stores will remain closed until “it is safe for us to reopen,” the restaurant chain said in a statement.
March 21, 2020
9:47 p.m.: Anheuser-Busch announces via Twitter that it’d begin producing hand sanitizer to donate to nonprofit partners and institutions in need
11:38 a.m.: LVMH orders 10 million health masks from a Chinese supplier to help France handle the Covid-19 outbreak
The company, which owns luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior, has already begun producing and delivering hand sanitizer to French hospitals free of charge.
March 20, 2020
3:33 p.m.: Netflix sets up a $100 million fund to support Hollywood’s creative community during the pandemic
1:36 p.m.: Without live sports, fans switch to binge-watching and news
Live sports programming came to a screeching halt last week as leagues including the NBA and MLB suspended their seasons in response to the growing spread of Covid-19. In the absence of their favorite TV programming, sports fans are flocking to streaming shows—and in some cases keeping their TVs off entirely.
Last weekend, regular sports fans spent 47% more time streaming compared to the previous weekend, according to data from Inscape, which pulls automatic content recognition information from more than 14 million Vizio television sets.
12:52 p.m.: Gamers are fighting misinformation about the coronavirus crisis
After big names in the gaming community shared facts on the virus, the responses from their fans worried them. Many seemed like they weren’t taking Covid-19 nearly as seriously as they should be. So Bryce Blum, an esports lawyer, decided to start Gamers vs. Covid-19. The goal is to use a coordinated social media effort to educate the gaming public.
11:53 a.m.: Faux Subway posters urge NYC commuters to curb anti-Asian hate
Two weeks ago, when people still left their homes and New Yorkers took the subway to work, Thomas Shim and Evan Choi snuck from station to station pasting up posters. With the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) logo stamped in the upper right corner and the familiar phrase “Service Information” emblazoned across the top, the posters looked like official public notices from the city agency that operates one of the world’s most busiest commuter systems.
Featuring colors from the Chinese, Korean and Japanese flags, the official-looking announcements tell riders: “No ignorance, racism, or xenophobia allowed at this station at any time.”
11:29 a.m.: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo mandates that 100% of workforce must work from home, excluding essential services
9:55 a.m.: Disney’s Onward available for digital purchase tonight as the coronavirus shutters theaters
Disney’s latest Pixar film, Onward, opened in theaters just two weeks ago, but the company is already making it available for digital purchase tonight, making it the latest current release to quickly migrate to video-on-demand platforms as the novel coronavirus’ spread wipes out traditional movie theater attendance.
The film, which follows the adventures of two elf brothers voiced by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt, will be available to purchase on digital platforms for $19.99 beginning at 8 p.m. ET, Disney said this morning.
It will then be released on Disney’s streaming service Disney+ just two weeks from now, on April 3.
9:19 a.m.: 7-eleven says it expects to hire 20,000 to meet increased demand during pandemic
9:18 a.m.: The Scripps National Spelling Bee, which was to be held on May 24 in Maryland, has been canceled
While it may be rescheduled for later in the year, organizers did not commit to a new date, according to the Associated Press.
8:15 a.m.: Bed Bath & Beyond is temporarily closing 800 stores through April 3, 2020
The retailer is keeping open stores that carry meaningful amounts of essential items, such as cleaning supplies, health, wellness and personal care products. The stores that remain open will operate
March 19, 2020
8:38 p.m.: Dr. Anthony Fauci makes coronavirus plea live on Facebook
On Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg interviewed Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. During the interview, Fauci asked young people to “to please understand that you play a major role in ultimately containing this infection by not being careless and listening to the recommendations of physical separation.”
The 38-minute conversation, which drew 1.1 million views and more than 31,000 shares, was a significant move by Facebook, which has struggled to contain the spread of misinformation about the coronavirus outbreak on its platform. At the same time, Facebook has promoted reliable information from public health authorities such as the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control, which houses Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
8:38 p.m.: Walmart will add 150,000 jobs and hand out special cash bonuses to hourly employees in coming weeks
The retail giant announced today that it will hire 150,000 temporary workers for its stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers.
Current employees will receive special cash bonuses—$300 for full-time employees and $150 for part-time. The retailer will also be fast-tracking Q1 bonuses for store, club and supply chain associates, which will be paid out in April instead of May. The total amount of bonuses will add up to nearly $550 million.
4:13 p.m.: Amazon halts Prime Pantry grocery delivery service in order to restock and fulfill open orders
3:50 p.m.: Airlines are asking for billions in bailout money—and so is everyone else
As talks between the White House, Congress and America’s C-suite intensify with the spread of the coronavirus, the U.S. airline industry is poised for a bailout. But while the size and scale of the coronavirus epidemic are unprecedented, the industry is no stranger to the legislative halls of Washington, D.C.—after 9/11, the airline industry saw losses of roughly $34 billion.
Now, with the coronavirus expected to cost the industry as much as $113 billion, airline leaders and their lobbyists are “optimistic” that the industry will be receiving help once again in some form.
2:58 p.m.: Nonprofits launch programs to support restaurant workers as coronavirus decimates industry
While restaurant workers wait and hope for government assistance, nonprofits across the country in the food and beverage space are shifting their efforts to help those directly affected by the pandemic as immediately as they can. Many of them specialize in crisis relief but, until now, most of their efforts have been regional and focused on finite crises, like natural disasters. The coronavirus pandemic finds these organizations expanding their programs as much as possible, while potentially dealing directly with job losses for themselves, their friends and their loved ones.
2:23 p.m.: Netflix is reducing traffic on European networks by 25% to ensure smooth functioning of the internet during the Covid-19 crisis
1:35 p.m.: Companies are giving away everything they used to sell
Giveaways range from toilet paper, hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes to internet services, storage units and hamburgers. But where does charity end and marketing begin?
1:20 p.m.: Zoom has become the go-to king of the quarantine economy
The videoconferencing company’s stock price has nearly doubled since the start of the outbreak in December. It’s now worth more than Uber and Lyft combined, nearing the combined value of the four big U.S. airlines.
11:00 a.m.: The 24th annual Webby Awards, which was scheduled for May 11 in New York, has been canceled
The Webby Awards recognize and honor the best of the internet. Nominees will be announced in the coming weeks, followed by public voting. The new schedule will be released in the days ahead, and the plan is to hold an internet celebration and give the winners the chance to deliver the event’s trademark five-word speeches.
10:48 a.m.: Austin-based startup Everlywell says it will have at-home test kits for Covid-19 ready by Monday
The test kit will cost $135 at no profit to Everlywell, the company said in a blog post, and results will be available securely and digitally “within days.” It expects to have tests for a quarter million people weekly.
9:12 a.m.: ESPN revives The Ocho, Hallmark sets Christmas marathon as networks shake up schedules
This morning, a pair of cable networks announced they would be shaking up their weekend schedules for marathons of comfort-food programming. ESPN is bringing back ESPN8: The Ocho, its annual roundup of “seldom seen sports,” on Sunday, while Hallmark Channel will air a We Need a Little Christmas marathon of holiday movies.
6:43 a.m.: As anxiety over the coronavirus grows, meditation apps see a spike in downloads
Apple’s App Store is currently featuring a guided meditation section on its homepage, encouraging users to “find time for self-care.” Calm, a meditation app, is the second most-downloaded health and fitness app in the store, while Headspace, another mediation app, is sixth.
2:18 a.m.: Rolex shuts all plants and prepares for its worst year ever
1:21 a.m.: An Amazon warehouse worker in Queens, New York, has tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus
The facility temporarily closed for additional sanitation.
March 18, 2020
9:48 p.m.: Conan will be first late-night show to resume full-length episodes
Conan O’Brien is the latest host to figure out a way to keep making new content after all the late-night shows temporarily suspended production amid the growing Covid-19 pandemic.
But while Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel have been filming 10-minute segments from their respective homes, O’Brien will be producing full-length episodes of his TBS show, Conan.
7:22 p.m.: HBO Max delays Friends reunion but still hopes to film in time for May launch
As Hollywood hunkers down amid the coronavirus pandemic, TV and film production is grinding to a halt. That now includes the Friends cast reunion for HBO Max. But while the special has been delayed, WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming service still plans to film the program in time for its launch in May.
7:06 p.m.: Ecommerce platform Mercado Libre changes its logo from a handshake to an elbow bump
Latin America’s largest ecommerce platform, Mercado Libre, is using its most central design element to make a statement about stemming the global outbreak of Covid-19.
Agency Gut Buenos Aires has redesigned the site’s logo to replace its longtime handshake with an elbow bump, symbolizing the small daily changes required to create “social distance” that helps limit the spread of the coronavirus that’s been rapidly expanding around the world.
5:20 p.m.: Media organizations see a spike in traffic due to the popularity of coronavirus coverage among readers
While media execs aren’t eager to discuss the way their companies are planning to profit off of the pandemic, page views and subscriptions seem to be up across the board for publishers.
5:03 p.m.: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and HUD suspend all foreclosures and evictions for 60 days
4:52 p.m.: To support quarantined readers, Scribd offers 30 days of free access to its library of books and audiobooks, no credit card required
4:25 p.m.: Agency freelancers face uncertainty as marketers press pause amid pandemic
Agencies, beholden to their clients, are grappling with the cancellations, delays and changes marketers are putting in place because of the new coronavirus. While agency employees, many of whom are working from home for the foreseeable future, are no doubt feeling the impact, it’s freelancers who are left wondering where their next gig—and paycheck—will come from.
3:39 p.m.: Fox Corp. Offers Free Nationwide Access to Fox News Channel During Pandemic
In addition to making Fox News available to the entire nation, regardless of whether users have a cable or satellite subscription, the company said it will also provide access to its Fox Television Stations around the country for latest news and updates during the Covid-19 pandemic.
3:33 p.m.: JPMorgan Chase will close 20% of its branches and reduce staff in the remaining branches in response to the pandemic
2:43 p.m.: Disney points live sports advertisers to Good Morning America, Freeform and other ESPN content
Late last week, TV found itself in “uncharted territory” as networks began to navigate the ad sales fallout of sports cancellations, as well as other seismic ripples as a result of the growing Covid-19 pandemic.
Now, media companies have begun to formulate their short-term ad sales strategies, with Disney becoming the first to publicly share its plans. They include pointing its live sports advertisers to other programming in its portfolio, including Good Morning America and its Freeform original series.
1:18 p.m.: General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler to shut down all U.S. auto factories due to the new coronavirus, according to reports
Details are to be announced later this afternoon, CNBC reported. This follows announcements by both Honda and BMW that the carmakers are in the process of closing their factories in the U.S. and Europe due to an anticipated decline in the demand for cars during the pandemic. Honda’s U.S. shutdown scheduled to begin on March 23 and last just six days, while BMW said that its plants would be offline until mid-April.
12:23 p.m.: Streamers offer up early releases and promotions to woo homebound audiences
Hulu released the first three episodes of Little Fires Everywhere, a new series on the streaming service, several hours early. It follows in the footsteps of Disney+, which made Frozen 2 available months before originally planned. Other film studios are also moving up the digital release of movies like Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Birds of Prey, Just Mercy and The Gentleman, making them available for in-home purchases earlier than expected.
Many streaming services, such as AMC Networks’ Shudder, Acorn TV, Sundance Now and UMC are extending the free trial period from a week to a month.
12:04 p.m.: Airline industry CEOs pledge to give up their salaries or take pay cuts during the pandemic
But when the average CEO earns more than 271 times their average employee, the gesture is more symbolic than anything else.
11:55 a.m.: With handshakes on hold, media ad sales teams must navigate a new world order
Sellers say that while videoconferencing tools like Zoom or Uberconference are fine for the more transactional conversations like pitches or RFPs, nothing beats the in-person meeting.
11:10 a.m.: Amobee and Universal McCann spur an initiative to buy digital ad space to fill units with public service announcements around coronavirus
The companies have come together to serve public service announcements as publishers are being hit by rampant keyword blocking around the virus and other terms associated with it.
9:17 a.m.: Cannes Lions has postponed the International Festival of Creativity until Oct. 26-30. The awards festival was planned for June 22-26
After announcing a contingency plan on March 11, Cannes Lions announced today that the weeklong festival has been officially postponed until October in Cannes, France.
France has been a hotspot for the new coronavirus, with the country on a strict 15-day lockdown as of midday Tuesday. Residents are required to have a written justification in order to leave their homes, which is permitted only for essential purposes, and face fines for violations. As of Tuesday, the French government said there were more than 7,700 confirmed cases in the country and 175 deaths.
8:58 a.m.: The Weather Channel rolls out hourly educational programming and myth-busting Covid-19 spots
TWC is the only live TV network run by scientists, making it a valuable resource during the pandemic. To address the needs of a viewership whose routines have been upended, the network is leaning into kid-focused educational programming and a focus on how people can keep themselves and their families safe.
12:39 a.m.: Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon join Stephen Colbert in airing at-home monologues in lieu of canceled late shows
All the late-night shows have temporarily suspended production amid the growing coronavirus pandemic, but on Tuesday night, Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon both followed Stephen Colbert’s lead and produced makeshift monologues from their respective homes.
Now, all three 11:30 p.m. broadcast hosts have returned to the airwaves—at least digitally—to entertain anxious viewers as the crisis continues to spread.
March 17, 2020
9:06 p.m.: NASCAR and iRacing announce eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series
The simulation-style showcase will kick off Sunday and include competitors from the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series and a group of NASCAR dignitaries.
8:58 p.m.: CBS brings together more than 50 of its stars for a new on-air and social media campaign, “We’re All in This Together”
A 60-second spot debuted during NCIS, featuring CBS and CBS All Access stars like Young Sheldon’s Iain Armitage, Star Trek: Discovery’s Sonequa Martin-Green, NCIS: Los Angeles’ LL Cool J, The Amazing Race’s Phil Keoghan and CBS This Morning’s Gayle King.
6:38 p.m.: Macy’s will temporarily close all of its stores—including Bloomingdale’s, Bluemercury, Macy’s Backstage, Bloomingdales the Outlet and Market by Macy’s—through March 31
5:33 p.m.: Burger King’s restaurants in the United States will give away two free kids meals per every adult meal ordered online
With most U.S. schools closed until at least the end of the month, many parents and caretakers of children are now left with the additional task of providing breakfast and lunch, two meals that are often taken care of by public schools for qualifying students. In an effort to ease the burden, Burger King restaurants in the United States will give away two free kids meals per adult meal ordered online or through Burger King’s mobile app.
4:15 p.m.: Uber and Lyft are suspending their carpool features in the U.S. and Canada
Uber executive Andrew Macdonald went on Twitter this morning to announce the halt of its Pool option in the United States and Canada, explaining that the decision was made to help flatten the curve of the coronavirus spread in the communities and cities the company serves.
Both Uber and Lyft will continue to operate their regular ride services for now, and UberEats is still running.
3:31 p.m.: Each MLB team will commit $1 million to ballpark employees who will otherwise not be paid due to the regular baseball season’s postponement
3:14 p.m.: Telemundo and Billboard announce postponement of the upcoming Billboard Latin Music Awards and the LatinFest+ conference
Following the Nevada Governor’s recommendations to limit the size of public gatherings for the prevention and containment of Covid-19, Telemundo and Billboard announced they will postpone the upcoming Billboard Latin Music Awards, previously scheduled to air live on Telemundo on April 23 from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The LatinFest+ conference which was scheduled for April 20-23 at The Venetian will also be postponed.
2:55: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy orders the closure of all indoor malls and amusement centers in the state, effective 8 p.m. today
12:42 p.m.: Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico will be closed for the next two weeks
10:15 a.m.: All AMC Theatres locations are now closed for at least the next 6-12 weeks
The theater chain is going dark for at least the next 6-12 weeks. AMC Stubs A-List memberships will be suspended until the theaters reopen.
9:30 a.m.: Sales and searches for bidets are soaring amid toilet paper shortages
Once the novel coronavirus outbreak emerged in the United States, Americans across the country began panic buying and stockpiling on toilet paper and other household necessities. As major retailers—both online and offline—have suffered shortages, folks have turned to another hygienic alternative that does not require paper products to stay clean: bidets.
Per a spokesperson for Tushy (stylized TUSHY), which defines itself as “the modern bathroom brand on a mission to make bidets mainstream in America,” they sold out their portable and attachable bidet devices last Friday with “little to no marketing in the process.”
Why? Google Trends shows that within the past two weeks, sales and searches for bidets have skyrocketed. Though they have been extensively marketing since their launch in 2015, the Tushy team realized that they could pause their marketing efforts and let the demand for bidets engage consumers organically. It worked: Tushy’s products were selling 10x as fast as they were prior to toilet paper scarcity.
Tushy is now accepting pre-orders that ship on April 20.
8:46 a.m.: Peloton extends its free offer trial from 30 days to 90 days
If you’re looking for a way to stay healthy and toned throughout social distancing and quarantine protocols, Peloton is extending its free offer trial for new subscribers from 30 days to 90 days. The app does not require people to own a Peloton-branded treadmill or bike to participate in its many on-demand and live training classes.
8:31 a.m.: The NFL makes changes to this year’s draft
The National Football League made it official: This year’s NFL Draft will still take place the same weekend, but without the usual studio audience and live events scheduled every year. “The NFL is exploring innovative options for how the process will be conducted and will provide that information as it becomes available,” the league said in a statement. The draft won’t be held in Las Vegas as previously planned.
8:29 a.m.: Regal announces it’s closing all movie theaters, effective today
The theater chain is shutting down indefinitely, and will suspend payments for all unlimited members until the theaters reopen.
8:10 a.m.: McDonald’s is adjusting its operations in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, closing its dining rooms and kid’s playgrounds in the U.S.
Out of caution, McDonald’s is closing its dining rooms and children’s play spaces across the United States to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Stores will continue to serve Big Macs, Happy Meals, Chicken Mcnuggets, and all of their other menu items through takeout, drive-throughs and delivery. Other restaurants that have followed similar measures in light of the pandemic include Starbucks, Shake Shack and Chick-fil-A.
March 16, 2020
4:40 p.m.: Production for FX’s fourth season of Fargo and ABC’s sixteenth season of The Bachelorette has been postponed
4:31 p.m.: Markets remain volatile as the Federal Reserve’s stimulus efforts fail to assuage Wall Street’s coronavirus anxiety
Within the first minute of trading today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 2,250 points (9.7%), and the S&P 500 spiraled downward by so much (8.1%), triggering a market-wide circuit breaker, which which halted trading by 15 minutes.
By the end of the day’s trading session, all three of the major stock indexes were down between 12 and 13%.
This performance comes only days after the Federal Reserve Bank announced that it would offer $1.5 trillion in short-term loans, would implement another emergency cut, reducing its main interest rates to 0%-0.25%, and would let banks borrow from the discount window for up to 90 days.
The Chloe Volatility Index, the preferred gauge of fear and stress on the trading floor, leapt to a level of 76. In comparison, the highest the VIX has reached since its launch in 1993 was an intraday level of 89.53 on October 24, 2008.
4:15 p.m.: So far, at least 25 major U.S. retailers have temporarily shuttered their brick-and-mortar stores in response to the coronavirus pandemic
The following brands will cease operations at their stores during the outbreak: Abercrombie & Fitch, All Birds, Apple, Aritzia, Away, Buck Mason, Columbia Sportswear, Everlane, Gap, Glossier, Levi Strauss & Co., Lululemon, Lush Cosmetics, Neighborhood Goods, Nike, Outdoor Voices, Patagonia, Peloton, Reformation, REI, Rent the Runway, Under Armour, Urban Outfitters, VF Corp. and Warby Parker.
Each retailer has different opening dates already scheduled (or to be announced), and some, such as Everlane and Away, will continue their operations online.
2:45 p.m.: U-Haul is offering 30 days of free self-storage to new customers who are college students amid coronavirus outbreak
10:04 a.m.: Staffer on the Today Show’s third-hour team has tested positive for Covid-19
An employee based at 30 Rockefeller Plaza working for the Today Show’s third-hour team (9 a.m.) has tested positive for Covid-19, NBC News president Noah Oppenheim reported to his staff in a memo last night.
The unnamed colleague is apparently only experiencing mild symptoms but as a precaution, co-hosts Craig Melvin and Al Roker took the morning off today while NBC News maps that staffer’s close contacts and, once identified, asks them to self-isolate.
Per the memo, NBC News will undergo multiple deep cleanings and the news division asked the third-hour editorial team to work from home today.
10:00 a.m.: iHeartRadio Music Awards, scheduled to air March 29 on Fox, have been postponed
Due to the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles closing for events through at least March 31, the 2020 iHeartRadio Music Awards, scheduled to air March 29 on Fox live from the Shrine’s stage, have been postponed.
Per a release sent by the award ceremony’s organizers, iHeartMedia and Fox are working out when the rescheduled date and time will be.
Refunds are being issued to ticketed guests and voting for the eight fan-voted categories will continue until 8 p.m. E.T. until next Monday, March 23.
9:57 a.m.: NCM 2020/21 will be a series of focused meetings with brand and agency decision makers, rather than an upfront presentation
National CineMedia’s had announced that it was forgoing in-person presentation upfront tradition for agency meetings prior to the coronavirus outbreak. Currently, that strategy remains the same, whether those meetings be conducted virtually or in-person.
9:53 a.m.: Norwegian Airlines cancels 85% of its flights and temporarily lays off 90% of its workforce
Due to stagnating demand, quarantines and travel bans, Norwegian Airlines will gradually cancel 85% of its flights and will temporarily lay off most of its workforce, an estimated 7,300 employees that includes pilots, cabin crew, maintenance and administrative staff.
Per CEO Jacob Schram of Norwegian, the company will work closely with authorities to arrange flights for the benefit of passengers who may be left stranded if they cannot immediately return to their home destinations prior to the route changes and massive cancellations.
“It is indeed with a heavy heart we have to temporarily lay off more than 7,300 of our colleagues, but we unfortunately have no choice. However, I want to emphasize that this is temporary, because when the world returns to normalcy my goal is to keep as many of our dedicated colleagues as possible,” continued Schram.
March 13, 2020
1:54 p.m.: Delta is making major business decisions amid the coronavirus outbreak, including offering “voluntary, short-term, unpaid” leaves for its employees
Per Delta CEO Ed Bastian, the speed of the demand fall-off is “unlike anything” the airline has ever seen and is now under pressure to make major business decisions, starting first by cutting costs. Delta will be reducing capital expenditures by at least $2 billion for the rest of 2020 to preserve cash and preserve the company.
The company will reduce capacity in the next few months by 40% and will substantially reduce its fleet, defer new aircraft deliveries and reduce the use of consultants and contractors.
Delta will also offer “voluntary, short-term, unpaid” leaves for its employees, as well as an immediate hiring freeze.
1:45 p.m.: Comcast and AT&T are offering financial assistance for qualifying families by providing discounts and waiving fees
During the coronavirus outbreak, Comcast will be offering two months of free internet services for low-income, qualifying households as part of their Internet Essentials program. They will also increase internet speeds for Internet Essentials customers.
AT&T is responding to the Covid-19 situation by waiving their data overage fees to all their customers, and will continue to provide internet for $10 a month for low-income, qualifying households.
11:55 a.m.: NASCAR has decided to postpone the race events at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend and Homestead-Miami Speedway next weekend
10:45 a.m.: Fox suspending production of FS1 daily studio shows for at least the next week
10:10 a.m.: The Masters, originally scheduled for April 9-12 at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, has been postponed and will be rescheduled
10:08 a.m.: Snapchat has postponed its Partner Summit
The night of March 9, we received word that Snap’s second annual publishing and advertising conference, the Snap Partner Summit, would drop its in-person plans and opt for a virtual alternative, an online-only event. Invitees had been asked to tune into Snap.com at 10:30 a.m. PT on April 2 to hear the anticipated product announcements and CEO Evan Spiegel’s keynote.
The one-day tech presentation was originally slated for April 2 at ROW DTLA in Downtown Los Angeles.
Now, Snapchat has postponed its Partner Summit, pulling the plug on the live stream option.
March 12, 2020
9:39 p.m.: Disney cancels its upfront and Hulu’s NewFront
8:01 p.m.: The 50th Anniversary L.A. Pride Festival and Parade in West Hollywood, slated to run June 12-14, has been postponed
Organizers of the commemorative L.A. Pride Festival and Parade in West Hollywood, California, set to take place June 12-14 to celebrate the huge event’s 50th anniversary, have decided to postpone and assess the coronavirus pandemic situation further before giving out scheduling details.
The City of West Hollywood has banned all non-essential events and meetings that cannot accommodate space for social distancing of at least six feet per person until June 30.
7:47 p.m.: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night With Seth Meyers—both taped at NBC’s studios in New York City—will forego the “fanless” audience option and will go dark next week instead, possibly until March 30
7:35 p.m.: Disney California Adventure, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disneyland Paris Resort and Disney Cruise Line will suspend operations this weekend until the end of the month
Though there have been no confirmed or reported cases of the coronavirus at any of the Walt Disney Company parks and properties, the entertainment gargantuan has officially proceeded with both the closure of its U.S. theme parks and properties in California and Florida, and its European theme park, Disneyland Paris.
Disney hotels in Orlando and in Paris will remain open until further notice, as well as Disney Springs and Disney Village.
“Cast members,” as Disney’s theme park employees are called, will be paid during the closure period, which begins at the close of business on Sunday, March 15.
All employees—including those at the Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Television, ESPN, Directo-to-Consumer, Parks, Experiences and Products—are all being asked to work from home if they are able to.
The House of Mouse’s stock shares fell 13% as the closure was announced.
6:21 p.m.: WarnerMedia/Xandr, Discovery, Fox and The CW have all ditched their May upfront event plans
4:27 p.m.: Disneyland Park in California, for the sixth time in the amusement park’s 65-year history, will fully suspend all operations
4:17 p.m.: The NCAA has pulled the plug on March Madness 2020
The Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships, have all been canceled due to the evolving public health threat posed by Covid-19.
3:11 p.m.: MLB will suspend spring training and delay the beginning of the regular season by two weeks
Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. has officially announced the suspension of spring training and has delayed 2020 Opening Day by at least two weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic creating a national—and global—emergency. The MLB will continue to evaluate the ongoing outbreak leading up to the start of the season, and will determine how those events will affect the 2020 season’s scheduling.
The MLB and the 30 Clubs will announce those changes—if they are warranted—at “an appropriate time” with the “hope of resuming normal operations as soon as possible,” Manfred, Jr.’s statement read.
2:41 p.m.: ViacomCBS and NBCUniversal have scrapped their upfront events and opted for digital-only alternatives
2:18 p.m.: Due to the coronavirus, the ANA Media Conference, set for March 25-27 at the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa in Aventura, has been canceled
2:07 p.m.: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announces that gatherings of 500 people or more will be banned
2:06 p.m.: Home Depot is implementing a purchase limit of 10 face masks per person
Per a spokesperson for Home Depot, the home improvement retailer has witnessed an increased demand for face masks, hand sanitizers and other cleaning supplies in their stores and online. Merchandising and supply chains are working “very hard” to replenish these items as quickly as possible, and Home Depot has been restocking as much as possible on a regular basis.
However, due to the fact that several contractors and laborers cannot complete their work gigs legally without face masks, Home Depot has implemented a purchase limit of 10 face masks per person.
2:05 p.m.: Both the nominee announcements and the ceremonies for the 2020 James Beard Awards have been postponed
1:45 p.m.: NASCAR will hold its upcoming races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway without spectators—future scheduling beyond these two race events is TBD
12:58 p.m.: The NHL will suspend its season effectively immediately until further notice
The official statement from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman states that, following last night’s news that Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus, the NGL made the decision to suspend its season effectively immediately beginning with tonight’s games until further notice.
“Given that our leagues share so many facilities and locker rooms and it now seems likely that some member of the NHL community would test positive at some point—it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time,” Bettman wrote.
12:33 p.m.: Design Week Portland, originally scheduled for April 15-18, is now postponed to August 1-8
In light of Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s announcement that no gatherings of more than 250 people will be allowed in the state for the next month to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, the organizers of Design Week Portland believe that postponing is the best course of action.
Full refunds for tickets for canceled events will be honored, as well as refunds for those who cannot attend the new dates.
12:32 p.m.: Univision journalist Jorge Ramos will not moderate the Democratic debate due to possible coronavirus exposure (and the debate has been moved from Arizona to Washington, D.C.)
CNN has moved the Democratic debate, originally scheduled to take place in Arizona this Sunday, to the network’s studio in Washington, D.C. It will not have a live studio audience.
Additionally, Univision journalist Jorge Ramos has bowed out of the debate due to possible coronavirus exposure. Ramos was in direct proximity with someone who tested positive for coronavirus, and though the journalist is asymptomatic, he is taking an “abundance of caution.”
CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash are still moderating the debate.
12:30 p.m.: Los Angeles-based late night shows Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Late Late Show with James Corden will start taping without studio audiences beginning March 16
12:17 p.m.: The worldwide theatrical release of the ninth installment of Universal Pictures’ Fast and the Furious franchise (F9) will be moved from May 22, 2020 to April 2, 2021
12:09 p.m.: Starting Friday, the PGA Tour will not allow spectators to attend any tournaments until further notice
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan announced that while all tournaments in the near future will go on as planned, all will be “fanless” starting this Friday as a preventative action amid coronavirus concerns.
Per Monahan he has been in “constant communication” with local health officials, as well as notorious golf enthusiasts President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. .
Recently, the LPGA held the Daikin Orchid Ladies Golf Tournament in Okinawa from March 5-8 without fans.
11 a.m.: Major League Soccer will suspend its season effective immediately for the next 30 days
8:55 a.m.: CBS This Morning is broadcasting from D.C. after the CBS Broadcast Center was shut down following two positive coronavirus tests for CBS News employees
Due to two positive coronavirus tests for CBS News Employees based out of the network’s Broadcast Center in New York on West 57th Street, the office and studio space was shut down and CBS This Morning was moved to Washington, D.C.
CBS News president Susan Zirinsky confirmed the Covid-19 cases to staff late Wednesday afternoon. The decision to take news production down I-95—and to disinfect the NYC building—was made promptly thereafter.
It is unclear when CBS This Morning will return to its home in Manhattan.
8:54 a.m.: Vikings Cruises will cancel all operations until May 1; Carnival’s Princess Cruises will suspend operations until May 10
March 11, 2020
9:41 p.m.: Following tonight’s games, the NBA will suspend the rest of the season
A player on the Utah Jazz tested positive for Covid-19. The result came in shortly before tonight’s game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Consequently, that game was canceled—and the rest of the NBA season was suspended until further notice.
6:26 p.m.: The 31st GLAAD Media Awards have been canceled next week in New York City
Following new guidance from New York City officials around Covid-19, GLAAD (the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization), has officially announced the cancelation of the 31st GLAAD Media Awards. The ceremony was set to take place on March 19 in New York City, honoring 175 nominees in 30 award categories.
The GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles, which is scheduled to take place on April 16, has yet to be canceled.
5:02 p.m.: NBC News will suspend live audiences from its programming starting March 12 and New York late night shows will start taping without a studio audience beginning March 16
Per guidance from New York City officials, NBC News will suspend live audiences from its programming starting March 12 in order to decrease the spread of the coronavirus. This will affect the Today and Today with Hoda & Jenna & Friends, as audiences will no longer be allowed to gather at the Today plaza.
Accordingly, most late night shows taped in New York City will not have a studio audience beginning on March 16. This includes The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night With Seth Meyers, Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, The Daily Show With Trevor Noah and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.
The announcements come a day after Walt Disney Television suspended live audiences from its ABC shows.
4:31 p.m.: The NCAA is going “fanless” to mitigate the transmission of Covid-19
The NCAA Covid-19 Advisory Panel and the NCAA President Mark Emmert released statements today, announcing that the decision to make all championship games henceforth “fanless,” including the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments (also known as March Madness). Only essential staff and family (in limitation) will be allowed to attend.
“We recognize the opportunity to compete in an NCAA national championship is an experience of a lifetime for the students and their families. Today, we will move forward and conduct championships consistent with the current information and will continue to monitor and make adjustments as needed,” Emmert’s statement concluded.
4:17 p.m.: All three major stock indices tanked into bear market territory today—the Dow, for the first time in 11 years, ends its bull market run
The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 1,465 points (5.9%) at the close of the day’s volatile trading session, officially putting the stock index in “bear market.” That means that the Dow suffered a decline of at least 20% from its recent high this calendar year, which was on Feb. 12.
Anxieties stirred by the coronavirus outbreak have been weighing heavily on the markets. The three major stock indices were rattled by rapid declines after the World Health Organization declared the highly contagious illness a pandemic.
The S&P 500 closed with a loss of 4.9% and Nasdaq closed with a loss of 4.7%.
4:05 p.m.: New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade has been canceled
3 p.m.: The Ivy League cancels all athletics practices, competition and events through the remainder of the spring semester
2:08 p.m.: The National Association of Broadcasters’ 2020 trade show, slated to be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center from April 18-22, is canceled
NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith today issued a letter to the NAB Show community regarding plans for the NAB Show in light of coronavirus concerns: In short, it won’t be happening as planned this April at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Per Smith, the organization is “committed to exploring all possible alternatives,” which may mean a digital-only substitute event.
1:03 p.m.: YouTube will stop demonetizing coronavirus-related videos
In early February, YouTube announced that it would not allow ads to run prior to or during videos about the novel coronavirus due to the outbreak being classified as “sensitive” content, which is automatically banned from monetization.
However, after angering several creators, YouTube has changed its stance on the matter and will begin running ads again on coronavirus-related videos. Over the coming weeks, creators and news organizations will get those videos monetized.
Per an open letter penned by YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, the company is reversing its advertising ban because it “wants to make sure news organizations and creators can continue producing quality videos in a sustainable way.”
12:55 p.m.: YouTube’s Brandcast, an annual presentation for advertisers, will be digital-only and stream on YouTube
As the Interactive Advertising Bureau encourages companies to stream this year’s NewsFronts, YouTube’s Brandcast will showcase its presentation on the most obvious digital platform: its own.
YouTube’s pivot to an online NewFront versus a traditional live, in-person presentation makes the company the first to shift its plans in the wake of growing concerns about the coronavirus. The live version of Brandcast was originally scheduled for April 30.
11:11 a.m.: The Entertainment Software Association’s annual video game trade show E3 has been canceled due to ongoing coronavirus concerns
A source from the Electronic Entertainment Expo, regarded as the foremost trade event of the year for the video game industry, told Bloomberg last night that the organizers were calling off the two-day program. E3 was set to take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center in June, and several critical video game announcements were expected to be made with the upcoming launches of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, two brands beloved by Gen Zs and millennials.
This morning, the Entertainment Software Association made the official announcement, stating that it will be exploring online experience alternatives for June 2020 and will be providing full refunds for its exhibitors and more than 66,000 attendees.
10:27 a.m.: Amazon pulls the plug on its AWS Summit scheduled for April 14 at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, shifts to plan B: a “fully digital experience” sometime in May
10:00 a.m.: Chicago cancels its St. Patrick’s Day parade
8:10 a.m.: Cannes Lions announces contingency dates
Cannes Lions, which is slated for June 22-26, is still on—for now. But the festival announced it will make a decision by April 15 on whether to postpone it until October 26-30.
7:32 a.m.: Walmart enacts emergency leave policy that allows employees to take time off if they fear the spread of coronavirus
Due to these “unprecedented and uncharted times,” Walmart’s senior vice president of U.S. benefits Adam Stavisky told the Associated Press that the multinational retail colossus would enact an emergency leave policy for its 1.4 million hourly workers across the country.
This revised policy would allow U.S. workers to take time off without penalty if they fear contagion of the Covid-19. The policy would allow both hourly workers that work in any Walmart facility or property to receive up to two weeks pay if they are required to remain in quarantine, and hourly workers with a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus to receive up to two weeks of pay.
Additional pay may be provided for up to 26 weeks for hourly workers if they cannot return to work after those initial two weeks. (Per the World Health Organization, people with more severe cases of the coronavirus may take three to six weeks to recover, whereas those with more mild illnesses recover in approximately 14 days.)
Walmart stores remain open and the company has reinforced its cleaning and sanitizing protocols.
7:27 a.m.: After 40 years giving out gratuitous scoops on Free Cone Day, Ben & Jerry’s sweet spring tradition will go on a temporary hiatus
Folks all over the country gather to get a free scoop from Ben & Jerry’s every spring—typically on the second Tuesday of April—to mark the end of winter and to celebrate the official start of ice cream weather.
The inaugural Free Cone Day took place on May 5, 1979, the first anniversary staffers commemorated at the company’s earliest outpost in downtown Burlington, Vermont.
This year, the 40-year-old tradition will go on a temporary hiatus amid the emergence of Covid-19 across the United States. The brand that popularized grocery-available pints with kooky names and unusual toppings will be rescheduling the tradition for a later date.
Ben & Jerry’s shops will remain open.
March 10, 2020
8:16 p.m.: Democratic debate will not feature a live audience
The Democratic National Committee will hold Sunday’s debate between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders in Arizona without a live audience. The debate will air on CNN and Univision.
7:23 p.m.: Coachella and Stagecoach have officially been rescheduled for October
Goldenvoice, the AEG subsidiary that organizes Coachella and Stagecoach, has announced the postponement of the two festivals.
Coachella Music and Arts Festival, originally planned for the two consecutive weekends of April 11 and April 17, will now take place on two consecutive weekends in the fall: October 9-11 and October 16-18.
Stagecoach Music Festival, originally planned for the weekend of April 24-26, has been rescheduled to the weekend of October 23-25.
It is unclear whether or not the talent or venue for both festivals will remain the same.
All purchases for the April dates will be honored for the rescheduled October dates and purchasers will be notified by Friday on how to obtain a refund if they are unable to attend the new dates.
6:21 p.m.: Google tells its more than 100,000 North American employees to work from home until April 10
Google, which previously had given its employees the option to work from home and had prohibited external visitors in its offices, has now recommended that all of its North American employees work from home until April 10. The company’s goal is to reduce the density of people in its offices to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.
6:17 p.m.: The United Airlines Half Marathon in New York City, set to take place this Sunday, has been canceled
4:39 p.m.: Roth Capital Conference will be conducted virtually
4:34 p.m.: Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden cancel rallies set for this evening in Cleveland
Both Democratic presidential candidates have canceled campaign rallies planned for tonight in Cleveland due to concerns about the novel coronavirus. Per Bernie Sanders’ campaign communications director Mike Casca, “all future Bernie 2020 events will be evaluated on a case by case basis.”
The debate scheduled for Sunday, March 15 in Phoenix between Sanders and Joe Biden is scheduled to proceed for now.
4:05 p.m.: LeBron James abandons his initial stance on playing “fanless” games
Four days ago, Lakers forward LeBron James told the he would not play in a game that he would not play “fanless” games in an empty stadium. Fast-forward to today, and James has abandoned his initial stance, stating that he will do what is “in the best interest” of the NBA and for the safety of his fellow teammates.
In response to the coronavirus outbreak, the league has limited in-person media access to players by closing locker rooms, suspending “scrums,” and have implemented a new policy for group sessions that further limits the interaction media has with their interview subjects: reporters must remain at least six feet away from the players.
3:37 p.m.: A Waffle House employee tested positive for coronavirus, prompting shutdown of operations at the Georgia-based store
A Waffle House employee tested positive for coronavirus at a Canton, Georgia store, and the 1849 Marietta Highway location will remain closed until further notice. 12 employees are under self-quarantine, and those who are hourly staffers will be paid while they are in quarantine.
One of the precautionary health measures Waffle House is taking is removing condiment caddies from the tables.
3:16 p.m.: New York City’s public officials are having trouble keeping up with the intense surge of new coronavirus cases
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan that public officials having trouble keeping up with the speed in which cases are being confirmed, which is why they cannot release a”detailed case breakdown.”
City officials are waiting on 195 test results. The number of confirmed cases so far in the city is 36, and 30 people are in mandatory quarantine.
De Blasio mentioned that city officials are also concerned about blood shortages due to workplace blood drives being canceled.
2:48 p.m.: Effective March 13, Syracuse University will deliver courses digitally
Beginning at the end of Friday, March 13 through at least March 30, Syracuse University will transition all of its residential academic programs to online instruction “and/or other alternative (non-residential) modalities,” a statement issued by the school indicated. Students are being encouraged to not come back to campus after spring break and to take anything they might need to continue their coursework remotely, as well as any personal effects that they may need for a “potential extended period time away from campus.”
All events where attendance will exceed 50 individuals are to be canceled, postponed or conducted virtually.
Syracuse University’s business operations will operate normally and remain open until further notice. Campus student and auxiliary services will also remain open, but will operate with limited services.
2:40 p.m.: The Los Angeles Times’ Festival of Books and its Food Bowl have both been postponed, moving events from late spring to fall
11:30 a.m.: The Ivy League has canceled all of its upcoming men’s and women’s basketball tournaments
All upcoming Ivy League Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments have been canceled. All tickets purchased for these games will be refunded in full.
The League is also enforcing restrictive, in-venue spectator limitations for all other upcoming campus athletics events and canceling all out-of-season practices and competitions.
The Princeton women’s basketball team and the Yale men’s basketball team are the automatic qualifiers for the NCAA Tournaments, which—as of now—will go on as scheduled from March 17 to the first week of April.
10:55 a.m.: D.C.’s Environmental Film Festival, originally planned for March 12-22, will go virtual beginning next week and screen select films online
The Environmental Film Festival in The Nation’s Capital (or DCEFF), has canceled all of its events scheduled for this Thursday to next Sunday due to concerns related to Covid-19. Instead, the festival will be launched virtually next week, allowing for select films to be screened online. The organizers announced that they plan to host a smaller version DCEFF in the fall and will plan other screenings for later in the year.
Those who purchased tickets for any of the festival’s paid events are eligible for a refund.
9:53 a.m.: Hyatt Hotels implements Covid-19 procedures at all properties worldwide
President and CEO of Hyatt Hotels Mark Hoplamazian sent an email today to the “Hyatt family” (rewards members, past hotel guests, staff), reassuring them that providing a safe and hygienic environment in all Hyatt hotels globally is always a top priority.
The hotel will “remain committed to upholding the highest standards of cleanliness” by taking comprehensive, precautionary Covid-19 measures, such as implementing hand sanitizer stations and detailing how to protect against transmission in “high-touch areas.” Global advisory teams that include infectious diseases and occupational health experts have been providing guidance to the chain throughout the virus’s emergence.
Hyatt is waiving cancellation fees for stays through March 31, 2020, residing in or traveling to the following high-risk areas: Greater China, South Korea, Japan and Italy. Guests with fully prepaid Advance Rate Purchase non-refundable reservations who have decided not to travel from March 8 through June 2020 may opt to receive 10,000 World of Hyatt Bonus Points as compensation to use for future travel bookings through the company.
9:37 a.m.: Delta Airlines and American Airlines will be making drastic cuts to their domestic and international capacity
Delta will be cutting international capacity by 20-25% and domestic capacity by 10-15%. American Airlines said that it’ll only be cutting international capacity by 10% and domestic capacity by 7.5%. Late last week, United Airlines announced that it would be cutting international capacity by 20% and JetBlue announced that it’d be cutting its own capacity by 5%.
8:33 a.m.: SXSW, still reeling from the financial blow of the festival’s cancellation, lays off a third of its 175 employees
8:30 a.m.: Olive Garden and Yard House’s parent company, Darden Restaurants, will now offer paid sick leave to all employees
Darden Restaurants, the parent company of full-service dining chain brands such as Olive Garden, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Longhorn Steakhouse, Seasons 52 and Bahama Breeze, will be offering paid sick leave to its nearly 180,000 employees in its more than 1,700 restaurants across the country due to ongoing Covid-19 concerns.
Its employees will accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, and current employees can use their benefits immediately. Their starting balance will be based on the hours worked for the previous 26 weeks. New hires will have to wait for a probationary period of 90 days to begin using their benefits.
Darden Restaurants had reportedly been working on the policy “for a while,” but sped up the process due to the viral outbreak.
8:27 a.m.: All Harvard students will be required to move out of their dorms by March 15 as the university prepares its move toward e-learning
Lawrence S. Bacow, president of Harvard University, sent a statement to students and faculty today announcing that undergraduate and graduate classes will now shift online starting March 23. The goal of e-learning will be to minimize the need to gather and spend time with others in close proximity in spaces such as classrooms, dining halls and residential buildings.
Students will be required to move out of their dorms by March 15, and have been asked to not return from Spring Recess. They will need to meet academic and other university-related requirements remotely until further notice.
Students who need to remain on campus will still receive instruction remotely and “must prepare for severely limited on-campus activities and interactions,” the note said. Bacow also reminded students that Harvard’s counseling and mental health services, as well as its employee assistant program, will still be available to help manage any stress or concerns during this “uncertain” time and transition.
March 9, 2020
11:45 p.m.: Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival and Stagecoach country music festival might be postponed and delayed until October
Coachella, one of the largest music festivals in the world, was originally planned for the weekends of April 10 and 17 and set to take place in Indio, Calif. Stagecoach, an increasingly popular country music festival that also takes place annually, was also slated for an April weekend in Indio.
Now, both festivals’ organizers are in the talks to postpone the music festivals to back-to-back weekends in October—but that’s only if they’re able to retain talent and their representatives, as well as contractors, vendors, sponsors, employees and attendees.
Billboard reported that organizers will know within 48 hours or so whether or not the festivals will be delayed, or canceled altogether for 2020.
9:30 p.m.: The in-person Snap Partner Summit, set to take place on April 2 in Los Angeles, will be converted to an online keynote
Snap’s second annual publishing and advertising conference, the Snap Partner Summit, is shifting its in-person plans and opting for a virtual alternative, an online-only event. Invitees have been asked to tune into Snap.com at 10:30 a.m. PT on April 2 to hear the anticipated product announcements and CEO Evan Spiegel’s keynote. The one-day tech presentation was originally slated for April 2 at ROW DTLA in Downtown Los Angeles.
Last year at the inaugural summit, Snapchat unveiled a plethora of new and forthcoming features for the social platform.
9:05 p.m.: Pearl Jam postpones the North American leg of its Gigaton world tour
Seventeen of the Pearl Jam’s stops throughout the Gigaton world tour—all of its U.S. and Canadian performances, beginning on March 18 through April 19—have been postponed. The Seattle-based rock band announced the postponement with “deep frustration and regret” on its official Twitter account. The band’s hopeful message to their fans was “that they can avoid the harsh negative effects of this and retain their sense of community and take care of one another.”
Current ticket holders will be honored for the new tour dates, which have yet to be confirmed.
7:20 p.m.: Santa Clara County bans all gatherings with over 1,000 attendees
Santa Clara County has implemented a mandatory ban on all events with over 1,000 attendees in light of the county’s first coronavirus-related death. Santa Clara’s law enforcement officials and police departments will be in charge of enforcing the ban.
San Jose Sharks games, as well as other events programmed for San Jose’s SAP Center (Cirque du Soleil performances, a Marc Anthony concert, two Barracuda games), are all subject to the ban.
As of now, the ban will not be enforced at airports or other places/modes of transit, shopping centers or schools.
6:10 p.m.: Though the risk posed by the coronavirus in Boston remains low, the city canceled its St. Patrick’s Day Parade
5:00 p.m.: Coronavirus containment measures will be applied to all of Italy
4:36 p.m.: CVS will enhance patient access protocols to address the Covid-19 outbreak
CVS is enhancing its patient access protocols across the company to address the Covid-19 outbreak in an effort to ensure that patients have a multitude of options when it comes to filling prescriptions.
Effective immediately, fees for home delivery of prescription medications will be waived so that patients can avoid coming to the pharmacy for refills or new prescriptions.
In addition to all Covid-19 diagnostic testing and all telemedicine visits being available with no co-pay, Aetna, a CVS Health company, will now offer 90-day maintenance medication prescriptions for insured and Medicare members. Aetna will also waive early refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications for all members administered through CVS Caremark.
4:34 p.m.: AMC Networks has canceled its live upfront event, originally programmed for March 18
AMC Networks just shut down its upfront event planned for March 18 at New York’s The Shed, hours after A+E Networks canceled its live presentation originally scheduled for March 23. Instead, it will conduct conversations with clients via virtual presentations.
The next major upfront event scheduled this year is NewsFronts, set for the week of April 27.
4:33 p.m.: The three major stock indices tanked by more than 7% by the end of Monday’s session
By the end of Monday’s trading session, Nasdaq went down by 7.29% (624.94 points), S&P 500 went down 7.59% (225.67 points) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average went down by 7.79% (2,013.76).
These were the biggest one-day declines for both the Dow and the S&P 500 since 2008. The tumble put the Dow close to “bear market,” which is when the price of an investment falls at least 20% or more from its previous financial apex that year.
3:25 p.m.: The American Society of Magazine Editors has postponed the National Magazine Awards, originally scheduled for March 12
3:00 p.m.: The International Association of Culinary Professionals annual conference, slated to take place in March, is now postponed to October
Like other major food-centric conferences such as Expo West, International Housewares Show and the International Food Summit, the International Association of Culinary Professionals has postponed its annual conference, which was originally scheduled to take place in Pittsburgh at the Omni William Penn.
The venue won’t change—and nor will the lineup—the IACP board and staff promised in their open letter to hopeful attendees, but the event will now take place Oct. 13-15. The letter also announced the location of 2021’s annual conference (Birmingham), and stated that the 2020 IACP award ceremony will occur as originally scheduled in New York City. Plans will be announced shortly.
2:40 p.m.: Cadillac cancels the reveal of its first electric luxury SUV—the Lyriq—originally set for April 2 in Los Angeles
1:42 p.m.: Governor Andrew Cuomo unveils NY-state produced hand sanitizer, “NYS Clean”
“NYS Clean” is New York’s response to hand sanitizer shortages throughout the state and price gouging online in light of the coronavirus outbreak. The product is made up of 75% alcohol—5% more ethanol than Purell—and the bottle is cheaper than similar brand-name products on New York shelves.
“NYS Clean” is likely so budget-friendly due to it being manufactured by inmates via Corcraft, the Division of Correctional Industries’ brand.
12:15 p.m.: A+E swaps its in-person upfront event this month for a virtual alternative
A+E Networks is the latest media company to follow Fox News Media and Comcast’s FreeWheel’s footsteps in scrapping upfront plans due to concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus.
For now, the only major media company that is still scheduled to hold an upfront event this month is AMC Networks.
A+E will shift its live event, which had been scheduled for March 25 at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center, for a virtual upfront presentation series beginning the week of March 23.
Per Paul Buccieri, A+E Networks’ group president, the company is ready to showcase its portfolio or brands and to preview “upcoming shows we’re excited about, introducing our incredible roster of talent, and outlining our plans for 2021 across A&E, History and Lifetime.”
10:35 a.m.: Dublin, Cork and San Francisco all cancel their St. Paddy’s Day parades
10 a.m.: The Dow continues to hurtle downward, plunging over 1,200 points
Stocks crashed so drastically this morning that trading was halted for approximately 15 minutes until 9:49 a.m.
Due to pandemic-induced anxieties (and to the sinking price of crude oil and copper), The Dow Jones Industrial Average had one of its worst days since December 2018, plummeting 4.8%, while the S&P 500 tanked 4.5%. Traders expect the Federal Reserve will announce another emergency rate cut at its March meeting next week.
9:26 a.m.: France bans all gatherings of more than 1,000 people to slow the spread of the coronavirus
As the French death toll due to Covid-19 reached 19, France’s health minister Olivier Veran announced that France would be banning all gatherings of more than 1,000 people. However, events “useful to national life,” such as demonstrations, will be allowed to continue. A few weeks prior to this decree, France had banned public gatherings of more than 5,000 people due to the highly infectious disease. That ban won’t end until May 31. The bans come ahead of the Cannes Festival of Creativity, which is currently slated to be held the week of June 22.
7:30 a.m.: The One Club shifts its annual Creative Week event online
Originally set to take place in New York the week of May 11-15, One Club’s Creative Week is usually among one of the biggest events in the agency world. Now, organizers are hoping they’ll be able to garner a bigger online turnout with their Covid-19-friendly Creative Week digital alternative.
One Club CEO Kevin Swanepoel told Adweek that the nonprofit believes going virtual for this year’s conference is the “prudent thing to do,” taking cues from other important trade events like Adobe Summit and Google’s I/O developers conference, which are also all set to take place this year via livestreaming.
The One Show, ADC and Young One Student award ceremonies will also be online events this year.
March 8, 2020
11 p.m.: The first major American sporting event has been canceled amid Covid-19 fears
The 2020 BNP Paribas Open, scheduled to take place in March 2020 at Indian Wells, Calif., has been postponed due to coronavirus concerns. Riverside County officials announced a public health emergency on Saturday, prompting the decision from organizers. Per tournament director Tommy Haas, the organization is prepared to “explore options” and hold the tournament on another date.
7:50 p.m.: SXSW’s insurance doesn’t cover cancellations due to disease
The decision to terminate the 10-day festival due to the threat of the coronavirus outbreak has ravaged South by Southwest’s finances due to its insurance not covering disease-related cancellations, as the organization admittedly had never foreseen a pandemic.
Per Chief Executive Roland Swenson in an interview for The Wall Street Journal, he is unsure how SXSW will continue on in 2021, or if it can be postponed to a later date this year. The event may need to rely on grants, lenders will need to take out debt and sponsors and attendees for this year’s planned event will not receive refunds (instead, they’ll receive credits). SXSW boosts Austin’s economy every year, lending an estimated $355 million for the city.
March 6, 2020
5:30 p.m.: According to PredictHQ’s data estimates, the direct losses from the cancellation or postponement of major tech conferences around the world has passed $1 billion
Per data intelligence company PredictHQ, the direct economic loss from the cancellation, postponement or digital shift of major tech conferences such as Google I/O, Facebook F8, Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, South by Southwest, the Game Developers Conference and the Adobe Summit, has exceeded $1 billion.
This estimate was derived by looking at losses in four categories: airlines, lodging, restaurants and transportation. It does not include losses suffered by event organizers or sponsors, or losses suffered by the local economy.
5:06 p.m.: Following the city of Austin’s orders, South by Southwest is canceled
For the first time in 34 years, South by Southwest will not go on amid overwhelming coronavirus concerns.
SXSW’s cancelation announcement comes just two days after city officials insisted that pulling the plug on the multi-day festival would not improve the safety of Austin residents.
Festival organizers expressed that they felt “devastated” to share the news with attendee hopefuls., and Austin Mayor Steve Adler said in the news conference that broke the announcement that it was a “local disaster.”
The cost of the event’s cancellation to the local economy will be considerable.
1:30 p.m.: Emerald City Comic Con, slated to take place next week at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, is postponed until Summer 2020
12:19 p.m.: Facebook tells Bay Area and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative employees to work remotely, closes its London offices for the weekend
All of Facebook’s Bay Area employees and contingent staff at the social network’s headquarters in Menlo Park have been advised to work remotely from home. Its employees at the Redwood City-based Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a charity started by Facebook’s CEO and his wife, were also urged to work from home until March 23 after a coworker was diagnosed with Covid-19.
Across the pond at the social network’s London offices, it’s deep cleaning and shutting down operations until Monday after an employee based in Singapore visited the office and tested positive for Covid-19.
12:13 p.m.: CNN limits all nonessential travel and events for employees (including SXSW)
CNN has dropped from South by Southwest, canceling its CITIZEN by CNN House activation at the 10-day festival. The American news media network has also limited all nonessential travel for its employees until further notice.
10:15 a.m.: How Covid-19 is disrupting the global advertising machine, upending timelines and traditions, and forcing the industry to adapt and transform
The current outbreak of Covid-19 has been a different animal for the global advertising industry to tackle, given that it is an uncertain, rapidly spreading epidemic that has spilled over national borders and has caused corners of the industry to suffer.
Several major business-to-business conferences and events have been canceled (though South by Southwest continues to carry on), and widespread travel restrictions have thrown advertising production schedules into disarray. Companies that have traditionally had activations at SXSW have dropped out, and several other festivals are feeling the squeeze.
These postponements and cancellations have forced brands and agencies to figure out alternative options that let their staffs work from home and keep all business operations managed under the cloud, consider new solutions for production staffing, and provide event attendees with exciting virtual experiences.
Meanwhile, the TV ad market remains strong, hinging on speculations that people will be staying home. Steve Naylor, a research director at Parks Associates, a firm that specializes in entertainment and content services, told Adweek that video consumption numbers could go up for a lot of video-on-demand services.
9:44 a.m.: Annual industrial manufacturing expo Grainger Show, planned for March 15-17 in Orlando, is canceled
8:48 a.m.: Toronto’s Collision Conference goes digital
Due to a large number of public events pulling the plug in the face of the uncertainty and fears posed by Covid-19, Collision Conference, a global tech industry gathering in Toronto, will not be taking place physically until next year.
Instead, from June 22-25, “attendees” will tune in online via the bespoke “Collision from Home” app. There, participants can livestream talks, chat and connect with one another. Collision’s speaker program this year is set to be star-studded, with guests such as Seth Rogen, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Al Gore, will.i.am, Sophia Bush, Timbaland, Alexis Ohanian, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jessie Reyez.
Though this is Collision’s alternative solution to the coronavirus outbreak, the organization is offering full refunds for those who expected to attend the conference as originally planned in Toronto.
March 5, 2020
9:43 p.m.: The Walt Disney Family Museum shuts down for the weekend to conduct a deep cleaning of all museum spaces and enhance hygienic protocols
5:02 p.m.: The Dow and other major U.S. stock indexes remain volatile
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 all tumbled by over three percentage points at the close of Thursday’s trading sessions. All three of the major U.S. stock indexes lost the almost 4% gains they made the day prior.
Thursday’s stock market tumbles may be due in part to California declaring a state of emergency after its first coronavirus-related death was confirmed yesterday afternoon.
4:51 p.m.: Starz is out of South by Southwest, cutting their activation and panel from the festival’s programming
1:00 p.m.: HIMSS is canceled for the first time in 58 years
The 2020 HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition, a massive health-tech conference that has drawn in thousands of participants for over 50 years, has been canceled. The event was set to take place in Orlando at the Orange County Convention Center. Though the conference had, just two days prior to the official cancellation announcement, detailed its crisis preparedness plan, organizers said that this final decision was “unavoidable” in an email to vendors.
President Trump was one of the speakers of the event.
10:54 a.m.: Due to outbreak, LinkedIn will not participate in any events until May
LinkedIn has pulled its participation from all external events scheduled for March and April due to the coronavirus outbreak, asking employees to postpone all nonessential business travel until May.
LinkedIn was supposed to have an activation at South by Southwest.
The professional networking and job search platform has also recommended all of its San Francisco Bay Area employees to work remotely if possible through the end of March.
10:22 a.m.: WarnerMedia ditches South by Southwest, pulling media activations from all of its brands like CNN and HBO
9:28 a.m.: SoulCycle goes the extra mile to keep its riders healthy
SoulCycle sent a note to its riders today that it would be upgrading its sanitation protocols to keep member and employee health top of mind as the coronavirus outbreak develops.
The boutique indoor cycling gym is using hospital-grade cleaning solution as recommended for use by the CDC on similar viruses, making hand sanitizer more readily accessible throughout its studios, honoring all late cancellations for those who feel ill without charging a fee and reminding riders to wash their hands.
9:24 a.m.: Starbucks will host its annual shareholder meeting virtually
Instead of making its partners and shareholders go to Washington for the Annual Meeting of Shareholders of Starbucks Corporation on March 18, the Seattle-based coffeehouse chain has asked its invitees to stay home and tune in digitally.
8:57 a.m.: United and JetBlue cut flights
Two of New York City’s most popular airlines, JetBlue and United Airlines, have cut their flights citing “a fall in demand.” JetBlue will cut capacity of about 5% and United will reduce international flights by 20%, domestic by 10%.
8:03 a.m.: IATA finds that airlines around the world could see $113 billion loss
The International Air Transport Association updated its analysis of the monetary impact of Covid-19 on the global passenger airline industry and found that flight carriers have between $63 billion and $113 billion to lose.
The “smaller” figure of a collective $63 billion loss is if there is a limited spread of novel coronavirus in the markets with more than 100 confirmed cases as of March 2 (China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Italy, France, Germany and Iran).
The estimated $113 billion loss, however, is in the event of a second scenario with a broader spread of the illness, which applies a similar methodology as the first figure but considers all markets that have 10 or more confirmed cases of Covid-19 as of March 2.
IATA’s previous analysis, issued on Feb. 20, estimated a loss figure of $29.3 billion based on a scenario that would see the spread of coronavirus confined to the Greater China market. Presently, the illness has spread to over 80 countries.
Since the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a public health emergency on Jan. 30, the share prices of airlines have fallen by almost 25 percentage points.
6:23 a.m: Shoptalk is postponed
Retail conference Shoptalk, which had been planned for later this month, has been postponed. “Following the rapid escalation of the Covid-19 outbreak around the world and in the United States, Shoptalk has been rescheduled to September 14-17, 2020,” organizers said this morning.
12:40 a.m.: United Airlines Holdings will cut domestic flights by 10% and international flights by 20% in April
March 4, 2020
10:29 p.m: Facebook closes both its Stadium East and Stadium West offices after Seattle-based contractor is diagnosed with Covid-19
9:36 p.m.: Netflix pulls out of South by Southwest
The streaming platform joins Apple+ and Amazon Studios in pulling out of South by Southwest, canceling all of its programmed events.
Five Netflix original films—one feature film, “Uncorked,” and four documentaries—were set to screen during South by Southwest. A panel with Kenya Barris and Rashida Jones on their upcoming Netflix series #BlackExcellence was also scheduled to take place during the festival.
8:25 p.m.: Apple joins rival tech giants in dropping out of South by Southwest
Apple has announced it is suspending its participation in SXSW. Three new Apple TV+ projects—a documentary and two original series—were set to debut at the 10-day festival. Apple may need to make a final scheduling decision about an upcoming software development conference slated for June.
7:50 p.m.: Starbucks and McDonald’s step up their restaurant sanitation game
Both restaurant chain brands with faithful followings have adjusted their cleaning operations as the coronavirus epidemic gains traction in the United States. Starbucks employees have been instructed to sanitize door handles, seating and furniture, bathrooms and ordering machines frequently. Per the coffee company, the cleaning routine should last 30 minutes and take place during peak hours.
Similarly, McDonald’s employees have been asked to sanitize door handles, order kiosks, restrooms, counters, and seating and furniture more frequently.
However, while Starbucks employees were advised to regularly wash their hands, McDonald’s employees were told to supplement frequent hand washing with hand sanitizer.
Starbucks employees will also be required to stay home if they are feeling unwell (the chain is giving paid sick leave), keep their fingernails short and not wear a lot of jewelry. Moreover, Starbucks has postponed large meetings and restricted business travel through the end of the month.
6:48 p.m.: FreeWheel Media postpones its upfront event
Comcast subsidiary FreeWheel Media’s NowFront event, originally programmed for March 12, has been postponed as a precautionary measure. “We believe this is the best decision as public health concerns due to coronavirus/Covid-19 continue to evolve,” a statement on the company’s site said.
The event will be rescheduled to a later date.
5:51 p.m.: Zoom removes 40-minute limit on free meetings in China
Zoom said in its prepared remarks before its earnings report video webinar for its fourth quarter and full fiscal year of FY2020 that the video communications company has seen a significant increase of usage of its platform since the coronavirus emergency.
Eric S. Yuan, president and CEO of Zoom, said that the company will expand its capacity to meet the needs of both paid and free users to ensure maximum reliability.
Accordingly, Zoom has removed the 40-minute limit on free meetings in China so that healthcare workers and first responders in affected areas can connect live on video with therapists with feasibility.
Yuan also announced that employees at Zoom’s headquarters in San Jose, Calif. have been directed to work from home unless there is a “business-critical need” for them to be in the office.
5:30 p.m.: Delta suspends all seasonal summer flights between Seattle and Osaka, Japan
Delta Air Lines has canceled its Seattle-Osaka summer flight service for 2020, and will resume its regular scheduling in 2021. As of now, Delta will continue to fly to Osaka from Honolulu.
The decision comes shortly after news broke about the eight coronavirus-related deaths in an area 20 minutes away from downtown Seattle. Per the World Health Organization, 268 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Japan, and six people in Japan have died due to the illness.
Yoshiro Miro, president of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, has reportedly stated that canceling the Games is not being considered as a viable option.
5:24 p.m.: The CMO Club cancels unofficial South by Southwest event
Salesforce’s latest acquisition, The CMO Club, has canceled its unofficial South by Southwest event due to issues with its planned venue, the Austin-based Indeed headquarters. The job listings site is asking employees to work from home due to coronavirus concerns.
The CMO Clubhouse, an event where club members have congregated with each other annually due to being in town for SXSW, was originally scheduled for March 14.
5:23 p.m.: The TED2020 conference in Vancouver will either be postponed or go digital
Per an email from TED curator Chris Anderson to conference attendees, TED will either postpone its weeklong event originally scheduled for April 20 to 24 to July 26 to 30, or it will be held as a “digital-only gathering.” The alternatives are being considered as compelling options to “outwit” the virus, Anderson said.
TED organizers will be taking feedback until Friday morning and deliberating the pros and cons of either option, and are expected to make a decision by end of the day Monday.
2:56 p.m.: Disney’s U.S. properties remain open, buckling down on hygiene
Both Disney’s Florida parks and California parks remain open. Per a spokesperson for the company, Disney has been implementing precautionary sanitation policies and practices in light of the viral outbreak. These “stringent” procedures include placing additional hand sanitizers throughout the parks and resorts.
Disney’s Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo locations all remain closed. Tokyo Disneyland will reopen on March 16.
1:14 p.m.: MIPTV 2020, MIPDoc and MIPFormats have all been canceled
MIPTV 2020, MIPDoc and MIPFormats, all programmed to take place in Cannes in late March, have been canceled due to concerns related to coronavirus. MIPTV is one of the largest global TV and online content development events. Its next edition will run as scheduled in April 2021.
Season 3 of the Cannes International Series Festival, originally scheduled to run with MIPTV, will now take place later this year from Oct. 9 to 14. Season 4 will run as scheduled April 12 to 15, 2021.
12:00 p.m.: No Time to Die’s theatrical release has been pushed from April to November
No Time to Die producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli announced that after thoroughly evaluating the global theatrical marketplace, the film’s release has been postponed to November 2020—the U.K. debut will be on Nov. 12 and the U.S. debut will be on Nov. 25.
11:27 a.m.: South by Southwest will “keep calm and carry on”
SXSW 2020 will proceed as planned, Austin Public Health officials, Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt announced at a press briefing.
Although one person in Travis County has been tested for the coronavirus, no cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Central Texas. For the past six weeks, over 75 people have been tested for the virus across the state.
Dr. Mark Escott, Austin Public Health’s interim health authority, stated at the briefing that the spread of the coronavirus isn’t a “matter of if,” but rather, a “matter of when.” Escott emphasized that the region has been “enhancing preparedness” by engaging with major stakeholders to effectively combat the threat Covid-19 poses.
Still, the Austin Public Health department, along with an expert advisory panel made up of a dozen or more physicians from the community and state, have determined that the threat of the infectious disease remains low for the public. The panel also believes that the global mortality rate for the coronavirus (3.4%) is less than what the World Health Organization has reported.
The expert advisory panel—which, Adler stressed, did not include a member from SXSW—has not found evidence that shutting down South by Southwest will make the community any safer. There may be modifications to the venue to increase the distance of people in order to decrease crowd density and therefore the spread of disease, but the mass gathering will go on as planned.
Per Escott, South by Southwest has apparently been “extremely responsive for mitigation strategies,” such as increasing hand sanitizers, hand-washing abilities, messaging for attendees, signage in the convention center to remind people of personal hygiene and screening employees and volunteers to make sure they do not have a febrile illness prior to working the event.
Eckhardt advised the community to “keep calm and carry on.”
10:17 a.m.: Major South by Southwest sponsor Audible drops out of festival
9:41 a.m.: Amazon Studios pulls out of South by Southwest after employee tests positive for virus
Shortly after Amazon confirmed to various publications that one of their employees at the Seattle office has tested positive for Covid-19, Amazon Studios dropped from South by Southwest’s ever-shrinking repertoire of participating brands.
This includes the premieres of two original series—Upload and Tales From the Loop—as well as a marketing activation Amazon Prime Video had scheduled with Entertainment Weekly.
The Seattle Times reported that the employee went home feeling ill on Feb. 25 and Amazon has been supporting them in quarantine. Colleagues who were within 6 feet or less of the affected individual have been notified.
March 3, 2020
8:22 p.m.: SAP cancels all in-person events for the month of March
German business software company SAP has responded to concerns surrounding Covid-19 by canceling all in-person events scheduled for the month of March, which includes SAP Concur Fusion in Orlando, SAP Ariba Live in Las Vegas, SAP NOW events, and third-party events, including South by Southwest.
Alicia Tillman, global CMO of SAP, posted on her Twitter account that the decision was “truly difficult,” but “the best path forward for our employees, customers, partners and communities.” Tillman also announced that SAP’s teams are currently working to find alternatives—”incredible digital experiences”—over the coming weeks.
6:39 p.m.: Qualtrics reschedules X4 Summit
Qualtrics is rescheduling the X4 Summit, which is billed as the world’s largest experience management event. More than 16,000 people were expected to attend the summit March 10-13 in Salt Lake City. Qualtrics says the event “is being moved to later this year in order to provide the experience that our customers, partners, and employees expect and deserve.” Ellen DeGeneres, Michelle Obama, Brené Brown, and Chip and Joanna Gaines were among the speakers.
6:09 p.m.: Fox News cancels upfront event
Fox News Channel has canceled an upfront presentation planned for later this month. “In a precautionary effort to keep our employees, client and agency partners safe, we have determined that it would be best to cancel our upcoming event in New York based on public health concerns due to coronavirus,” said Jeff Collins, evp of Fox News Media Advertising Sales. The broadcast TV network upfront presentations are still planned for the week of May 11.
5:35 p.m.: TikTok pulls out of South by Southwest
Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok has pulled out of South by Southwest, the Austin, Texas-based festival set for March 13 to 22. TikTok follows Facebook and Twitter in withdrawing from the festival. “TikTok has decided not to participate in SXSW this year,” a TikTok spokesperson told Adweek. “While we think the risk is relatively low, we are erring on the side of caution as we prioritize safety for our team, creators, partners, artists and brands. We are looking at a variety of alternative ways to bring parts of the previously scheduled experience to audiences in creative new forms.”
4:31 p.m.: The Dow falls nearly 800 points following emergency rate cut decision
Stocks rose after the Federal Reserve announced its decision to cut its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point in an effort to bolster the economy as Covid-19 fears disrupt the market. The decision was the first unscheduled, emergency rate cut since 2008, CNN reported.
However, after the initial points jump following the announcement, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 800 points. The S&P 500, Nasdaq, Gold and 10-year Treasury indices ended the day’s session off more than 2.5%.
3:49 p.m.: Google cancels its I/O developer conference
Google I/O, the tech behemoth’s largest programmatic event of the year that was set to take place from May 12-14 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif., has been canceled. I/O 2020’s estimated 7,000 attendees will be refunded in full by March 13 and, instead of having to enter next year’s drawing, they will automatically be granted the option to buy a ticket for next year’s conference. Google is currently “exploring other ways to evolve I/O to best connect with our developer community,” an email sent to attendees states.
3:43 p.m.: Growing coronavirus concerns force Andy Awards to go virtual
The International Andy Awards, hosted yearly by The Ad Club—a trade association for the advertising industry that honors global creative talent in the industry—will change the way jurors conduct their deliberations this year due to the growing coronavirus concerns related to travel. 2020’s cohort of jurors, which hail from 13 different cities around the world, will proceed with their judging duties remotely, and discussion and announcements will be made via a livestream during the event’s originally planned dates (March 15-20).
Per Gina Grillo, president and CEO of The Ad Club, the association feels like the Andys have an obligation to set an example as the first show of the season for “the other shows that may be facing this in the weeks and months to come.”
1:20 p.m.: “Full steam ahead” for NBCU’s Tokyo Olympics plans
At the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom conference today Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said while NBC’s plans for the Tokyo Olympics are “full steam ahead” the company is seeing the effects of coronavirus on its theme parks in Osaka, Japan, which have been closed for two weeks. “That’s probably going to mean about a 7% to 9% decline at the NBCUniversal level for the quarter,” Roberts said.
The epidemic has impacted construction at a new Universal theme park in Beijing where 13,000 construction workers were off the job for several weeks. “We’re back working and I am pleased to be able to say today that our China team believes we will open the park on time despite the disruption that occurred,” Roberts said.
11:30 a.m.: Mashable drops out of South by Southwest
Mashable’s back-out from South by Southwest was announced in a tweet posted on the digital media company’s official social account. The decision to cancel the Mashable House and MashBash experiences were “a really tough call.”
11:28 a.m.: Salesforce prohibits all overseas travel for its employees
Salesforce’s chief legal officer Amy Weaver published a blog post announcing the company’s decision to suspend nonessential travel for its 50,000-or-so global employees, prohibiting all international travel and restricting most domestic travel throughout March. Upcoming in-person events for the company this month, including World Tour Sydney in Australia, have been converted into virtual events. The company is also “enhancing office protocols to ensure the healthiest work environment possible,” CEO Marc Benioff tweeted.
10:45 a.m.: Intel joins Facebook and Twitter in backing out of South by Southwest
Intel announced early this morning that it is joining the fray of high-profile tech companies pulling out of on-site activities at South by Southwest, the 10-day multidisciplinary international festival in Austin, Texas, running from March 13-22. Though the Austin Public Health has stressed that no health departments in the state have raised concerns about canceling any gatherings in light of the outbreak, more than 35,000 people have signed a petition to cancel South by Southwest.
10:01 a.m.: Virgin Voyages to carry on with inaugural cruise after canceling press tour
Richard Branson’s Virgin Voyages’ cruise line canceled its press tour Sunday but told Adweek that there are no plans to cancel the Scarlet Lady’s first cruise on March 26.
“At this time, we have only postponed the showcase events in New York. We’re continuing to closely monitor developments and will make the appropriate decisions regarding our operations very soon,” Virgin said in a statement to Adweek.
9:40 a.m.: Twitter tells all employees to work from home
Twitter added to the coronavirus safety efforts it announced Monday, saying that it is “strongly encouraging” all employees globally to work from home if they are able to do so, and that working from home is mandatory for those in its offices in Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea.
The company said Monday that it was suspending all noncritical business travel and events, including CEO Jack Dorsey’s planned appearance at South by Southwest.
Twitter said in an update to its Monday blog post, “We are working to make sure internal meetings, all hands and other important tasks are optimized for remote participation. We recognize that working from home is not ideal for some job functions. For those employees who prefer or need to come into the offices, they will remain open for business. Our real estate and workplace team is increasing deep cleaning and sanitizing in all spaces, as well as adding more visual reminders for personal hygiene best practices and prepackaged, precomposed and preplated food options.”
March 2, 2020
10:25 p.m.: Facebook pulls out of South by Southwest
Facebook announced Monday evening that it is withdrawing from the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. The move follows Twitter’s own decision to pull out of the festival—which is in less than two weeks—and limit business travel for its employees. “Due to concerns related to coronavirus, our company and employees will not be participating in SXSW this year,” said Facebook spokesperson Joe Osborne in a statement. Last week, the company canceled its F8 developer conference, which was set to be held on May 5 and 6.
7:55 p.m.: Adobe Summit moves online
Adobe has canceled its annual summit in Las Vegas, set for March 29-April 2, and instead will host an online event. “While we are disappointed that we will not be together in-person with our community this year, we are excited to host Adobe Summit as an online experience,” the company said. Last year’s event brought together more than 16,000 people focused on customer experience management. Tom Brady and Gwyneth Paltrow were to be among this year’s speakers.
7:27 p.m.: Expo West postponed following attendee, exhibitor cancellations
Natural Products Expo West, which was to begin tomorrow in Anaheim, Calif., has been postponed. The event brings together producers of natural food products including some of the world’s biggest food makers like Unilever, Procter & Gamble and General Mills. Organizers plan to hold the event “before the summer, either in Anaheim or a suitable alternative location.”
6:16 p.m.: With many jurors barred from travel, The One Show cancels 2020 in-person judging
The One Show today announced it will cancel its in-person judging in Puerto Rico, scheduled to take place over two weeks in March. Instead, the jurors will meet virtually via real-time conferencing to debate submissions and select winners. The One Club’s Creative Week event in New York City remains scheduled May 11-15.
6:02 p.m.: Global holding companies are reacting with suspended travel and office closures
Some of advertising’s major holding companies are implementing travel restrictions and guidelines in response to Covid-19. Dentsu Aegis Network closed its headquarters in Tokyo last month after an employee contracted the viral pulmonary disease. Dentsu has enforced remote working policies where geographically appropriate (including Tokyo), and has imposed travel restrictions.
Omnicom Group has suspended business travel to and from China, Japan, Hong Kong, Iran, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and Northern Italy. Last month, two of its offices in London were closed due to an employee displaying alarming flu-like symptoms after traveling to Australia via Singapore. Those offices have since reopened.
Havas Group has suspended business travel to and from Greater China, Singapore, South Korea and regions of Italy, Interpublic Group has suspended business travel to and from China and South Korea and Publicis Groupe has restricted travel to China, South Korea and Italy.
Havas, Intercom and Omnicom all have a “14-day confinement period” policy that requires employees returning from recent travel to certain “high-risk exposure areas” to work from home until the self-quarantine is lifted.
4:45 p.m.: Petition to cancel South by Southwest festival creeps toward 25,000-signee goal
A Change.org petition launched last week calling on organizers to cancel the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, crept toward its goal of 25,000 signatures on Monday. The petition was created by Change.org member Shayla Lee, an Austin resident, according to the petition’s website. By Monday afternoon, it had garnered more than 22,000 signatures.
4:02 p.m.: Stocks surge in hopes central banks will mitigate coronavirus impact
U.S. stock markets surged on Monday following Wall Street’s worst week since the 2008 financial crisis. In response to hopes that the Federal Reserve and other central banks would intervene to limit the economic impact of the coronavirus, the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 5% and both the Standard & Poor 500 and Nasdaq finished up more than 4%.
12:19 p.m.: Target opts to broadcast investors meeting From Minneapolis
For its annual investors meeting, Target decided Monday to opt for a remote broadcast from Minneapolis rather than an in-person event, according to the Star Tribune.
March 1, 2020
5:43 p.m.: Coronavirus convinces Twitter to ban all nonessential travel and events
Less than two weeks before South by Southwest where Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was scheduled to speak, the social media platform announced that it would be canceling all “non-critical” business travel and events. Twitter chief human resources officer Jennifer Christie said in a blog post Sunday that the suspension of travel and events would remain in effect “until the World Health Organization or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deem it appropriate to step back from pandemic precautionary measures, or when a vaccine becomes available.”