Live Updates: Tracking How Coronavirus Is Impacting Brands and Agencies

An updated list due to the pandemic

Keeping track of the all the latest closings, including Nike, Apple and Warby Parker.
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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.

For more of our coverage related to the pandemic, visit our coronavirus and life in quarantine landing pages.

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.

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