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, include Nike, Apple, Warby Parker and more.
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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.

Since China reported initial cases of an unusual pneumonia to the World Health Organization in December, governments in over 200 countries globally have reported cases of the virus, according to the WHO. Over 803,000 people have been infected with the virus and more than 39,000 deaths worldwide have been reported.

The current death toll in the United States is over 3,100 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and more than 164,000 cases of the new coronavirus have been confirmed across the country.

We’ll keep a running list of how the pandemic is affecting the ad world, from event cancellations to layoffs and market updates.

For the rest of our coronavirus coverage, visit our coronavirus landing page.

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.

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.

3:45 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 that 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 Letitita 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.

2:00 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.

12:00 p.m.: 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.