Coronavirus

Coronavirus: Official Says Delay May Be Best For Olympics; American, Delta Reduce Schedule

The coronavirus could have wide-reaching effects on sporting events, air travel and restaurants. Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus around the world.

The most realistic option for the Olympics would be to postpone the event by a year or two if the competition can’t proceed in Japan this summer per a member of the Japanese organizing committee’s executive board, The Wall Street Journal reported. NBCUniversal has paid just over $1 billion for the rights to broadcast the event in the United States at a time when there aren’t conflicts with other big sporting events. It is probable that junior staff are examining how a rescheduled event could conflict with other competitions prior to the next board meeting in March.

And, as the coronavirus epidemic becomes worse and the lockdown in Italy impacts the number of flyers, airlines globally fell more into crisis on Tuesday, Reuters reported. Qantas Airways of Australia said it would reduce its international capacity and postpone an order for Airbus A350 planes. The airline said it couldn’t offer guidance on the financial impact of the coronavirus anymore. Korean Air Lines, in another case, cautioned that the outbreak could impact its survival after it cut over 80 percent of its international capacity.

On a related note, American Airlines and Delta Airlines announced heavy flight cuts as well as other cost-saving measures as the coronavirus presents the largest travel demand threat since 9/11, CNBC reported. The reductions at the airlines come after similar measures made at JetBlue and United last week. Delta, for its part, said it is cutting international flights by as much as a quarter and U.S. capacity from 10 percent to 15 percent. And American said it will cut 10 percent off its peak summer global travel.

Sick Time, Business Help and Online Classes

In other news, Darden Restaurants said it is giving all hourly workers throughout its restaurant chains paid sick leave, CNBC reported. Employees will earn one hour of sick leave for each 30 hours they work, with a pay rate based on their 13-week average. The Olive Garden parent company said it had been developing the procedure for some time, and accelerated the process because of the outbreak of COVID-19. Shares in the company increased almost 2 percent in afternoon trading Tuesday as wider market gains took place.

And, to provide airlines with a bit of a buffer amid a deepening coronavirus crisis, the European Union will halt a rule that makes carriers run most of their scheduled flights or give up their landing slots, Reuters reported. EU chief Ursula von der Leyen said the rules suspension would get rid of “ghost flights” in which carriers put empty planes in the sky just to maintain their slots. The decision occurred as the globe’s carriers rush to contend with the lockdown in Italy as well as the worsening virus situation. As previously reported, airlines had to keep flying 80 percent of the slots assigned to them or a rival could get them.

On another note, Amazon announced it is creating a $5 million Neighborhood Small Relief Fund to give Seattle small businesses cash grants over the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, according to reports. The fund will be designed for small businesses that have a physical presence near the South Lake Union and Regrade office buildings with under $7 million in annual revenue or less than 50 employees. The applications will be taken under consideration over the second part of March and funds will be sent in April. Businesses, for their part, will be asked to tell how much revenue they foresee losing this month and to support that data in some fashion.

In other news, Harvard University is moving its courses to the web and instructing students to leave their dorms by Sunday, CNBC reported. The school has plans to provide all classes through the internet by March 23, and it is capping nonessential meetings at 25 individuals. The spring break for Harvard begins Saturday and concludes on March 22, while its spring term finishes in late April. Harvard reportedly said students should not come back to the physical campus following the vacation.

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