Coronavirus: Starbucks Moves To Takeout In US, Canada; Europe To Speed COVID-19 Innovation Funding


The coronavirus could have far-reaching effects on coffee shops, retail stores and restaurants. Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus around the world.

Starbucks has moved to a takeout format for a minimum of two weeks in its U.S. and Canada company-owned locations, Reuters reported. Rossann Williams, the president of the U.S. company-operated and Canada businesses of Starbucks, said per the report, “The situation with COVID-19 is extremely dynamic, and we will continue to review the facts and science and make the proactive decisions necessary.” The coffee chain also indicated that it would halt using patio and cafe seating.

In other news, the lion’s share of Fast Retailing’s Uniqlo locations in China, with the exception of those in the Hubei province, are now open again, with just 30 of 750 Chinese Uniqlo stores still shuttered, Reuters reported. Uniqlo had shuttered roughly 350 of its locations in China in addition to some partner manufacturing faciltites closings a month prior. On Monday, Jefferies had increased its rating from “underperform” to “hold.” The retailer’s shares finished Monday down almost 30 percent as of the start of the year at 46,000 yen (approximately $435). According to the report, a spokesperson for Fast Retailing said it had not come to a decision as of now on North American closings.

On another note, some grocers in Australia are restricting access to their stores early in the morning to provide the elderly and disabled with special access, The Wall Street Journal reported. Coles and Woolworths said per the report that customers would have to show ID like a card from the government indicating that an individual can receive benefits from social security. Coles did not provide a date when the initiative would end, while Woolworths said the program would occur until the conclusion of the week at a minimum. The limitations are a method to keep the vulnerable safe as panic buying of the goods that shoppers need each day occurs amid COVID-19 fears.

Meanwhile, the European Commission is encouraging SMEs and upstarts with innovations that could help fight the COVID-19 outbreak to seek funding from the European Innovation Council’s next round, according to an announcement. The organization said there aren’t set “thematic priorities,” and coronavirus-related applicants will be graded in the same fashion as others. But the commission said it would “look to fast track the awarding of EIC grants and blended finance (combining grant and equity investment) to coronavirus-relevant innovations, as well as to facilitate access to other funding and investment sources.” Applications to the EIC Accelerator must be in by 17:00 on March 18 Brussels time.

And, to keep COVID-19 from spreading, the mayor of New York City will ink an executive order that essentially shutters eating and drinking establishments to public access, restricting them to just delivery and takeout, CNBC reported. Bill de Blasio also noted that concert venues and movie theaters, among other facilities, will also be shuttered. In addition, Los Angeles has closed nightclubs, entertainment venues and bars for the time being per an announcement from Mayor Eric Garcetti this weekend. At the same time, states throughout the country have put steps into place to prevent people from congregating in bars and restaurants.