Coronavirus Update: Trump Declares State Of Emergency; Airbnb Revises Cancellation Policy

Coronavirus: Trump Declares State Of Emergency

The coronavirus has wide-reaching effects on travel, entertainment and the economy. Here are the latest updates on its impacts around the world.

President Donald Trump officially declared a national emergency to “unleash the full power of the federal government,” according to a televised speech addressing the coronavirus. The president noted that the actions will open up to $50 billion in funding in the country’s shared fight against the virus.

Trump also said he was urging each state to set up emergency operation centers effective immediately. In addition, he asked each hospital in the United States to enable its emergency preparedness plan to help meet the needs of Americans.

The president also noted that the emergency orders would confer “broad new authority” to the secretary of health and human services. The official will be able to waive provisions of applicable laws and regulations to give doctors, hospitals and healthcare providers “maximum flexibility to respond to the virus” and care for patients.

In other news, Spain plans to declare a state of emergency for a period of 15 days as COVID-19 causes some parades to be called off and stores to close, Reuters reported. The current count of cases in Spain was 4,231 as of March 13, and approximately 120 individuals have succumbed. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said, per the report, “Heroism is also washing your hands and staying home. Victory depends on every one of us, in our home, our family, our work, our neighborhood.”

In an effort to stop the coronavirus from spreading, the government of France has prohibited public meetings exceeding 100 individuals, Reuters reported. Paris’ Louvre museum, for its part, said its doors would close beginning at 1700 GMT.

In other news, late-night televisions shows will stop being televised due to coronavirus-related fears, The New York Times reported. “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” are halting production in the week to come.

On another note, casinos are canceling live shows and buffets amid the spread of COVID-19 in the United States, the Associated Press reported. Hard Rock’s brand depends on live entertainment, but it is calling off those types of offerings at its properties in the United States for a 30-day period. And in Pennsylvania, the Valley Forge Casino is shutting its doors until March 27.

Meanwhile, Airbnb said it was revising its extenuating circumstances policy. The procedure applies to bookings in South Korea, Mainland China, the United States and Italy. According to the company, “the Extenuating Circumstances policy allows guests to cancel eligible reservations without charge.”

In other news, Facebook is working with the World Health Organization and the United Nations Foundation to bring a “COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund,” Mark Zuckerberg said in a social media post. “Facebook is matching up to $10 million in donations, and 100 percent of funds will directly support the work to prevent, detect and respond to the outbreak around the world,” he noted, adding that the company will “match $10 million for the CDC foundation.”

And in a bid to put business on an even keel with cratering revenue, hotels are beginning to decrease staff and reduce room rates, The Wall Street Journal reported. Hotels that would run between $200 to $300 nightly could go for as low as $60, per one expert in the report. And Tripbam Inc. said that new business bookings at U.S. hotels fell by approximately 20 percent during the past couple of days.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.