Update: Zoox Lays Off Backup Drivers To Its Autonomous Vehicles; Pelonton Halts Live Classes, To Close Studios; Pier 1 Asks Judge To Skip Rent; Austria Looks To Reopen Some Shops


Companies are taking steps to combat COVID-19 in the United States, while one government in Europe is aiming to reopen businesses. Here are the latest updates on COVID-19 from around the world.

The government of Austria intends to begin opening shops again next week in the first relaxation of its COVID-19 lockdown, Reuters reported. The plan is for stores that are not essential and a maximum of 400 square meters as well as DIY stores to open again on April 14. Hotels and eateries, however, will need to wait to the middle of May at the soonest. The country was widely closed three weeks prior, with restaurants and schools, among other venues, shuttered.

And, after a staffer had a positive test result for the coronavirus, Peloton has said that it will halt live classes up to April 30, The Verge reported. The fitness firm said in an email per the outlet that “we have decided to pause live production at both our New York and London studios through Thursday, April 30th.” The company, which will offer classes that have been recorded in the past as an “Encore,” had intended to open its studios again on April 7 at first.

In other news, retailers are using court rulings in the battle between landlords and tenants, Bloomberg reported. Pier 1 Imports Inc., in one case, requested that a judge let it not pay its rent during the coronavirus pandemic that has closed locations throughout the country. The judge supervising the case inked an order approving the request. Lenders have been hesitant to make retailers file for bankruptcy as stores can’t have liquidation sales during the pandemic, and the ruling is important as tenants are expected to make on-time rent payments even in bankruptcy. 

On another note, self-driving company Zoox laid off nearly its entire force of contract workers last week, including its backup drivers, The Verge reported. The company’s workers were told on Friday via email that their positions were being terminated at once. Approximately 120 individuals are said to be out of a position. The email said per the outlet that “Zoox has every intention to resume testing and normal business practices, and will need your efforts in getting back on track.”

In other news, Amazon has started to tell warehouse workers that they could encounter disciplinary action if they don’t adhere to social distancing rules, CNBC reported. It is reportedly not known if disciplinary actions are occurring against all workers at warehouses or how the eCommerce retailer is finding out which workers have gone against the measures. Amazon, for its part, has mandated that workers at facilities throughout the nation remain 6 feet away from each other to restrict the coronavirus’ spread. 



The September 2020 Leveraging The Digital Banking Shift Study, PYMNTS examines consumers’ growing use of online and mobile tools to open and manage accounts as well as the factors that are paramount in building and maintaining trust in the current economic environment. The report is based on a survey of nearly 2,200 account-holding U.S. consumers.