Coronavirus

Waffle House Closes 418 Locations; ClassPass Reopens Live Video; Big Tech Teams With WHO On Virus Software

Waffle House

Restaurants are shuttering their eateries, while tech companies and eCommerce platforms aiming to provide support to businesses as well as organizations amid the coronavirus. Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus around the world.

Facebook is working with firms throughout the technology space and health organizations to take part in the #BuildForCOVID19 worldwide hackathon beginning on Thursday (March 26), according to a Facebook post from Mark Zuckerberg. The tech executive noted in a post, “Hackathons have always been an important part of how we come up with new ideas and projects at Facebook — features like Blood Donations and Crisis Response were first built during hackathons and are now used by millions of people worldwide.” He noted that Chan Zuckerberg Biohub scientists and the World Health Organization would offer instructions on “what projects will be most valuable for engineers to take on.”

In other news, ClassPass is now bringing back its video offering with some changes amid the COVID-19 outbreak, according to reports. The company had rolled out a live video streaming offering two years ago. Now, studio partners of the company will have the ability to provide live-streamed classes on the platform. Those partners will be able to use a system to make a date and time as well as price and share a link to a streaming platform (i.e., Facebook Live, YouTube.) The company is also rolling out other programs such as a Partner Relief Fund that lets users contribute to studios inside the app, and it will match all contributions up to $1 million.

On another note, the Waffle House has shuttered over 20 percent of its eateries due to the coronavirus outbreak, NBC News reported. The Waffle House Index was made almost 10 years ago and relates to the scope of damage a natural disaster makes based on the number of Waffle Houses that stay open or shutter. In a Facebook post, the restaurant chain posted, “#WaffleHouseIndexRed: 418 Waffle House restaurants closed. 1,574 open.” A yellow index result signifies that its restaurants in a particular location are providing a limited menu because of no power or low stock. Waffle House’s roughly 2,000 restaurants are typically in operation all day and night, seven days per week.

And, as merchants deal with the possibility of falling sales over the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon marketplace sellers will not temporarily have to make loan repayments, Reuters reported. The eCommerce retailer told sellers that its Amazon Lending program would halt repayments from Thursday up until April 30 and interest would not accrue over that time. Amazon said in a message, according to Reuters, “Loan repayments will restart on May 1, 2020 … You will have the same number of remaining payments once repayment resumes.” The program has provided merchants with amounts ranging from $1,000 to $750,000.

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PYMNTS STUDY: THE CROSS-BORDER MERCHANT FRICTION INDEX – JUNE 2020

The PYMNTS Cross-Border Merchant Friction Index analyzes the key friction points experienced by consumers browsing, shopping and paying for purchases on international eCommerce sites. PYMNTS examined the checkout processes of 266 B2B and B2C eCommerce sites across 12 industries and operating from locations across Europe and the United States to provide a comprehensive overview of their checkout offerings.

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