Business Headlines

Official White House Photo by Andrea HanksBy BEN GITTLESON, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump came to the White House briefing room Thursday morning to tout new employment numbers showing that 4.8 million jobs were added in June, calling it "spectacular news."

"Today's announcement proves that our economy is roaring back" from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Trump said.

Economic experts have said the numbers could be deceiving, showing only a temporary comeback.

Indirectly acknowledging the nationwide record surge in new cases, he said in "some places where we're putting out the flames, the fires."

The president said his administration was working with governors to deal with the worsening crisis. "Getting rid of the flame, Trump said. "It's happening."

"The crisis is being handled," he said.

 

President Trump: “State officials will decide how rapidly to open their economics — that’s largely up to them. If we see something that’s egregious, we’ve gotten involved with a couple of them ... we’d like to see churches open quickly.” https://t.co/uCt5r1j6RO pic.twitter.com/BK3CcdMHnS

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) July 2, 2020

 

Trump predicted a strong third quarter as well.

"The good thing is the numbers will be coming out just prior to the election, so people will be able to see those," he added.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



buradaki/iStockBy JACQUELINE LAUREAN YATES, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Fun fact: Space has a specific smell and now there's a perfume that will allow your senses to get a whiff of it.

Eau de Space is the new fragrance
that has garnered a lot of attention after being posted on Kickstarter as a crowdfunding campaign.

The scent was originally created by chemist Steve Pearce who was contracted by NASA in 2008 to develop a scent that mimicked the smell of outer space.

This scent was initially made to help train astronauts and eliminate any surprises they may experience while launching into orbit.

Several astronauts have described the smell as being similar to seared steak, raspberries and metal.

In a video posted on Eau de Space's Kickstarter page, former NASA astronaut and space shuttle pilot Tony Antonelli reflected on the smell from his experience, saying, "The smell was strong and unique -- nothing like anything you had ever smelled on Earth before."

He added, "Some kind of metallic mixture of other things that I just didn't know how to describe."

According to the Kickstarter website, the smell of space has been locked behind "need to know" astronaut-only field training and red tape for years.

"Through sheer determination, grit, a lot of luck, and a couple of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, we got it out," according to the site.

Mirroring the date humans first landed on the moon, the campaign pledged an initial goal of $1,969 but has already received over $195,858 along with more than 4,746 backers.

The Eau de Space campaign has partnered with award-winning perfumers as well as a team of top fashion, tech, design and logistics professionals who all have a desire to increase STEM through experiential education.

There also is a plan in place to implement a reusability and recyclability process of unused products that will later be donated to K-12 educational programs around the world.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



courtneyk/iStockBy CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- The unemployment rate in the U.S. fell slightly to 11.1% in June, according to data released Thursday by the Department of Labor. Meanwhile, another 1.4 million workers filed for unemployment insurance in the last week.

Both reports highlight the ongoing anguish of the labor market some three months into the novel coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.

While the June jobs report shows some gains -- employment rose by 4.8 million last month -- some economists expressed worries it might not accurately represent the current employment climate.

Seth Harris, the former acting secretary of labor in the Obama administration, told ABC News the June jobs report does not yet capture the decision by states to pause their reopening plans.

"The important thing to remember is that these numbers, the monthly jobs report numbers, are from several weeks ago so they do not capture the reclosings that are happening in California, Arizona, Texas, Florida and other states," he said. "They also don’t capture the fact that there is continuing layoffs."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



DragonImages/iStockBy GIO BENITEZ and MINA KAJI, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- As more Americans hit the road for what experts are calling the "summer of the road trip," hotel chains and Airbnb hosts are stepping up their cleaning game and using new technologies in an effort to convince guests they are safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hotel giant Marriott International is using electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectant -- a tool U.S. airlines have also begun using -- to sanitize surfaces throughout the hotel.

The sprayers can be used to clean guest rooms, lobbies, gyms and other public areas, according to Marriott.

"A lot of the cleaning that you will physically see is going to be happening in public spaces," Chip Rogers, the president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) said. "So when you're in a lobby at the pool and a workout room in hallways, anywhere where the public is gathering or passing each other, you're going to see a lot more cleaning people physically cleaning more than they have in the past."

The Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles and its sister property, Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, are now using a UV light robot, which the manufacturer says reaches a 99.9% level of disinfection.

"UV light disinfection has been around about 100 years," James Malley, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of New Hampshire, said. "Done well, it can be a great tool in the toolbox, because it's an extremely rapid physical disinfectant that is chemical-free and it literally works at the speed of light."

Rogers said hotels have been cleaning against viruses for many years, "well before coronavirus." But even with these new technologies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends various precautions.

Before arriving at any hotel, the CDC recommends travelers use options for online check-in when possible and call to ask if the hotel's staff are all wearing cloth face coverings.

The agency says to minimize time spent in areas that may lead to close contact with other people as much as possible, like break rooms, patios, lounging areas, pools, salons and fitness centers.

If the hotel has multiple floors, the CDC says to "consider taking the stairs" or wait until the elevator is empty.

Dr. Jennifer Lighter, an associate hospital epidemiologist and pediatric infectious disease physician, said travelers should pay the most attention to frequently-touched surfaces in a hotel like doorknobs, elevator buttons, light switches.

Travelers "should look for a hotel that cleans the frequently-touched surfaces often, and that they require everyone to wear a face mask when not in their hotel room," Lighter said.

Although each home is not checked, since it is privately owned, short-term rental companies like Airbnb are also promising an enhanced cleaning protocol.

The company issued a checklist of items for hosts, stating that places must be cleaned and sanitized between each guest's stay. This includes fans and lamp chains, window handles, thermostats, condiments, faucet handles and more.

Airbnb has also encouraged hosts to consider adding a few extra supplies of hand soaps, paper towels, tissues and toilet paper.

"What we require is those hosts who have participated in the cleaning protocol to attest that they are, in fact, applying it," Chris Lehane, Airbnb's senior vice president for global policy and communications, said.

The company has seen more travelers looking to visit less urban and more rural destinations, including the Adirondacks, Catskills and Hudson Valley in New York, The Berkshires in Massachusetts, and North Carolina's Outer Banks and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

American Airlines and United Airlines are seeing the same trends -- both airlines are adding flights to areas with mountain hiking and national parks for the summer.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



HAKINMHAN/iStockBy KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The light at the end of the tunnel got a little dimmer for restaurants in New York City and New Jersey. Restauranteurs were finally prepared to welcome diners back inside after months of being closed and reorganizing venues to work at limited capacity service due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I woke up this morning and it was the first thing I checked -- whether or not we were able to open indoor dining," restaurant owner Emanuele Nigro told ABC News.

Nigro and hundreds of others restaurant owners will have to wait. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that New York City restaurants will not be allowed to reopen for indoor dining at reduced capacity as part of phase 3 on July 6 as previously planned.

"Indoors is the problem. The science is showing it more and more. We cannot go ahead at this point in time with indoor dining in New York City," de Blasio said at a press conference.

His decision came in tandem with an announcement by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said the next phase would be postponed in New York City until further notice, even as the rest of the state moves forward with plans to reopen.

"It's going to be postponed until the facts change and it is prudent to open. But the facts have to change because at this point it is imprudent," Cuomo said during a press conference. "This is a New York City-only modification, because frankly it is a problem that is most pronounced in New York City."

Cuomo said he was worried about cases going up in other states, but said the decision was made "partially [because of] lack of citizen compliance and lack of local government compliance enforcement."

A majority of local businesses had planned for weeks how to restructure, had placed food orders, set new menus and hired back staff in advance of the anticipated third phase rollout.

Like so many restaurants in the city, Nigro said his West Village Italian spot Osteria 57 "had staff on standby to work next week, so this was another setback. It's difficult to run our operation in this way without proper direction in advance."

Businesses in New York City that got the news just five days before they were set to serve guests at socially distanced tables inside, like Brooklyn Chop House, said, "It's a complete disaster what they're doing to restaurant entrepreneurs."

"This has hurt every restaurant I know. There's been a tremendous amount of losses in regards to food and staffing. You need seven to 10 days to prepare to reopen a restaurant and now everything we had to get ready for July 6 is down the drain," Stratis Morfogen, the restaurant's director of operations, told ABC News. "This isn't like turning on a light switch. There's weeks of preparation. Every restaurant has rehired staff and bought food."

The New York City Hospitality Alliance, a nonprofit organization that represents hundreds of restaurants and nightlife venues across the five boroughs, has seen firsthand the financial devastation inflicted by COVID-19 on the hard-hit restaurant industry and said in a press release Wednesday that "the only thing they can afford less than not reopening now, is to reopen, rehire and resupply to only be shut down again."

Andrew Rigie, the nonprofit's executive director, told ABC News that after four months of "making financial sacrifices" restaurants' "survival now depends on compensation reflective of those losses."

"We respect the government and public health officials' decision to postpone the anticipated July 6 reopening of indoor dining, but the longer neighborhood restaurants and bars are forced to be closed, the harder it will be for them to ever successfully reopen," he explained. "This makes it even more urgent to forgive rent, expand outdoor dining and enact other responsive policies to save our city's beloved small businesses and jobs."

Longtime New York City and New Jersey restaurateur Leah Cohen has seen the incredible toll COVID-19 has had on the industry, but after losing her own father to the virus in April, she also understands the greater implications.

"I fully support Cuomo and his decision to postpone indoor dining. He has been a true leader in New York and has been data driven not politically driven during our reopening process," Cohen told ABC News. "He has made smart decisions so far. The last thing we need to do is reopen just to shut back down."

"While we did prepare the restaurant for the return of indoor dining, we personally were not prepared to open that part of our business at this time," she said. "Our family has been through a lot and we had to take every precaution, and wait an extended period of time before reopening to ensure everyone's safety."

Cohen said that right now she is "thrilled to finally reopen" her vibrant Filipino and Thai restaurant Pig & Khao on the Lower East Side. It will start fulfilling takeout orders next week after being closed since March.

The chef and business owner moved her former New Jersey waterfront bar and restaurant into the heart of midtown Manhattan with the opening of Piggyback, her second New York City restaurant, which welcomed its first guests just weeks before the COVID-19 outbreak shut down the city.

But much like Morfogen, Cohen understands that other restaurants may now be reeling from the losses that come with the last-minute change of plans.

"I know a lot of my friends in the industry were ready and hopeful that we would be given the green light to move into phase 3 and I feel for them. I truly do," she said. "Many of them have rehired employees in preparation of Phase 3 only to now turn around and tell people they are out of work again," Cohen said.

Cohen furthered Rigie's point and called on city leaders to do more to help hard-hit restaurants with alternatives.

"I would have loved to see the city, in the same press conference postponing indoor dining, announcing expansion plans of outdoor dining areas. We need their support not just their concern," she said. "We need their help shutting down streets so people aren't setting up table and chairs with traffic going by. We need their help in working around problems safely."

The days and weeks ahead for New York City and New Jersey restaurants that have to postpone immediate plans for indoor dining remain uncertain, but restaurant owners like Cohen reiterated the importance of why it needed to be pushed back.

"While it is a scary decision for the hospitality industry as a whole, to postpone indoor dining, it will also be a very personal decision for each restaurant owner as to when and how to restart indoor dining when the time comes," she said. "None of this is easy or cut and dry. I am terrified for our industry and what's to come, but having personally seen the toll COVID takes on human life, I am more worried about everyone's health and safety first and foremost."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Kameleon007/iStockBy SARA KOLINOVSKY and CHEYENNE HASLETT, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- Congress has extended the deadline for small businesses to apply for approximately $134 billion in Paycheck Protection Program funds until Aug. 8.

The House of Representatives approved the extension by unanimous consent Wednesday evening. In an unexpected move, the Senate kicked off the process, also voting unanimously for the extension Tuesday evening. Now, the extension bill will head to President Donald Trump's desk. The president has not yet indicated whether he will sign it, although his administration has been vocally supportive of the program.

The effort comes as the PPP funding is in limbo. The application portal closed to small business owners at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, the original deadline to apply for the program. If Trump agrees to the extension, business owners will once again be able to access the forgivable loans.

The PPP is a cornerstone effort of the government's emergency coronavirus economic relief plan. Nearly 4.8 million loans have been granted to small businesses faced with shutdowns due to the pandemic, totaling more than $518 billion, according to the Small Business Administration. The loans are forgivable if businesses meet a few guidelines, including using 60% of the loan to keep employees on payroll.

Despite the success of the program, the fact that more than $100 billion remains unclaimed lays bare certain shortcomings. For many small businesses, especially those run by sole proprietors or in economically disadvantaged areas, which may not have access to accounting professionals or experience obtaining loans, the process to receive PPP funding was, and continues to be, daunting. Other small businesses were hesitant to apply for the loans as forgiveness guidelines shifted multiple times, and the prolonged pandemic meant many businesses felt they could not meet the 60% payroll threshold.

For restaurants in particular, PPP has not been a slam dunk. As COVID-19 cases are rising across the country, these businesses are being forced to shutter once again, which has rippling effects across the supply chain. The crisis led one restaurant advocacy group to renew a push to Congress to pass a $120 billion restaurant revitalization fund, in addition to PPP.

In a letter obtained by ABC News, more than 200 restaurant suppliers and trade groups, including Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors and Bacardi, are urging congressional leaders to take up the RESTAURANT Act, which would provide grants to restaurants that are not publicly traded and had less than $1.5 million in annual revenue prior to the pandemic. The effort is being spearheaded by the International Restaurant Coalition, an advocacy group whose leadership team includes celebrity chef Jose Andres.

"Since the mandatory closure of restaurants across the United States, we have experienced a near total market collapse for our goods. We were forced to lay off thousands of workers -- ranch hands, chemists, lobstermen, farmers, from every state in the country," the letter says. "If small restaurants are not given direct relief, they will close in debt, and related industries will fail -- permanently."

Though need still exists for the money, it does not simply get re-absorbed or rolled over for any other SBA programs, according to the agency. Congress must decide how to re-appropriate it.

"Congress and the administration will consider proposals of how to use the remaining funds. The dollars appropriated for the PPP do not get rolled over to regular SBA 7(a) loan funding (SBA's loan program that existed before COVID) or any other SBA program," a regional spokesperson for the SBA told ABC News.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R.-Fla., chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, is currently working to re-imagine the program after the current the extension.

"My preference is that we hold on to the $130 billion that was in use and rather than having a revert, using that to fund a second round of assistance to small businesses. Obviously we'll have to be more targeted at truly small businesses and, in addition to that, I'm also developing a program to provide financing for businesses in under served communities or opportunity zones and other zip codes that would fall in that category," Rubio said Tuesday. "I'm very concerned that a lot of minority businesses, particularly black-owned businesses already struggling to begin with, have access to capital."

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., the ranking member on the Small Business Committee, has proposed legislation that would allow the smallest of small businesses to obtain a second round of PPP funding, and extend the application deadline through December, or whenever Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza sees fit. The idea is to target the businesses that still need help: minority-owned businesses, businesses with fewer than 100 employees and industries like hospitality and retail that have yet to recover since receiving the initial round of PPP loans.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified Tuesday that there's bipartisan support to extend PPP and target it to the most hard-hit businesses. He said expects legislation by the end of July, which means there will be a lapse in the program from July 1 until it is passed.

"I think that there's, there appears to be bipartisan support in the Senate to repurpose the $130 billion for PPP, extending it to businesses that are most hard hit, that have a requirement that their revenues have dropped significantly -- things like restaurants and hotels and others, where it is critical to get people back to work," Mnuchin said.

"I've already had conversations with the SBA committee in the Senate about repurposing that hundred $135 billion and think that should be done, and look forward to working with both the House and the Senate so that we can pass legislation by the end of July," he said.

ABC News' Trish Turner and Mariam Khan contributed to this report.


Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Pixsooz / iStockBy Katie Kindelan via GMA

(HOUSTON) -- At least two realtor groups are now no longer using the word "master" to describe bedrooms and bathrooms in their listings.

The Houston Association of Realtors replaced the phrases "master bedroom" and "master bathroom" with "primary bedroom" and "primary bathroom" on its property listing database.

"We changed the terms Master Bedroom and Master Bath to Primary Bedroom and Primary Bath in our internal MLS entry platform after a diverse group of members expressed concern that some consumers might perceive the terms to be sexist or racist," a spokesperson for HAR told ABC News. "No one felt Primary would be objectionable."

The idea to stop using the term "master" in listings has been a topic of discussion among HAR members for several years. Some members did not personally view the term "master" as either racist or sexist but were willing to change it for others who may find it objectionable, according to the spokesperson.

However, HAR said its agents will not be fined or banned from using the terms "master bedroom" and "master bathroom" in their own marketing materials and remarks.

Several states away, in Illinois, Holly Connors, the managing partner of GetBurbed, a brokerage firm, also made the decision this month to discontinue using the term "master" and use "main" instead in her agency's materials and listings.

"It pretty much suggests that a white, Anglo-Saxon male lives in that room," she said of the term "master bedroom." "As a woman and a woman-owned business I think it's appropriate to change our line of thinking."

People have called for the end of using the term for some time, but now amid racial protests across the country after George Floyd's death, it is a change whose time has come, according to Connors.

In recent weeks, companies including Aunt Jemima, Mrs. Butterworth, Uncle Ben's and Cream of Wheat have all announced plans to change their brands and packaging in response to calls for racial justice in the U.S.

Connors is now calling on other realtors and industry sites like MLS.com, the real estate listing service, to make the change too.

"There's a lot of things that people do in everyday life that we don't necessarily realize are derogatory and if people have opened their eyes to the ideas or they're open to it, I think the world is ready for change," she said. "The major online real estate websites have to get on board with the idea too. It can't be as simple as some brokerages in Illinois making the change, or some in Texas."

PulteGroup, an Atlanta-based national home construction company, confirmed to ABC News that it phased out the term master bedroom several years ago. It now uses the terms "owner's suite" and "owner's bath" in its floor plans.

The exact origins of the term master bedroom are debated. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as "a large or principal bedroom" and says its first known use was in 1925.

The term master though on its own is defined as the male head of a household and the owner or employer of slaves and servants.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has determined in the past that the term master bedroom is not discriminatory and its use does not violate fair housing laws.

The National Association of Realtors, which represents 1.4 million members, said it does not oppose realtors using other terms to describe a listing's main bedroom and bathroom.

"Even though there may be no historical connection to discrimination and HUD finds it does not violate fair housing laws, NAR has no objection to the use of other terminology if consensus evolves that the word has taken on new meaning," Vince Malta, the 2020 president of the National Association of Realtors, told ABC News in a statement. "NAR is laser-focused on effecting accountability, culture change and training to address the discrimination that still occurs too often in housing transactions, which we believe to be the most pressing and significant issue at hand."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



wellesenterprises/istockBy CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A major advisory firm is urging Tesla shareholders to vote to remove CEO Elon Musk from the company's board, citing "a number of concerns" ranging from his erratic Twitter use, his rush to reopen amid COVID-19 and his "excessive" compensation package.

Pensions & Investment Research Consultants (PIRC), a London-based shareholder advisory and consulting firm, noted in a report on Tuesday to shareholders that Musk "presents a serious risk of reputational harm to the company and its shareholders, particularly through the use of his Twitter account."

The report referenced the "pedo guy" tweet saga that sparked a defamation trial in 2019 after Musk attacked a British diver assisting in the Thai cave rescue in 2018 via Twitter. Musk eventually won the defamation suit and did not have to pay damages, though the trial was highly publicized.

Moreover, Musk "has been a vocal opponent of the COVID-19 quarantine, and reportedly required workers to return to work during quarantine, without sufficient precautions/protections and despite protests from workers," the report added. "This concern is furthered as it has also been reported that multiple Tesla employees have tested positive for Covid-19 since returning to work."

In May, Musk announced (also via Twitter) that he was defying a local government lockdown order to reopen his California electric car plant.

Finally, the report noted that in August 2018, Musk's tweet that he was considering taking Tesla private led to a jump in stock prices, an SEC investigation into market abuse and a $40 million settlement that advisors at PIRC say the CEO could be considered responsible for.

Musk has not publicly responded to the report.

The Tesla shareholders meeting was initially scheduled for July 7, but Musk announced on Twitter last week that it was tentatively being moved to Sept. 15.

Tesla did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment Wednesday.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



ABC NewsBy KATIE KINDELAN, ABC News

(PHILADELPHIA) -- The first woman and first person of color to lead the prestigious Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania says she wants young people to see her history-making role as an example to "always bet on yourself."

"We have to change our own self-talk," Dr. Erika James said Wednesday on Good Morning America. "Often times we impede our own progress because we don't have the confidence to say, 'Yes I am ready for this role. Yes I can meet these challenges. Yes I have the expertise and the background that's necessary.'"

"When we get out of our own way and truly bet on ourselves, that's when we start to create other people's confidence in us," she said. "My strongest advice to young people is to always bet on yourself."

James spoke with GMA co-anchor Robin Roberts on her first day as the new dean of Wharton, the business school at the University of Pennsylvania. She previously led the Goizueta Business School at Emory University, where she was also the first female African American dean.

James' expertise is in organizational behavior, gender and racial diversity and crisis leadership, a background that will serve her well as she takes the helm of Wharton at a time of both racial and health crises in the United States, with the coronavirus pandemic and the racial protests following the death of George Floyd in May.

"In the past couple of months the world has really changed," said James, whose appointment was announced in February. "We have focus on racial justice. We have the COVID pandemic, so really the impact that those events have had on higher education means that my first set of initiatives will have to be how do we bring together an incredibly successful student experience for our students when they come back in the fall."

James said she plans to focus at Wharton on making sure positions are filled with the "right kind of talent," adding that she believes "talent exists everywhere and comes in all colors and packages."

"This is an awesome responsibility, not just in terms of the magnitude of the role of being the dean of the Wharton School but so many eyes are watching me and so many eyes are watching you and people who are in these positions to really make a difference," James said to Roberts. "I personally feel that while my focus has to be primarily and predominantly on ensuring that we take the country's first, biggest and best business school and make it even better, that only will happen if we ensure that we have the right kind of talent in the right positions."

Finding diverse employees from different backgrounds is something that all companies can do now as a concrete step toward change, according to James.

"We often say that there's not a pipeline of diverse talent. Well, there's not a pipeline if you look in a very narrow set of places for that talent," she said. "One of the things companies can do differently is broaden where they go to identify where there's possibly really exceptional talent that might be untapped."

Today, we officially welcome @ErikaHJames as the 17th Dean of the Wharton School: https://t.co/kbuXHYyPhZ

Trained as an organizational psychologist, Dean Erika James is a leading expert on crisis leadership, workplace diversity, and management strategy.#WelcomeErikaJames pic.twitter.com/9bzhZjM5Gv

— Wharton School (@Wharton) July 1, 2020

James added that she also hopes companies focus not only on hiring people of color and women in organizations, but taking steps to make sure they succeed and are able to reach the highest levels of the organization.

"The networks for white Americans in corporate America look very different from the networks of Black folks in corporate America," said James, who did her doctoral dissertation on the topic of networks. "The access that they have to people who are in the room making decisions around the projects and the pay and the promotions impedes or can facilitate progress."

"We need to make sure that the relationships that people are able to really establish and build can help promote diversity at the upper levels of the organization," she said.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



The InfatuationBy KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- With the restaurant industry rapidly evolving amid the coronavirus pandemic, The Infatuation announced Tuesday that their numbered ratings scale on all reviews are officially a thing of the past.

The once-helpful metric has quickly become an outdated language that no longer speaks to consumers due to the profound changes that have impacted restaurants as a result of COVID-19.

In doing away with the numerical scorecard, the service can set the table for new possibilities and more insightful resources for the new dining landscape.

"As we entered this period of this global pandemic we started thinking really holistically about how we would change our restaurant coverage," editor in chief Hillary Reinsberg told ABC News. "I think diners are looking for different things in making restaurant decisions right now."

The New York-based restaurant discovery and recommendation platform that started 11 years ago has been a trusted voice in the global food space to help users across major U.S. cities and abroad find the best spots for gatherings ranging from date nights and celebrations to casual coffee meetings.

The platform, as Reinsberg explained, was built on the idea of how to find the "perfect spot for a specific situation" in a particular area, which she believes will remain useful as the industry and consumer appetite continues to adapt.

Reinsberg and her staff considered the important question about the fairness of their old ratings system over the next year or two years and assessed how it would be seen as accurate.

"Through talking to people who are doing activist work for the restaurant industry, we started to really get an understanding of the fact that restaurants were going through really profound changes," she said. "That led us to think -- how would we possibly accurately review a restaurant right now?"

There is a laundry list of other uncertainties around restaurant reopenings that vary by state, including how restaurants would look with new outdoor versus indoor dining experiences, she said.

"Those conversations were the ones that were a catalyst for us -- but we realize there were benefits for removing the ratings beyond the present moment," said Reinsberg.

Reinsberg hailed their product, engineering and design teams for their ability to standup the retooled site and app "really quickly -- over the last month" to remove the old ratings from its thousands of reviews that spanned every corner of the country from New York City and Atlanta to Los Angeles, Seattle and beyond.

She added that the brand will continue to "rethink what restaurant discovery looks like on both The Infatuation and Zagat -- we see it as a collaboration between editorial and the technical product."

The Infatuation acquired the acclaimed slim, red-covered restaurant guide book and review brand from Google in 2018.

Reinsberg said they will focus on finding new ways to present relevant restaurant information to readers, including openings, closings and other big changes.

"You'll definitely see more editorial and more product changes as things develop. This is really just sort of the first step in a lot of ways," she said.

As their content continues to adapt to match the highly dynamic food and restaurant space right now, Reinsberg said The Infatuation has also kept its ears to the ground to deliver information new in formats for readers.

One of the site's Los Angeles writers, whose Black-owned restaurant Google Doc went viral, is a prime example of how localized lists with user-generated information could become a new model as readers show an increased desire to support businesses that need help or give back to the community.

"We'll be exploring new types of content as well, and that does mean different formats, bringing on more voices," the editor in chief said. "We want to cover more neighborhoods and more cities that we're not in."

Zagat conducted a survey on the future of dining in partnership with The James Beard Foundation, which found a significant shift in how consumers approach eating at restaurants following the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19.

Reinsberg said the results highlighted that there are "new factors that are most important to diners."

"We saw through that health and safety were a major concern for people. And I think you're seeing a new kind of consciousness in dining," she explained, adding that there's an interest in not only who is behind a restaurant, but "what role are they playing in the industry."

"It's been amazing to see what restaurants are doing to support their communities through charitable work. Even in this incredibly difficult time for themselves they're still finding ways to reach out and support each other and essential workers," she said.

Although the future of the hard-hit restaurant and food service industry seems to shift daily, Reinsberg said resources like The Infatuation remain committed to carving out a new version of coverage to help both diners and restaurants.

"There's been a lot of awakening about how we make our dining choices," Reinsberg said. "It's a profoundly different time for restaurants."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Ulta BeautyBy JACQUELINE LAUREAN YATES, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- If you are excited to channel looks from the upcoming film Wonder Woman 1984, Ulta Beauty has a treat for you.

There's now a new beauty collection based on actress Gal Gadot's popular character. The latest launch is centered around empowerment, strength and courage.

"Wonder Woman 1984 x Ulta Beauty Collection is all about taking time for yourself, with products that pack a playful punch," the company said in a statement.

Ulta Beauty also got many fans excited by posting a look at the entire collection.

"As far as accessories go, a glowing golden lasso that makes everyone tell the truth seems hard to beat, but these can compete," the company captioned a photo.

The Wonder Woman 1984 x Ulta Beauty Collection features eight products designed in the heroines signature hues -- gold, blue and red.

It also includes a scented soy blend candle, peel-off face mask, body wash, body scrub, bath bomb, cosmetic bags and nail decals ranging from $8 - $24.

The movie is slated to premiere in October, but you can stock up on Wonder Women 1984's beautifying buys now on Ulta's website and in stores.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Powerofflowers/iStockBy Catherine Thorbecke, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A team of analysts at investment bank Goldman Sachs argued that mandatory face masks nationwide could not only improve health outcomes amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, but could also save the U.S. gross domestic product from a potential 5% hit.

A nationwide face coverings mandate coupled with stringent bans on large gatherings "could partially substitute for renewed lockdowns," Goldman Sachs analysts Jan Hatzius, Daan Struyven and Isabella Rosenberg wrote in their report, noting this could salvage large amounts of economic activity that would otherwise be shut down due to pandemic precautions.

The researchers estimated that a national mandate on masks would increase the percentage of people who wear them by 15 percentage points, and especially help places such as Florida and Texas that don't have a comprehensive mandate and are experiencing new jumps in COVID-19 cases.

Moreover, based on their analysis of health outcomes, a national mask mandate would cut the daily growth rate of confirmed cases by 1 percentage point.

Finally, the researchers translated their findings into financial terms by looking at their research on how lockdown measures impact GDP.

"These calculations imply that a face mask mandate could potentially substitute for lockdowns that would otherwise subtract nearly 5% from GDP," the economists wrote.

The analysts also looked at data from the economies of Japan, China and South Korea, where face mask use, especially during a health crisis, is part of the national norm. Ninety percent of respondents said they wore a mask in East Asia, where case totals have plummeted in recent months.

As shown in Exhibit 3, face mask usage in the U.S. is highest in the Northeast, where the virus situation has improved dramatically in recently, and generally lower in the South, where the numbers have deteriorated.

Guidance on facial coverings from medical authorities evolved greatly as the pandemic raged on, leading to confusion in some places. As late as March 30, the World Health Organization's epidemics chief said "there is no specific evidence to suggest that the wearing of masks by the mass population has any particular benefit."

The WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have since reversed course, saying that wearing face coverings play an important role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in communities.

In the U.S., however, the medical guidance has become embroiled in a culture war. Even President Donald Trump insisted this week that mask-wearing is everyone's "personal choice" despite the health crisis and concerning rises in COVID-19 cases throughout parts of the country.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Talaj/iStockBy Megan Stone and Jacqueline Laurean Yates via GMA

(NEW YORK) -- There could possibly be a new billionaire in town and her name is Kim Kardashian West.

On Monday, it was announced that the multi-hyphenate mogul has sold 20% of her beauty brands to Coty for $200 million.

"We are thrilled to welcome one of the most influential beauty icons to the Coty family: @kimkardashian West," Coty Inc. captioned a photo announcing the new deal. "With Kim's influence and our deep expertise in prestige beauty we will build a beauty powerhouse and enter new beauty categories together."

"Partnering with an established organization like Coty will be instrumental in the advancement of my brands as their global reach allows for faster expansion so people around the world are able to experience new launches first hand," said Kardashian West in a statement. "This relationship will allow me to focus on the creative elements that I'm so passionate about while benefiting from the incredible resources of Coty, and launching my products around the world."

Husband Kanye West announced his wife's achievement on Twitter in a picture depicting an arrangement of fruits and flowers, a green pepper and a pink rose, soaking in the sun.

"I am so proud of my beautiful wife Kim Kardashian West for officially becoming a billionaire," he praised in an enthusiastic tribute. "You've weathered the craziest storms and now God is shining on you and our family."

"So blessed this is still life," the 43-year-old continued. "So I made you this still life."

He ended his tribute honoring his wife of six years with "We love you so much."


Forbes Magazine claims that the sale officially pushed the beauty mogul to a net worth totaling $900 million and has increased the value in her company at over a billion dollars.

Kardashian West will retain majority ownership of KKW Beauty at 72&. As to what her ongoing responsibilities will be, Coty stated that she will be "responsible for creative efforts while Coty will focus on expanding product development outside the realm of color cosmetics."

In 2019, her sister, Kylie Jenner, also sold a 51% stake of her beauty brands to Coty as well.

It also should be noted that Forbes classifies her husband as a billionaire due to his Yeezy clothing empire, valuing his company's net worth at $1.3 billion.

Last week, the "Closed on Sunday" rapper revealed a new partnership with Gap to launch a Yeezy line of apparel slated to release in 2021.

The couple share four children together, seven-year-old North, four-year-old Saint, two-year-old Chicago and Psalm, 13 months.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



stockcam/iStockBy CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Netflix announced it is allocating 2% of its cash holdings going forward -- a sum of up to $100 million initially -- into financial institutions that directly support Black communities in the U.S. as a way to help ameliorate the deep-seated racial wealth gap.

"Because of capital isolation, many Black communities lack the access to capital that could help reduce the staggering racial wealth gap that’s persisted for generations," Spence Neumann, Netflix's chief financial officer, said in a statement Tuesday.

"Moving some of Netflix's cash deposits into Black-focused institutions and organizations in the U.S. can put more capital to work for the people and businesses in these communities and narrow the gap," Neumann added.

The announcement comes as corporate America is facing a growing reckoning over its role in racial justice, after protests over the killing of George Floyd have put immense public pressure on companies to affirm support through actions and not just words.

The 2% investment idea has been attributed to Black billionaire Robert F. Smith, who has long advocated for large corporations to use 2% of their net income to empower minority communities and capitalize Black-owned financial institutions and businesses, according to a 2019 Forbes interview.

In a separate statement announcing the investment, Netflix's Director of Talent Acquisition Aaron Mitchell and Treasury Director Shannon Alwyn said they believe bringing capital into Black communities "can make a meaningful difference for the people and businesses in them, helping more families buy their first home or save for college, and more small businesses get started or grow."

Black-owned or led banks represent just 1% of America's commercial banking assets, Mitchell and Alwyn added, citing FDIC statistics, saying this is one factor that contributes to the nation's racial wealth gap. Moreover, Mitchell and Alwyn noted that 19% of Black families in the U.S. have either negative wealth or no assets at all -- more than double the rate of White families, citing Federal Reserve data.

The two said they hope that Netflix redirecting masses of wealth to Black-led financial institutions will help inspire other large companies to do the same.

As a first step, Mitchell and Alwyn say they will be putting $25 million in cash into the Black Economic Development Initiative, which will invest the funds into Black financial institutions that serve predominately low and moderate-income communities.

They will also put $10 million into the Hope Credit Union, where they say the deposit will be used to fuel economic opportunities across the Deep South.

Netflix's investment news comes on the heels of its CEO Reed Hastings announcing he and his wife, philanthropist Patty Quillin, were making a $120 million donation to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Althom/iStockBy CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(VANCOUVER, British Columbia) -- Lululemon Athletica said it will acquire at-home fitness startup Mirror as it looks to expand its market reach beyond yoga pants and athleisure wear.

The Vancouver-based company is entering into a definitive agreement to acquire Mirror for $500 million, Lululemon said in a statement to investors on Monday.

"In 2019, we detailed our vision to be the experiential brand that ignites a community of people living the sweatlife through sweat, grow and connect," Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald said in a statement.

"The acquisition of MIRROR is an exciting opportunity to build upon that vision, enhance our digital and interactive capabilities, and deepen our roots in the sweatlife," McDonald added. "We look forward to learning from and working with Brynn Putnam and the team at MIRROR to accelerate the growth of personalized in-home fitness."

Putnam, founder and CEO of Mirror, said he's "thrilled to officially become a part of the Lululemon family."

Putnam added that he hopes to leverage Lululemon's relationship with guests and "ambassadors" to acquire users. Putnam will continue as Mirror's CEO but report to McDonald.

Mirror, which launched in 2018, offers on-demand workouts and virtual personal training streamed through a videoed mirror screen. The device starts at about $1,500, not including subscription fees for live or on-demand classes.

In a 2018 interview with Good Morning America, Putnam said inspiration for the device came after he "realized that we could build a nearly invisible home gym using a mirror."

"The first thing most people say when they see the Mirror is, 'This is the future,'" Putnam said.

The acquisition comes even as -- like much of the retail sector -- Lululemon took a major financial hit due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The company revealed earlier this month that net revenue declined 17% in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020 compared with 2019, as all of the company's stores in North America and Europe were shuttered for a significant portion of the quarter. As of June 10, Lululemon said 295 of its 489 company-operated stores had reopened.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Keep Informed
Local News

WJTN News Headlines for July 2. 2020

A Jamestown woman was charged with three-counts of reckless endangerment for allegedly trying to run a woman over during an overnight domestic dispute. City police were called to the area of Bush and ...

Read More