IN Response to the coronavirus, companies across the country are pursuing coronavirus relief efforts to help people and businesses most impacted by pandemic. Tech companies are donating millions to help small businesses, healthcare workers and COVID-19 patients. Meanwhile, companies outside the healthcare sector are producing hand sanitizer, masks and other products to curb the spread of the virus. Many are also establishing programs to help those who can’t come to work. In addition to benefitting from companies who are doing their part to help people stay safe and financially afloat, Americans can also work with a financial advisor to protect their investments during this time of uncertainty.
Amazon launched a $5 million Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund. It will support cash grants for Seattle-area small businesses with fewer than 50 employees or less than $7 million in annual revenue. The fund is aimed at businesses that heavily rely on foot traffic.
The e-commerce giant also plans to hire more than 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers to cope with a spike in demand. Amazon is also raising pay for these workers based in the U.S. by $2 per hour.
Google has pledged an $800 million coronavirus relief package to help small-to-medium sized businesses, health organizations, governments and healthcare workers affected by the coronavirus. Part of this package includes $340 million in Google Ad credits for small businesses with Google accounts. It also includes $240 million in ad grants meant to help the World Health Organization (WHO) and more than 100 government agencies “spread critical information about COVID-19.”
The company is also setting aside $20 million in Google Cloud credits for researchers and academic entities working on potential vaccines, therapies and other efforts against the coronavirus.
Facebook is also rolling out a coronavirus relief package for businesses. The social media giant intends to send $100 million in cash grants and ad credits to more than 30,000 small businesses based in the countries where its employees work and live. The company announced that it wants the cash to help businesses stay afloat and continue paying employees who can’t go to work.
Facebook plans to release applications for this relief package in the coming weeks. But users can sign up to receive more information as it’s made available.
In addition, Facebook announced it’s committing $100 million to help local news outlets cover the coronavirus pandemic. That includes a $25 million emergency grant for the Facebook Journalism Project and $75 million set aside to support the marketing efforts of these news organizations.
Facebook is also giving $1,000 bonuses to each of its employees.
GoFundMe is collaborating with Yelp and Intuit QuickBooks, the makers of TurboTax, to run the Small Business Relief Fund. Through this initiative, qualifying businesses that have raised at least $500 through GoFundMe will receive a matching $500 grant. GoFundMe has posted a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page designed to help businesses determine if they qualify.
“Social distancing and government-mandated shutdowns are disproportionately affecting businesses that need foot traffic to survive,” GoFundMe said in a statement. “Whether it’s the local bakery, pizzeria or nail salon – they need us.” As of this writing, the fund has raised more than $1.6 million. Its goal is to raise $1,700,000. Anyone can donate to this fund, which the company will use to support qualifying small businesses.
With the help of other businesses and government entities, Microsoft helped launch the COVID-19 Response Fund (CRF). Administered by the Seattle Foundation, this fund is designed to provide financial assistance to Puget Sound locals most affected by the coronavirus including individuals without health insurance, people who can’t take paid sick leave and healthcare workers. Microsoft donated an initial $1 million to the fund. But as of this writing, the CRF has generated more than $15 million. The Seattle Foundation will use this money to administer one-time grants for local public health organizations and nonprofits working directly with affected communities.
And to support its own employees, Microsoft announced it will continue paying hourly workers supporting its campus. The company will also keep paying vendors their normal pay even during times of reduced service needs.
Apple is donating millions of masks to healthcare workers across the U.S. and Europe. It’s also extending unlimited coronavirus paid sick leave to any retail staff member experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus.
Salesforce has created a $1.5 million dollar coronavirus fund for affected citizens in San Francisco.
UberEats has temporarily waived fees for its independent restaurant partners. And to give local businesses some fuel, the company is eliminating delivery fees on food from more than 100,000 independent restaurants.
CASETify, a company that produces phone cases and other accessories, is giving 100% of the proceeds on its new UV tech sanitizer to the Coronavirus Relief Fund. This is a registered non-profit sending supplies, food and other necessities to communities impacted by the virus.
Companies are rolling out coronavirus relief efforts
Walmart has rolled out an emergency paid leave program. It will support workers suffering from the coronavirus and those under mandated quarantine with two-weeks pay. If they still can’t come to work after those two weeks, they may extend pay up to 26 weeks. This policy applies to part-time and full-time associates.
The grocery delivery company Instacart plans to hire 300,000 “shoppers.” The company is also providing paid sick leave benefits to workers suffering from the coronavirus and those in mandated self-quarantine. And as the delivery industry takes on added pressure, the company announced customer ratings won’t affect contractors’ access to future order requests.
Airbnb has pledged $25 million to support hosts impacted by cancellations in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The company is extending its extenuating circumstances policy to cover some reservations booked on or before March 14 with a check-in between March 14 and May 31. In a press release, Airbnb announced it would allow the following for covered reservations:
Guests will be able to cancel for a full refund for COVID-19-related circumstances
Airbnb will pay 25% of what you would’ve received for a cancellation based on your cancellation policy. For example, if you would normally receive $400 USD through your cancellation policy, the company will pay you 25% of that—or $100 USD.
Future payments from the fund will be made on a monthly basis to hosts with qualifying cancellations.
This policy will also apply retroactively, including any cancellations Airbnb hosts may have had since March 14.
As the coronavirus spread, the hotel industry became one of the hardest hit sectors. Nonetheless, Hilton is waiving cancellation fees for customers in countries where the coronavirus is present.
Delta’s CEO announced he is forgoing the rest of his 2020 salary in order to reduce the company’s layoffs.
College students who have been forced out of their dorms can request up to 30-days of free self storage space from U-Haul.
Food and Beverage
Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser, is redirecting its sports and entertainment sponsorship investments to non-profit organizations assisting those affected directly by the coronavirus. And in addition to a $5 million donation to the American Red Cross, the company is also working with its sports partners to turn arenas and stadiums into temporary blood drive centers. Anheuser-Busch is also donating media air time to the American Red Cross.
Moreover, the company announced that it’s using its supply and logistics networks to produce hand sanitizer. According to a company press release, the disinfectants will be transported to Red Cross blood donation centers to support emergency shelters.
Yum Brands CEO David Gibbs is foregoing the rest of this year’s $900,000 base salary in 2020 to give one-time $1,000 checks to general managers of companies it owns, including KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. Part of that salary will also support the Yum Brands Foundation Global Employee Medical Relief Fund, which would provide grants to employees directly affected by the coronavirus.
Domino’s Pizza expects to hire about 10,000 workers nationwide in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The company is seeking drivers, cooks, customer service representatives, managers and licensed truck drivers.
The content streaming giant Netflix is setting up a $100 million relief fund to support cast and crew members of productions that have been put on pause because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, the company stated it will provide $15 million to “third parties and non-profits providing emergency relief to out-of-work cast and crew personnel in the countries where it has a large production base.
The United Auto Workers (UAW), General Motors Co., Ford Motor Company and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have joined forces to create the COVID-19/Coronavirus Task Force. The group plans to share its resources in order to protect manufacturing and warehouse employees in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Financial and Insurance Services
The insurance company Allstate announced that it will allow some homeowner and auto policyholders to delay two consecutive premium payments with no penalties.
To help customers and businesses financially affected by the coronavirus, several banks are rolling out relief programs and donating to organizations assisting the most at-risk people in their communities. Below, we list some initiatives. Some banks have also established relief programs aimed at businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The best way to see if your bank has any relief program in place is to contact a customer service representative.
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan donated $100 million to support nonprofits
JP Morgan Chase bank CEO Jamie Dimon donated $50 million to “address immediate public health needs as well as long-term economic challenges.”
Citizens Bank donated $5 million to support small businesses and communities impacted by the coronavirus.
Truist Financial Corp plans to commit $25 million to bring aid and supplies to communities that have been affected by the coronavirus. Through its Truist Charitable Fund, the bank is donating $1 million to the CDC Foundation and John Hopkins University. It’s also delivering $3 million to United Way organizations through its Truist Foundation.
Companies, governments and non-profits are working around the clock to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The best thing you can do to shield your investments and savings during troubling economic times is to work with a qualified financial advisor.