The outbreak of the coronavirus has dealt a shock to the global economy with unprecedented speed. Following are developments Thursday related to the national and global response, the work place and the spread of the virus.
TRAVEL & LEISURE:
— Hong Kong Disneyland officially reopened on Thursday after a major drop in coronavirus cases in the Chinese territory. Advance reservations will be required and only limited attendance will be allowed at the park, one of the pillars of Hong Kong’s crucial tourism industry.
Social distancing measures are being implemented in lines, at restaurants, on rides and at shops, while cleaning and disinfecting will be increased. Visitors will have their temperatures checked at the entrance and will be required to wear masks at all times inside the park, except when eating and drinking.
Disneyis planning to reopen its parks in California and Florida next month.
— Delta Air Lines says more than 40,000 of its 91,000 employees have agreed to take unpaid leave of up to a year, which along with a “moderate” increase in ticket sales is helping the airline cut its cash burn rate to $30 million a day by the end of this month. That is $10 million a day less than Delta forecast a week ago.
Delta has raised more than $14 billion in financing and expects to have $10 billion in available funds by year end. U.S. airlines face layoffs when federal payroll aid runs out in October unless air travel rebounds.
— Carnival’s revenue nosedived in the second quarter as it was unable to sail any cruises.
The company hasn’t sailed any cruises since mid-March. For the quarter, the cruise operator reported an adjusted loss of $2.38 billion on revenue of $700 million. A year earlier it had an adjusted profit of $457 million on revenue of $4.8 billion.
Carnival anticipates a phased resumption of its cruises, but doesn’t have a specific start date. The company expects that initial sailings will be from a select number of easily accessible homeports.
Carnival says it’s seeing growing demand for new bookings for next year. For the six weeks ended May 31, approximately two-thirds of 2021 bookings were new bookings. The remaining 2021 booking volumes was from guests applying future cruise credits to specific cruises.
CONSUMER SPENDING: Consumers are increasingly moving away from cash and opting for contact-free and digital payment experiences, according to a study by Mastercard.
Globally, almost seven in 10 consumers say the shift to digital payments will likely be permanent, and nearly half of consumers plan to use cash less, even after the pandemic subsides, according to a Mastercard weekly survey launched April 27.
Online spending in the U.S. grew by 93% year-over-year in May, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which measures retail sales across all payment types including cash and check.
AUTOMOBILES: Car production in the Czech Republic fell by 52.9% in May from a year ago, with new car registration down 44.4%.
The Czech Automotive Industry Association says production began to somewhat recover in May following an 88.5% decline in April, but it remains under pressure due to a lack of demand.
Overall, a total of 399,681 cars were made in the country in the first five months of the year, down by 35.7% compared with the same period last year.
The Czech economy relies heavily on the car industry. Germany’s Volkswagen, South Korea’s Hyundai and Japan-France’s Toytota/PSA all have major plants in the country.
CENTRAL GOVERNMENTS & BANKS:
— Greece’s government has announced a new system of fines and penalties for businesses that are found to be violating regulations imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Under details published Thursday in the governmentgazette, fines for violations will range from 1,000 euros to 50,000 euros ($1,125 to $56,240). For bars and restaurants, offending businesses will be shut down for 15 days for the first violation, 30 days for the second violation and 60 days for the third if all three violations occur within three months.
Other retail businesses face similar penalties, with the amount of the fines varying in accordance to whether the violation is the first, and according to the size of the business.
Regulations include limits on the number of people allowed into a business depending on its physical size, distances to be maintained between tables at cafes, bars, restaurants and outdoor movie theaters, and mandatory masks to be work by staff handling fresh food.
— The Spanish government has announced an economic assistance plan of more than 4.2 billion euros ($4.7 billion) for the nation’s tourism industry.
Tourism generates 12% of Spain’s GDP and provides 2.6 million jobs. It is especially important on Spain’s Balearic and Canary Islands.
The aid package is aimed to help the tourism industry improve its health standards to make travel safer in times of a pandemic and offer direct lines of credit to failing companies, among other measures.
Juan Cierco, head of tourism for Spain’s Chamber of Commerce, said Thursday that Spain’s tourism sector was in a “critical” situation and set to lose 84 billion euros ($94 billion) this year.
The government announced a separate aid package for its auto industry earlier this week.