With the onset of coronavirus panic, many see this as proof of the “failings” of capitalism as bread shelves are finally empty in the midst of a global pandemic. Although it took this much to turn American stores into what is essentially just a Venezuelan Thursday, this means that it’s time to decry the weak response to COVID-19 by late stage capitalism. But is this supposedly decaying system really unequipped to handle the panic?
Worry not, as not only will the toilet paper be back on shelves before you can finish saying “from each according to their ability”, but each will be able to meet their own needs and then some. This is because on top of supply lines still well in effect, there are countless examples of private business taking this crisis in stride and rising to the occasion.
Here are six examples of different businesses or industries working to adapt to the coronavirus threat:
#1: Comcast Expanded Free Wifi Services
In the wake of COVID-19 hitting America, closures are commonplace, from restaurants to sports gatherings to schools, especially. It’s no surprise that the internet is extremely important to academia as many colleges cancel classroom meetings and online alternatives become the norm. Given such a predicament, it’s no surprise that Comcast has decided to give its wifi services for free while the pandemic plagues the people of this nation.
According to a company statement, Comcast noted that “During this extraordinary time, it is vital that as many Americans as possible stay connected to the internet — for education, work, and personal health reasons.” You can rest easy that in this time, Comcast will not be cutting anyone’s service, and is dedicating its best efforts to maintaining service going forward.
#2: The NBA/NHL/PGA/NCAA/Etc. Ending/Suspending Their Seasons Over Public Health Concerns
In a pandemic such as this, it is incredibly important to engage in social distancing – keeping away from one another and self-isolating to avoid spreading the disease if at all possible. To that end, despite people deciding this past weekend to go out drinking and partying like it’s the end of the world, those in charge of our time-honored sports traditions have instead taken the approach of discouraging such. As a result, the NBA suspended its 2020 season over concerns of coronavirus infection among its crowds and its players. Not only the NBA, but there have also been cancellations across the NHL, PGA, NCAA, soccer, and many more sports genres. This measure was taken voluntarily, despite the significant financial cost, and even further steps are being taken, such as the owner of the Bulls/Blackhawks United Center continuing to pay its employees.
#3: Walmart/Walgreens/Target/Etc. Are Helping the U.S. Government Administer Testing
As we saw during the President’s announcement of the state of emergency, COVID-19 testing has finally been addressed. Plans are now being made to expand services for testing via drive-through stations. The President also announced that these will be popping up in the parking lots of general merchandise big box stores across America. This is planned in conjunction, not coercion, with these businesses in an attempt to provide an essential service to Americans. As time progresses, more and more of these testing stations will be arriving in towns throughout the nation and will likely expand in size and scope to meet the growing numbers of possibly infected. Thanks to the joint efforts of these private businesses, the government will actually be able to effectively address the coronavirus crisis as opposed to the problematic response given so far by the Trump administration.
#4: The ESA Straight Up Cancelled E3 This Year, Remember?
In furthering the desire to keep people away from each other and practice that essential social distancing, the Entertainment Software Association announced last week that it was shuttering the E3 2020 event in response to growing concerns about COVID-19. Again, given that there are cases already of infected individuals going to these larger gatherings and spreading the virus to an untold number of people (like at CPAC), it stands to reason the continuation of the trend is likely as more events get cancelled. In the same vein, Amazon’s own Twitch streaming platform was to host its first European TwitchCon this year in Amsterdam, but that’s now been cancelled as well. The effect will likely be that events are going to continue to be cancelled well into August.
#5: Instacart Is Expanding Services And Overhauling Its Health Standards
Instacart is a wonderful new service that’s popped up in the digital age. We’re not sponsored, but we can definitely say that this is a service used by many members of our staff and has been great for those not wanting to leave the house. You order your groceries, then have them delivered to you so that leaving the house becomes a rarity and an unnecessary risk. There is even an option to have them left outside your door, further minimizing contact. They’ve expanded their employee options to allow for the accrual of sick leave pay for those who might be affected while providing services to those who don’t want to leave the house yet still receive groceries in this crisis. Now, employees will have a safety net if they end up getting COVID-19 in “the line of duty”. Furthermore, the company is working to expand and make more comprehensive its health and safety standards so that you can have peace of mind about getting your provisions safely.
#6: Countless Examples of Expanded Sick Leave Amidst COVID-19
Chipotle, Starbucks, and many more companies are expanding their sick leave policy. Starbucks is providing a new “catastrophe pay” service for employees who are affected by COVID-19. While at first, these companies were at the forefront of worry over whether or not people would be taken care of, it’s good to see those concerns assuaged. Chipotle is working directly with the CDC to maintain new and effective strategies for dealing with this menace, including wellness checks and paid sick leave for employees who catch the disease. As events continue to unfold and many states even forcibly shut down restaurant services, we’ll likely see more cases of these companies helping their employees weather the storm, despite the fact that this is likely an extreme burden on their already strained profitability.