DILLON — Local businesses have been open at 50% capacity for several weeks now as noncritical retail businesses were able to open under restrictions on May 8 and restaurants were able to open for in-person dining on May 27. Business owners report that they’re happy to be able to reopen and see visitors frequenting their businesses, but many still report that the capacity rule is affecting their business negatively.
Sauce on the Blue managing partner and owner Tim Applegate said that his restaurant in Silverthorne, opened for in-person dining as soon as it was able to as Sauce on the Blue stayed open throughout the shutdown for takeout.
“We had done a lot of work to the outside patio and made it bigger. …We were working on opening up right away so the moment we got the news we were ready to go,” Applegate said.
Applegate said that during the first week of being open for in-person dining the restaurant saw mainly locals, but once short-term rentals and lodging opened up visitors started coming in. He said the restaurant has been working hard to follow all the town’s guidelines regarding physical distancing, cleaning and facial coverings. Applegate said most of his customer feedback indicates people are generally glad to get outside, sit down and have a meal.
“We’re not where we were, but we’re doing it, we’re happy just to be open and this looks better than it did March 20,” Applegate said.
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Due to the warm weather, Applegate said the patio has helped alleviate the business effects of the 50% cap as people are willing to sit outside, but the restaurant to operate with the cap in the fall. As the owner of several other restaurants in the county, including Sauce on the Maggie, Quandary Grille and Inxpot Cafe, Applegate said he doesn’t think he can open most of them at 50% capacity and “still plan on paying the bills.”
Applegate said the restaurant is now up to full staff and noted that the servers are working extremely hard and sacrificing everyday even as they aren’t making as much money as they did before the pandemic.
“They’re working harder than they ever had before and making less money than they ever did before,” Applegate said. “They need to be recognized for all the hard work they’re doing.”
He pointed out that servers have to wear facial coverings for eight to 12 hours a day, which can be difficult in a busy environment especially when trying to communicate with customers. Applegate said that a lot of the legwork to comply with the health protocols has fallen on the servers.
Applegate said that in looking around the country he believes Summit County has done a good job in mitigating the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“I think we all thought that they were a little bit too cautious, maybe right now it looks as though they were just the right amount of cautious,” Applegate said. “So I think the county’s been doing a good job trying to keep us all safe and I’m just glad that we’re open and if this is what it looks like for the summer and we have to continue doing that, I’m all for it. I hope that we can get back to some kind of normalcy as we get into fall.”
Goods, a retail store in Breckenridge, is located within the town’s Walkable Main area. Manager Lovie Schaeffer said she has seen an increase in foot traffic to the store and that during the summer the pedestrian walkway has been “fantastic” as people walk around town. She said the store has seen a lot of out-of-state visitors and visitors from the Front Range.
“It’s comparable considering the situation,” Schaeffer said, comparing business this year with other summers. “I would say we’re doing fine. We thought we would be way down this year and so far we are not since we opened back up. I don’t know if it’s the people wanting to get out and spend with small businesses or if it is a result of the street closure, there’s really no way to know but we have no complaints at all.”
Schaeffer said she has had to turn a few people away due to the store hitting the capacity limit but that overall the capacity limit has been “very manageable” for the store.
In Frisco, Stork & Bear Co. was open for delivery and curbside pick-up throughout the shutdown and opened for limited in-person shopping on May 4. Now that capacity for in-person shopping has increased to 50%, Owner Mary Elaine Moore said the feedback has generally been that people are happy to see that they’re open. She said that due to the capacity limit, she has had to “put the ribbon up” a few times after reaching the maximum.
Spice Merchants is also located within Breckenridge’s Walkable Main, but co-owner Ja-Lene Postema reported that things have been slow. Postema said she doesn’t know if Walkable Main has brought much foot traffic to her store or not, but said that she has received positive comments about the closure from customers. However, she said business is not comparable to other summers.
Postema also said that the customers that have come in were mainly locals at first, but she has recently seen more visitors from the Front Range and from Texas.
Postema said she’s working to gradually bring her full staff back, but is currently working reduced hours until next weekend for the Fourth of July. Spice Merchants has several other store locations and Postema said she feels Summit County is more “on top of their game” than some of the places the other stores are located in.
Desperate Business Owners Reeling From Latest Closure Order – NBC 7 San Diego
Small business owners are desperately searching for ways to survive in light of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest closure orders that go into effect at midnight.
While some businesses will try to make ends meet by moving their operations outdoors, others are so frustrated that their owners are considering operating in defiance of the order.
“I would consider it,” said Peter San Nicolas. “Absolutely, I would consider it.”
San Nicolas is the owner of Ramona Fitness Center. Defiance of a public health order is by no means his first choice, said San Nicolas. but he has done so once before.
“What am I supposed to do?” San Nicolas said. “I don’t know. It’s about survival at this point.”
San Nicolas said his business lost more than $250,000 after the first shutdown order, on March 17. He reopened in defiance of the order on June 1. He said deputies told him that same day that he could face potential criminal action. He remained open anyway.
Up till now, there have not been any COVID-19 cases connected to the gym, San Nicolas told NBC 7.
“I had people not happy with me, and so someone would call the sheriff’s department every day,” San Nicolas said. “The sheriff’s department would come down, and we would let them know we’re going to stay open.”
San Nicolas said he hasn’t decided what he will do this time around, but he knows his business can not sustain another extended closure.
“They say three weeks, but that’s what was said last time — three weeks to slow the spread turned into three months,” San Nicolas said.
Meanwhile, other gyms in San Diego County hope to stay open by moving their operations outdoors. San Nicolas said that’s not an option for him.
“I would say it’s feasible if you’re at the coast,” San Nicolas said. “Here in Ramona, it gets 100-plus degrees. The asphalt here, it’s going to be 130 degrees out here.”
electroCore Provides Business Update and Select Financial Guidance Nasdaq:ECOR
BASKING RIDGE, N.J., July 14, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — electroCore, Inc. (Nasdaq: ECOR), a commercial-stage bioelectronic medicine company, today provided an operating and business update as well as select unaudited financial guidance for the second quarter and full year 2020.
“During the second quarter, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to impair business operations around the world, and as a result like many companies, we both anticipated and experienced some impact to our performance,” stated Dan Goldberger, Chief Executive Officer of electroCore. “While our overall revenues were up sequentially and achieved our guidance of being in excess of $700,000 in the quarter, paid months of therapy shipped to both the VA/DoD and outside the U.S. (OUS) channels were down modestly on a sequential basis as providers pivoted to help fight the pandemic, patient and provider appointments were cancelled, and travel and other restrictions were implemented. However, temporary softness in these channels was in part offset by replenishment orders from our specialty pharmacy partner. Additionally, the pandemic has presented us with an opportunity to explore the potential utility of non-invasive nerve stimulation technology in treating respiratory symptoms related to COVID-19. Taken together, we believe we are well positioned for a strong second half of the year as key revenue channels return to positive growth if a more normalized business environment emerges.”
COVID-19: The company recently announced that it has been granted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA to facilitate the study and clinical use of gammaCore™ CV for the acute treatment of asthma exacerbations in known or suspected COVID-19 patients. The EUA is supported by data from early clinical and non-clinical work in several pilot studies that involved patients with a variety of respiratory disorders.
Additionally, two investigator-initiated clinical trials (IITs) of gammaCore™ in COVID-19 patients continue to enroll subjects – one at Hospital Clínico Universitario de Valencia in Valencia, Spain (SAVIOR 1) and the other at Allegheny Medical Center in Pittsburgh (SAVIOR 2). These trials are designed to study the potential for gammaCore™ (nVNS) to treat the respiratory symptoms and underlying inflammation affecting COVID-19 patients. Both trials continue to enroll patients and are largely funded by third party grants. Data will be reported as they become available. Additional U.S. investigator-initiated COVID-19 trials are under consideration.
Federal Supply Schedule: During the second quarter of 2020, 67 Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense (DoD) military treatment facilities purchased gammaCore™ products as compared to 64 during the first quarter of 2020, 54 during the fourth quarter of 2019, 48 during the third quarter of 2019 and 35 during the second quarter of 2019. Also, during the second quarter of 2020, the company shipped approximately 988 paid months of therapy pursuant to VA and DoD originating prescriptions, compared to 1,084 paid months of therapy during the first quarter of 2020, 829 during the fourth quarter of 2019, 553 during the third quarter of 2019 and 233 during the second quarter of 2019.
As the company indicated in its earnings announcement in May 2020, in light of the ongoing pandemic, the company’s ability to visit hospitals and doctors has been limited, and according to VA officials, some 5.7 million appointments with VA providers were cancelled between February and April. Partly offsetting this is the VA’s advanced telehealth capabilities, which have increased almost tenfold from 2,500 daily sessions in early March to nearly 25,000 current daily sessions , according to the Federal News Network. gammaCore™ can be prescribed easily during a telehealth consult and delivered directly to the patient’s home, and this has allowed us to navigate through the crisis with only a modest sequential reduction in paid months of therapy. In light of these recent challenges, the trajectory of this business channel remains difficult to forecast into the remainder of the year. We believe, however, that our performance during the second quarter represents a strong leading indicator and gives us conviction that this important channel will rebound strongly when and if the pandemic subsides.
Outside of the U.S.: During the second quarter of 2020, electroCore shipped approximately 938 paid months of therapy outside of the United States, as compared to 1,008 during the first quarter of 2020, 961 during the fourth quarter of 2019 and 828 during the third quarter of 2019. The modest sequential decline was driven by COVID-19 related disruptions and discontinued operations in Germany.
Commercial: The inventory placed in the commercial channel during 2019 has been fully dispensed by our specialty pharmacy partner. As a result, the company shipped a small replenishment order in June. The company expects further contribution from replenishment orders in coming quarters.
Clinical: As previously disclosed, electroCore recently made the decision to terminate the PREMIUM 2 clinical trial. There are currently no company-funded trials ongoing, but as previously indicated, multiple IITs are active and more are under consideration. In addition to COVID-19/reactive airway disease, gammaCore™ IITs are progressing in stroke, subarachnoid hemorrhage and Sjogren’s syndrome.
electroCore today announced the following preliminary unaudited financial guidance for the second quarter of 2020:
Q2 2020 revenue: The company expects second quarter 2020 total revenue to be approximately $730,000 to $750,000, as compared to first quarter 2020 total revenue of $734,000.
Q2 2020 cash used in operations: During the second quarter, electroCore used approximately $5.5 million to fund its operations, not including $1.1 million received in connection with its sale of New Jersey net operating losses, as compared to $8.4 million in the first quarter of 2020 and $9.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2019.
June 30, 2020 cash: The company ended the first quarter of 2020 with approximately $18.9 million of cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities.
About electroCore, Inc.
electroCore, Inc. is a commercial-stage bioelectronic medicine company dedicated to improving patient outcomes through its platform non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation therapy initially focused on the treatment of multiple conditions in neurology. The company’s current indications are for the preventative treatment of cluster headache and acute treatment of migraine and episodic cluster headache.
For more information, visit www.electrocore.com.
gammaCore™ (nVNS) is the first non-invasive, hand-held medical therapy applied at the neck to treat migraine and cluster headache through the utilization of a mild electrical stimulation to the vagus nerve that passes through the skin. Designed as a portable, easy-to-use technology, gammaCore™ can be self-administered by patients, as needed, without the potential side effects associated with commonly prescribed drugs. When placed on a patient’s neck over the vagus nerve, gammaCore™ stimulates the nerve’s afferent fibers, which may lead to a reduction of pain in patients.
gammaCore™ is FDA cleared in the United States for adjunctive use for the preventive treatment of cluster headache in adult patients, the acute treatment of pain associated with episodic cluster headache in adult patients, the acute treatment of pain associated with migraine headache in adult patients and the prevention of migraine in adult patients. gammaCore™ is CE-marked in the European Union for the acute and/or prophylactic treatment of primary headache (Migraine, Cluster Headache, Trigeminal Autonomic Cephalalgias and Hemicrania Continua), Bronchoconstriction and Medication Overuse Headache in adults.
- Safety and efficacy of gammaCore™ have not been evaluated in the following patients:
º Patients diagnosed with narrowing of the arteries (carotid atherosclerosis)
º Patients who have had surgery to cut the vagus nerve in the neck (cervical vagotomy)
º Pediatric patients
º Pregnant women
º Patients with clinically significant hypertension, hypotension, bradycardia, or tachycardia
- Patients should not use gammaCore™ if they:
º Have an active implantable medical device, such as a pacemaker, hearing aid implant, or any implanted electronic device
º Have a metallic device such as a stent, bone plate, or bone screw implanted at or near their neck; or
º Are using another device at the same time (e.g., TENS Unit, muscle stimulator) or any portable electronic device (e.g., mobile phone).
In the U.S., the FDA has not cleared gammaCore™ for the treatment of pneumonia and/or respiratory disorders such as acute respiratory stress disorder associated with COVID-19.
Please refer to the gammaCore™ Instructions for Use for all of the important warnings and precautions before using or prescribing this product available at www.gammacore.com.
This press release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about electroCore’s expectations for revenue and cash used in operations during the second quarter of 2020, its expectations for full year 2020 and its expectations for future performance, as well as electroCore’s business prospects and clinical and product development plans, its pipeline or potential markets for its technologies, the timing, outcome and impact of regulatory, clinical and commercial developments including potential human trials for the study of nVNS in COVID-19 patients in Spain, the U.S., or elsewhere, the business, operating or financial impact of such studies, and other statements that are not historical in nature, particularly those that utilize terminology such as “anticipates,” “will,” “expects,” “believes,” “intends,” other words of similar meaning, derivations of such words and the use of future dates. Actual results could differ from those projected in any forward-looking statements due to numerous factors. Such factors include, among others, the ability to raise the additional funding needed to continue to pursue electroCore’s business and product development plans, the inherent uncertainties associated with developing new products or technologies, the ability to commercialize gammaCore™, competition in the industry in which electroCore operates and overall market conditions. Any forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this press release, and electroCore assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking statements or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements, except as required by law. Investors should consult all of the information set forth herein and should also refer to the risk factor disclosure set forth in the reports and other documents electroCore files with the SEC available at www.sec.gov.
Stocks Fall as Earnings Season Begins: Live Updates
Boeing customers canceled orders for 60 737 Max jets last month, the latest blow for a plane that has been grounded since March 2019 following a pair of fatal crashes. Most of the cancellations were from companies that buy planes and lease them to airlines. Boeing also received one new order, from FedEx, for a 767 freighter.
“We continue to closely monitor the commercial marketplace by staying very engaged with our customers around the globe to fully understand short term and long term requirements,” Greg Smith, Boeing’s chief financial officer, said in a statement.
Boeing has lost 323 orders for various planes this year, after accounting for new orders and cancellations. The company removed another 461 orders from its backlog, under stricter accounting methods adopted in 2018 that consider a customer’s financial health and their ability to negotiate or walk away from contracts.
Including that adjustment, Boeing’s order backlog stood at 4,552 at the end of June, down from 5,406 at the start of the year.
Wells Fargo on Tuesday reported its first quarterly loss since 2008, losing $2.4 billion as the pandemic’s economic shocks ravaged nearly every line of its business.
In a sign of more trouble ahead, the bank added $8.4 billion to its reserve for loan losses, more than twice what it set aside last quarter. It said it would, for the first time since the Great Recession, cut its dividend this quarter, dropping its payments to investors to 10 cents a share, down from the 51 cents it has paid for the last few quarters.
Charles W. Scharf, the bank’s chief executive, said he was “extremely disappointed” with the bank’s performance.
“While the negative impact of the pandemic is unprecedented and many of our business drivers were negatively impacted, our franchise should perform better,” he said in a statement. “We will make changes to improve our performance regardless of the operating environment.”
The bank’s revenue for its second quarter, which ended June 30, dropped to $17.8 billion, down nearly 18 percent from a year ago. Last year, it earned $6.2 billion during the quarter.
Wells Fargo is bracing for coming losses on its commercial loans, especially in real estate, where it set aside $6.4 billion. Consumer loans, especially mortgages, are also flashing warning lights; the bank added $2 billion to cover anticipated losses there.
Revenue at Delta Air Lines declined by 88 percent in the second quarter compared to a year earlier, reflecting what its chief executive described as the “truly staggering” toll the coronavirus pandemic has had on the aviation industry. That decline contributed to a $5.7 billion quarterly loss, compared to last year’s $1.4 billion profit.
“Given the combined effects of the pandemic and associated financial impact on the global economy, we continue to believe that it will be more than two years before we see a sustainable recovery,” Ed Bastian, Delta’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.
Delta said it ended the quarter with $15.7 billion in cash on hand and cut its daily cash losses to $27 million per day, down from $100 million per day during the depths of the crisis. The company hopes to stop that daily bleeding by year’s end.
The company’s quarterly losses were driven by a 93 percent decline in passengers, though they included a more than $2 billion write-down associated with investments in a trio of troubled foreign carriers: Latam Airlines Group, Grupo Aeroméxico and Virgin Atlantic.
More than 45,000 employees have taken temporary voluntary unpaid leave. Last week, United Airlines said it could furlough as many as 36,000 workers when federal stimulus funding for payroll runs out at the end of September. Delta has not yet detailed what impact the expiration of funds may have, though it did warn nearly 2,600 pilots last week that they could be furloughed.
Richard Branson has reached a 1.2 billion pound ($1.5 billion) deal with two credit-card payment processing companies and an American hedge fund to rescue Virgin Atlantic from financial collapse after the British government rejected the airline’s request for a loan.
Davidson Kempner Capital Management will put in £170 million, and Mr. Branson’s Virgin Group will contribute £200 million using money raised from the sale of shares in Virgin Galactic, his space travel company.
The deal came together after support from two payment processing companies, First Data and Cardnet. First Data had insisted on high levels of cash collateral, holding up the arrangement, Sky News reported. Delta Air Lines, which owns 49 percent of Virgin Atlantic, also agreed to defer marketing charges and other payments alongside majority owner Virgin Group, opening up about £400 million to Mr. Branson’s airline.
The pandemic had led the airline to ground most of its fleet and lay off more than 3,000 workers. The British government has resisted pressure to support individual companies, and told airlines that aid wouldn’t be considered until the firms had exhausted all other options.
Mr. Branson had said he was willing to use his island in the Caribbean as collateral to raise funds, but he was unable to secure a government-backed deal for his Australian airline, and in April, Virgin Australia went into administration.
Virgin Atlantic’s passenger flights will resume next week.
The airline industry has been battered by the pandemic, but Mr. Branson’s firm is in a particularly weak position because most of its flights are trans-Atlantic. Long-haul international travel is not expected to recover soon.
JPMorgan Chase on Tuesday revealed that it had earned $4.7 billion during the months of April, May and June, just under half of what it earned during the same period a year ago, as it diverted billions of dollars to a reserve fund in order to prepare for a potential economic shock.
Despite the drop in earnings, another number suggested a boom time. While businesses and many regular services in vast swaths of the United States were closed to try to stem the coronavirus pandemic, JPMorgan brought in the largest quarterly revenue haul in its history: nearly $34 billion, compared to just over $29 billion in the second quarter of 2019. The increase was driven by a surge in its Wall Street businesses, including trading in stocks, bonds and other financial market instruments, where a record haul of $16 billion in JPMorgan’s Corporate & Investment Bank division represented a 66 percent increase from last year.
The bank added nearly $11 billion to the pool of money it keeps ready to cover any losses, $9 billion more than last year. Of that, almost $6 billion was designated to handle losses on loans to consumers, including credit cards.
Citigroup said Tuesday that its quarterly profit fell 73 percent as it set aside $5.6 billion to cover future loan losses triggered by the widespread unemployment caused by the pandemic.
The bank also reported net credit losses of $2.2 billion, a 12 percent increase from last year, resulting from individuals and businesses that have already defaulted on loans during the crisis, bringing the Citi’s total credit cost in the second quarter to $7.9 billion.
As the third largest credit issuer in the United States, Citigroup is particularly vulnerable to increases in credit card delinquencies, which tend to dovetail with a rise in unemployment. The bank said it had offered forbearance on two million credit card accounts representing 6 percent of balances so far.
Net income fell to $1.3 billion in the second quarter of 2020 from $4.8 billion a year earlier. Revenue rose 5 percent to $19.77 billion as the pace of trading activity rose.
“While credit costs weighed down our net income, our overall business performance was strong during the quarter, and we have been able to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic reasonably well,” Michael L. Corbat, Citigroup’s chief executive, said in a statement.
Banks have shouldered the burden of processing applications and distributing funds for the federal government’s massive aid effort, the Paycheck Protection Program, which gave small businesses potentially forgivable loans to help them stay afloat during the virus crisis. Citibank saw an 18 percent surge in deposits during the second quarter to $1.23 trillion as a result of cash infusions associated with federal aid programs.
In March, the Advertising Council, a nonprofit organization that creates public service announcements about social issues, was days away from introducing a campaign with the White House about work force training when the economy locked down. The ads finally debuted on Tuesday, retooled to address the pandemic’s devastating effect on jobs.
With more than 18 million workers receiving jobless benefits in late June, the effort focuses on education and certification resources that can be found online. The campaign, created with partners like Apple and IBM, was originally called “Choose Something New,” meant as an inspirational message to people looking to change career paths. It became “Find Something New,” focusing on those struggling to find work during a national emergency.
“The tone of the campaign really needed to shift to be more urgent and actionable,” said Michelle Hillman, the chief campaign development officer at Ad Council. “We needed to really understand the landscape of what was happening.”
More companies are cautiously venturing back into marketing as states try to reopen. After several months focusing on health-related messaging, Ad Council recently revisited the work force campaign, which now includes rewritten copy and workers filmed at a distance using iPhones.
The campaign will run in space donated by television networks like Fox and NBC, digital platforms like Facebook and Snap and in print publications and on billboards. Viewers will be directed to resources at FindSomethingNew.org.
May was supposed to be the first month of Britain’s economic recovery, when some restrictions on business activity were eased after the near-total lockdown of April. Some economists predicted the economy would grow by 5.5 percent after contracting by nearly 7 percent in March and a further 20 percent in April. But the data announced Tuesday was greeted as a disappointment, showing just a 1.8 percent increase from the month before.
The British government allowed some manufacturing and construction activity to resume in mid-May, and output in both sectors rose by more than 8 percent. However, the larger services sector remained lackluster, growing by less than 1 percent from April, as about 16 percent of businesses reported having no revenue in the month.
The outlook for the rest of this year remains bleak. The independent Office for Budget Responsibility laid out three scenarios for the trajectory of the British economy, all of which foresee an unprecedented increase in public borrowing to try to offset the economic shock of the pandemic.
“The U.K. is on track to record the largest decline in annual G.D.P. for 300 years, with output falling by more than 10 percent in 2020 in all three scenarios,” the OBR said in a report published Tuesday.
In its central scenario, the office said economic output would return to its pre-pandemic peak by the end of 2022, and the unemployment rate would rise to 10.1 percent next year.
Stocks fell on Tuesday amid a re-tightening of restrictions on businesses and fresh data showing slower-than-expected economic activity.
The S&P 500 fell about half a percent in early trading. European markets were broadly lower, most by more than 1 percent and stocks in Asia also fell.
On Wall Street, the decline added to a sell-off that began late on Monday as concern about the continued spread of the coronavirus overwhelmed an early rally. The S&P 500 dropped more than 2 percent from its highest point on Monday, to end the day with a nearly 1 percent decline.
Stock trading has become more turbulent lately amid rising concerns that large states would have to pull back on their reopening plans. In California, the governor announced a sweeping rollback on Monday, ordering the closure of indoor operations statewide for restaurants, wineries, movie theaters and zoos. Bars would also be forced to close all operations. Similar actions were predicted in Texas.
Adding to the uncertainty is earnings season, which offers investors their first chance to hear from businesses about how the pandemic has hurt profits. On Tuesday, JPMorgan reported that its earnings had halved in the second quarter, while Wells Fargo had its first quarterly loss since 2008, and Delta Air Lines said revenue plunged by 88 percent.
In Britain, there were hopes that the government’s economic data for May, when some restrictions on businesses eased following April’s near-total lockdown, would show a strong upswing from the month before. But the data released Tuesday reported that the economy grew by only 1.8 percent in May, far less than the 5.5 percent widely predicted. The government’s independent budget review office said Britain was on track for “the largest decline in annual G.D.P. for 300 years.”
Retail sales in the eurozone, which plunged to record lows while millions were confined, surged 17.8 percent in May compared with the month before, as people fanned out to buy furniture, electronics, clothing and computer equipment, Europe’s statistics agency reported this week. The biggest gains are in France and Germany, where spending has rebounded to near pre-confinement levels.
The current binge has doused some worries that Europeans might feel too shaken to spend again, as happened in China, where many chose to curtail expenditures after losing their jobs or having their pay slashed.
“Consumers are driving the rebound across much of Europe more than expected,” said Holger Schmieding, chief economist of Berenberg Bank. “There is a relief that lockdowns are over.”
But whether people will keep opening their wallets remains to be seen. Spending is still around 7 percent lower than where it was before the pandemic hit.
For now, at least, patrons have not stopped flocking to socially distanced sidewalk tables at cafes and bistros in France. Dutch flower and plant suppliers are reporting record demand as shoppers crowd do-it-yourself stores around Europe to beautify their homes. In Germany, families are heading to malls to buy new appliances after the government lowered the value-added tax to stimulate sales.
It was harrowing enough for small businesses — the bars, dental care practices, small law firms, day care centers and other storefronts that dot the streets of every American town and city — to have to shut down after state officials imposed lockdowns in March to contain the pandemic.
But the resurgence of the virus, especially in states such as California, Florida and Texas that had begun to reopen, has introduced a far darker reality for many small businesses: Their temporary closures might become permanent.
Nearly 66,000 businesses have folded since March 1, according to data from Yelp, which provides a platform for local businesses to advertise their services and has been tracking announcements of closings posted on its site. Small businesses account for 44 percent of all U.S. economic activity, according to the Small Business Administration, and closures on such an immense scale could devastate the country’s economic growth.
On the last Friday of June, after Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas said that bars across the state would have to shut down a second time because coronavirus cases were skyrocketing, Mick Larkin decided he had enough. He and his partner decided to close their club, Krank It Karaoke in Wichita Falls, Texas, for good.
“We did everything we were supposed to do,” Mr. Larkin said. “When he shut us down again, and after I put out all that money to meet their rules, I just said, ‘I can’t keep doing this.’”
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