• Thousands Of Hotels In Danger Of Closing Due To COVID-19
    More than 8,000 hotels could be forced to close in the fall after PPP funding runs out, according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, which is asking Congress to step in to help with low-interest loans. Texas Republican Congressman Van Taylor plans to introduce legislation that would provide a more permanent fix. “If I don’t have hotels, I don’t know how my community functions,” says Taylor.
  • Walmart Joins Major Retailers Requiring Masks Nationwide
    Walmart is the latest retailer to issue a nationwide edict on mask requirements in its stores. "We know some people have differing opinions on this topic. We also recognize the role we can play to help protect the health and well-being of the communities we serve by following the evolving guidance of health officials like the CDC," the retailers' chief operating officers said in a blog post Wednesday. Best Buy and Starbucks started requiring consumers nationwide wear masks Wednesday.
  • Illinois Collected $52 Million From Weed Sales
    Illinois collected $52 million in tax revenue during the first six months of recreational marijuana sales — nearly twice as much as what Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s budget estimates, which predicted the state would collect $28 million in cannabis tax revenue before June 30. “Recreational marijuana sales have continued to rise throughout the pandemic, while many other retailers saw sales drop off completely,” according to the Chicago Tribune. “Dispensaries set a monthly record in June, when they sold $47.6 million worth of recreational pot.”
  • COVID-19 Vaccine From Moderna Shows Promise
    The first COVID-19 vaccine tested in the United States revved up people’s immune systems just the way scientists had hoped, researchers reported Tuesday. The experimental vaccine, developed at the National Institutes of Health and Cambridge-based Moderna Inc., “will start its most important step around July 27: A 30,000-person study to prove if the shots really are strong enough to protect against the coronavirus,” according to the Boston Globe.
  • Apple Asks More Retail Staff To Work From Home
    Apple is pushing retail staff to work remotely as rising rates of COVID-19 are prompting the company to shut some of its stores again, according to a video message sent to employees. “It is also shipping Covid-19 test kits to employees’ homes, and told staff in a memo that a full return to U.S. offices won’t occur before the end of the year,” according to Bloomberg Law.
  • Companies Block Ads On News Items Mentioning George Floyd, Protests
    News stories about George Floyd’s murder and racial justice protests were on “blocklists” companies use to avoid ad placements in sensitive content. “Blocklists aren’t new: Before this year, many brands already were sidestepping articles with words like ‘shooting,’ ‘bomb,’ ‘immigration’ or even ‘Trump,’ hoping to avoid associations with controversial topics,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
  • Walmart Quietly Enters Insurance Business
    Walmart confirmed to CNBC that it will start selling insurance policies. The company is looking to hire insurance agents in the Dallas area to sell supplemental Medicare insurance, according to job listings on its website. “We need passionate health insurance professionals to help us build this new business from the ground up and achieve our mission,” the job post said.
  • Kroger Plans In-Store Custom Messaging, Hires New Agency
    Kroger is planning “custom radio stations” that will broadcast targeted messages inside 2,300 of its stores via Vibenomics. The grocery retailer also hired Dentsu Aegis Network as its integrated media agency. The agency will form a dedicated team called fresh@dentsu that will handle media planning and buying for Kroger and its family of brands across all media channels.
  • Gap Launches Face Mask Division
    Gap Inc. is launching a business-to-business division selling face masks. The focus is on high-quality reusable, non-medical-grade cloth face masks sold to organizations for their employees. “To date, Gap said it has sold approximately 10 million cloth face masks to employers, including New York City, the State of California, healthcare company Kaiser Permanente and a leading consulting firm,” according to Chain Store Age.  The face masks are available in mass quantities -- starting at a minimum order quantity of 100,000 units -- and in a variety of colors.
  • Court May Not Approve $10 Billion Roundup Settlement
    Bayer has agreed to pay more than $10 billion to settle thousands of claims that the popular weedkiller Roundup causes cancer. But a plan for handling future claims from customers who develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer requires court approval. Judge Vince Chhabria of U.S. District Court in San Francisco warned in a filing that he “is skeptical of the propriety and fairness of the proposed settlement, and is tentatively inclined to deny the motion.”
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