Jan. 13, 2022
5:15 PM ET
Amazon offers workers $40 incentives for booster shots
Amazon will now give its U.S. hourly employees $40 if they prove they’ve received their COVID booster shots, according to The Information. The incentive will apply to the e-commerce giant’s pool of around 750,000 U.S. warehouse workers as it aims to keep those centers staffed during the Omicron surge.
Workers will also have the option to receive an unpaid day off upon proving their booster shot. While Amazon is encouraging its hourly employees to return to their workplaces, it has yet to officially call back its corporate employees. Hourly laborers will also face a mask mandate in their facilities, as well as seven instead of 10 days of paid time off should they test positive for COVID, in accordance with recent CDC guidelines.
Jan. 11, 2022
11:35 AM ET
United Airlines trims flight schedule as 3,000 workers have COVID
United Airlines Holdings Inc. is reducing its near-term flight schedule as the airline grapples with the staffing impact of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, with about 3,000 of its workers currently testing positive for COVID-19.
“In one day alone at Newark, nearly one-third of our workforce called out sick,” United CEO Scott Kirby wrote Tuesday in a memo to workers. “To those who are out sick or isolating, we wish you a speedy recovery.” Kirby also touted the company’s mandatory vaccination policy and said no vaccinated employees are in the hospital due to the virus.
Last week, Alaska Air Group Inc. announced a 10% capacity cut for January to help address COVID-related staffing shortages.
10:40 AM ET
Ikea slashes sick pay for unvaccinated U.K. workers
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise globally, retailers are starting to make changes to their policies. The latest is Ikea, which will cut sick pay for workers who are unvaccinated in the U.K. beginning this week, the Daily Mail first reported. Such workers for the Swedish furniture chain will receive what amounts to $130 in weekly sick pay, while typical workers receive as much as $610 a week, according to the New York Post.
The changes come at a time when retailers are struggling to keep their brick-and-mortar outposts operational amid a labor shortage and supply chain challenges. Many store workers report customer crowds that overwhelm the limited number of staffers healthy enough to go to work, as well as closed fitting rooms because there is not enough staff to manage them. Meanwhile, while the National Retail Federation is still planning to host its in-person Big Show conference this weekend, some speakers have pulled out of the event. Jessica Alba, the founder of baby brand the Honest Co., canceled her NRF keynote appearance on Monday.
— Adrianne Pasquarelli
10 AM ET
Meta delays office return by nearly two months
Meta, formerly Facebook, Inc., has delayed the return to its U.S. office until March 28, nearly two months after its previous planned date of Jan. 31. The company will also require booster shots from employees who decide to work from the office once it reopens, expanding its current requirement of vaccination against COVID for in-office workers.
As Omicron surges, Meta is exploring an option-based system for its employees, allowing full-time work from the office, full-time remote work and temporary work from home. The approach gives wiggle room for those who cannot get vaccinated for medical or religious reasons. Employees have until March 14 to request an option, and face disciplinary measures—including possible termination—if they fail to take any action.
— Asa Hiken
Jan. 10, 2022
11:23 AM ET
NATPE cancels Miami conference
The National Association of Television Program Executives has axed its annual event in Miami, which was slated to begin next week, in light of continually rising COVID-19 cases across the country.
While some recent events have gone ahead in-person, including CES in Las Vegas last week—albeit with diminished attendance and many last-minute vendor cancellations—several others have opted to alter their plans given the omicron variant’s surge in the U.S. The trade body is currently assessing virtual and, where appropriate, small-scale in-person events later in 2022, NATPE’s chief executive J.P. Bommel said in a statement.
— Ethan Jakob Craft
Jan. 7, 2022
9:30 AM ET
Gaming expo E3 cancels in-person event
Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the gaming industry’s largest annual trade show, folded its plans for an in-person event this summer. E3 has historically been held in June at the Los Angeles Convention Center, with 2019 seeing an attendance of over 66,000 people.
The 2022 event could still occur as an online-only format, although no details on such were provided at this time. This is the third consecutive year that E3 will not be held in person due to COVID-19, having been an online event last year and fully canceled the year prior. “Due to the ongoing health risks surrounding COVID-19 and its potential impact on the safety of exhibitors and attendees, E3 will not be held in person in 2022. We remain incredibly excited about the future of E3 and look forward to announcing more details soon,” said organizer Entertainment Software Association in a statement.
— Asa Hiken
9:30 AM ET
'The Late Late Show' goes on pause after James Corden tests positive
CBS’ “The Late Late Show” will cancel its next few episodes after host James Corden tested positive for COVID-19. Corden revealed his case on Thursday through Instagram, explaining that he’s vaccinated, boosted and feeling asymptomatic. The show will pause new episodes for the next few days.
Corden is the third late-night talk show host to reveal a positive case this week, following Seth Meyers of NBC’s “Late Night” and Jimmy Fallon of NBC’s “The Tonight Show”. Meyers is currently positive and his show has been cancelled for the week, while Fallon tested positive over the holiday break and is back to hosting as normal.
— Asa Hiken
Jan. 5, 2022
3:33 PM ET
Grammy Awards postponed indefinitely
The Grammy Awards, originally scheduled for Jan. 31, have been indefinitely postponed due to rising COVID cases. Although last year’s ceremony was scaled down, this year’s broadcast would have resembled a pre-pandemic production with a full audience at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
“The health and safety of those in our music community, the live audience and the hundreds of people who work tirelessly to produce our show remains our top priority,” read a statement from The Recording Academy and CBS. “Given the uncertainty surrounding the Omicron variant, holding the show on January 31st simply contains too many risks. We look forward to celebrating Music’s Biggest Night on a future date, which will be announced soon.”
— Parker Herren
Sundance Film Festival cancels in-person events
The Sundance Film Festival announced on Wednesday that the previously hybrid event will no longer feature in-person meetings in Park City, Utah. All festival elements, including film screenings and artist talks, will be held on Sundance’s social platform and virtual gallery space.
The Sundance Institute announced in a statement: “While it is a deep loss to not have the in-person experience in Utah, we do not believe it is safe nor feasible to gather thousands of artists, audiences, employees, volunteers, and partners from around the world, for an eleven-day festival while overwhelmed communities are already struggling to provide essential services.” The festival will still take place from Jan. 20-30, with satellite partners hosting local events from January 28-30.
— Parker Herren
Jan. 4, 2022
12:04 PM ET
U.S. sets daily record with 1 million positive cases
Over 1 million positive COVID cases were reported in the U.S on Jan. 3 as the country set another global record, according to Bloomberg. The number is nearly double the previous record set by the U.S. last week. As many Americans opt for at-home testing, the reported number is expected to be far below the actual number of positive cases. The omicron surge is causing companies to delay office reopenings, and leading to flight cancellations, school closures and further supply chain disruptions.
— Parker Herren
Jan. 3, 2022
7:30 AM ET
Starbucks to require vaccine or weekly testing for U.S. workers
Starbucks Corp. said its U.S. employees must be vaccinated against Covid-19 or submit to weekly testing by Feb. 9. The new rules, which are in line with government standards for large employers, apply to staff in cafes, offices, plants and distribution centers, according to a message to employees dated Dec. 27 from Starbucks North America President John Culver. The company is also requiring U.S. workers to disclose their vaccination status by Jan. 10.
Dec. 28, 2021
7:30 AM ET
Apple closes NYC stores to shoppers
Apple closed its major New York City stores amid a COVID surge, only allowing shoppers to pickup online orders. Shoppers aren't allowed to enter the store to browse or purchase anything onsite, and technical support from the Genius Bar isn't available. The closures include 16 stores across New York, with Upper West Side, West 14th Street, Staten Island and Bronx locations. The temporary move also includes stores in Huntington Station and Manhasset.