Mar 21, 2020 - Economy

Businesses mobilize to support employees during coronavirus outbreak

Man pushes a grocery cart in a parking lot

Harry Westhoff, 71, runs groceries back to his car in Teaneck, N.J., after Stop & Shop opened special morning hours for people 60-plus. Photo/John Minchillo/AP

Getting behind an idea from Andrew Ross Sorkin that excited CEOs, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce called on Congress to pass a "bridge loan" program to give federally guaranteed loans to companies with big losses from the pandemic.

How it works: The loans would include incentives for employers to maintain existing current workers at their existing pay.

  • Neil Bradley, the Chamber's executive vice president and chief policy officer, told me that the Chamber's full proposal was inspired by ideas by Sorkin, Kevin Warsh and Senate Small Business Committee Chairman Marco Rubio.

The state of play:

  • PepsiCo announced it'll provide enhanced benefits to all U.S.-based employees (including 100% pay during a 14-day quarantine) and additional compensation to U.S. frontline employees "who make, move and sell products."
  • Amazon announced it will hire 10,000 delivery and warehouse workers. The company also plans to raise pay by $2 an hour for delivery and warehouse employees through April, The Wall Street Journal reports.
  • Walmart said it plans to hire 150,000 U.S. hourly workers through the end of May, and many of the jobs will become permanent.
  • Target said it'll give a $2-an-hour wage increase to its 300,000-plus workers.
  • 7-Eleven will add 20,000 jobs.

Go deeper: Airport workers face layoffs across the U.S. as coronavirus spreads

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