Jan 5, 2021

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 567 words, a 2-minute read.

🚨 The police officer who shot Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., won’t face charges, the Kenosha County district attorney announced this afternoon.

1 big thing: Small business survival in the storm
David Solomon outside the Capitol today. Photo: Goldman Sachs

In Washington today to meet with small businesses, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon told Axios that some of the survival pivots entrepreneurs have made in the past year will last past the pandemic.

  • "A lot of small businesses have had to make some investment in digitization and technology to connect to their customers more digitally than directly," Solomon said. "Some of that will last and will help their businesses."

Why it matters: Goldman Sachs research has documented how Washington sluggishness has hurt small businesses amid shutdowns and has quantified the rougher road for entrepreneurs who are women and people of color.

The ability to adapt is one of the biggest survival traits: Solomon told me about a business that went from making leather bags to making masks, and he met today with a restaurateur who now basically runs a delivery business.

  • Solomon recently visited a Chick-fil-A where the drive-thru overflowed, but the parking lot had an army of workers taking orders on iPads.
Bonus: David Solomon on other topics
  • On additional stimulus: "I think that there's probably a good chance we're going to need more to help us get to the light at the end of the tunnel and get past the pandemic. ... My guess is we'll have to do a little bit more."
  • On the gap between the markets and the real economy: "I do think the recovery just won't be a straight line. I think the markets are pricing in ... everything working perfectly as we come out of this. And I'm sure there'll be bumps along the way."
  • On the Goldman Sachs push for sustainability and inclusive growth, now run globally by Dina Powell McCormick: "There's ... enormous demand from our clients for ideas, capital, thoughts and advice on how they can be transitioning their businesses and participate in a more sustainable society."
  • On involving the private sector more to distribute COVID vaccines: "If the states aren't getting as much vaccine out there as necessary, going to private industry and asking for private industry's help to execute on a vaccine plan might be a way of accelerating our ability to get vaccine into people's arms."
2. Pic du jour
Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Campaign signs outside a polling place in Dalton, Georgia.

  • Polls close at 7pm ET on the Senate runoffs that will decide whether President-elect Joe Biden has a Democratic majority in Congress.
3. Catch up quick
  1. China took heat from the World Health Organization for delaying investigations on the origins of COVID-19. Go deeper.
  2. Sen. Ted Cruz plans to object to the certification of Arizona's Electoral College votes. (The roll call is alphabetical by state.)
  3. Sen. Tim Scott won't be objecting, Alayna Treene scoops.
  4. Gary Cohn is joining IBM as vice chairman. Go deeper.
  5. 🎧 Axios Re:Cap features Sen. Amy Klobuchar on Electoral College certification and Atlanta Journal-Constitution political reporter Greg Bluestein on the Georgia Senate runoffs. Listen here.
4. 1 smile to go: Gyms embrace chilly outdoors

Korbin Cleveland exercises in Island Park, New York. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

A "number of gyms are taking over rooftops, parks and empty lots to help people build up a cold sweat all winter," The Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: Gyms are among the first places closed by COVID-19 lockdowns, but if you build an outdoor gym, people will come.

  • “We didn’t plan on being outdoors beyond Nov. 15, but people asked us to,” the co-owner of a Boston rowing-themed fitness studio told the Journal.
  • The temperature has been as low as 28 degrees during class.

The bottom line: People adjust more than you'd expect.

  • “My biggest concern was after class, when you’re all sweaty and it’s freezing. I mean, that’s how you die in the wilderness,” said spin instructor Eric Lawrence.
  • “But hey, guess what: We’re not in the wilderness.”