Times Square virtually empty on March 23. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

In just over a week, more than 47,000 chain stores across the U.S. have shut their doors as retailers have taken extreme measures to help slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: "Most have pledged to remain closed to the public for at least two weeks, but they may stay closed for much longer. In the same period, small retail businesses throughout the U.S. also hit pause on their physical locations but are not included in this list."

On another front: A separate Bloomberg report finds that major U.S. retail and restaurant chains, including Mattress Firm and Subway, have told landlords they will withhold or pay only reduced rent starting in April.

The intrigue: A snowball effect could be underway. Landlords can’t afford to stop collecting rent for long, with many property owners sitting on large piles of debt.

  • "The U.S. relief packages being considered don’t directly address rents. But the Federal Reserve’s actions may give banks the leeway to defer mortgage payments, allowing property owners to delay rent," the story notes.
  • "It’s also unclear if retailers can declare a so-called force majeure, a contract clause that covers highly unusual events, and if landlords could then make the same case to insurers."

Quick take: “In the space of a week, the retail landscape has changed from being fairly normalized to being absolutely disrupted beyond what we’ve ever seen before outside of the Second World War,” Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, told Bloomberg.

Go deeper: 96% of small business owners are already feeling coronavirus impact

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Justice Department sues Google over alleged search monopoly

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The Justice Department and 11 states Tuesday filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, accusing the company of using anticompetitive tactics to illegally monopolize the online search and search advertising markets.

Why it matters: The long-awaited suit is Washington's first major blow against the tech giants that many on both the right and left argue have grown too large and powerful. Still, this is just step one in what could be a lengthy and messy court battle.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 5 million infections.

In photos: Florida breaks record for in-person early voting

Voters wait in line at John F. Kennedy Public Library in Hialeah, Florida on Oct. 19. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/AFP via Getty Images

More Floridians cast early ballots for the 2020 election on Monday than in the first day of in-person early voting in 2016, shattering the previous record by over 50,000 votes, Politico reports.

The big picture: Voters have already cast over 31 million ballots in early voting states as of Tuesday, per the U.S. Elections Project database by Michael McDonald, an elections expert at the University of Florida.