In an unprecedented move, more than a dozen U.S. retailers have announced they will close retail stores to fight the Coronavirus outbreak.
Starbucks, Urban Outfitters, and Abercrombie & Fitch all announced they will significantly scale back or cease operations at physical stores in the U.S. and abroad. Many of the companies have also said they will continue to pay employees throughout the closures so they can cover medical and food costs.
Additionally, many companies have made dramatic shifts to paid and sick leave policies to ensure that employees continue to be paid if they cannot work. Since the outbreak, companies like Whole Foods and Nike have implemented new protections for workers for the first time.
Starbucks will provide two weeks of catastrophe pay for any barista that has been exposed to or comes into contact with someone carrying the virus. The company is also offering additional pay — up to 26 days — to workers who are still unable to work after the original 14 days.
High-risk workers with doctors’ notes are also eligible for catastrophe pay. Ill but undiagnosed workers are eligible for three days of leave coverage while they are tested for the virus
Darden Restaurants, which owns Longhorn Steakhouse, the Capital Grille and Olive Garden, will offer hourly employees paid sick leave, effective immediately. Hourly employees will accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked; current employees have immediate access to a “starting balance” based on their last 26 workweeks.
Apple announced that hourly employees, including retail workers, can take unlimited sick leave if they have coronavirus-like symptoms. Workers seeking paid sick leave due to the coronavirus will not be required to provide a doctor’s note..
Postmates now has a fleet relief fund to help their couriers pay for medical check-ups. All couriers can take advantage of the fund.
Other companies are continuing to assist customers and employees through the outbreak. U-Haul announced last week that it will give college students that have had to leave campus 30 days of free storage. Target will offer 14 days of paid time off for employees who have contracted the virus or who are under mandatory quarantine.
“We’re building from a strong foundation of programs and offerings to help our team members take care of themselves and their families,” a Target spokesperson told Business Insider in a statement. “Given the unprecedented nature of this situation, we’ll be extending several benefits to help all team members navigate the coronavirus.”