The outbreak of the coronavirus has dealt a shock to the global economy with unprecedented speed. Following are developments Thursday related to the national and global response, the work place and the spread of the virus.
FINANCIAL AID: Alaska Airlines has secured nearly $1.2 billion in private loans to further secure its financial stability. The debt financing will be funded on or around Thursday.
The company will use 61 of its owned aircraft as collateral to back the debt. This includes 26 Boeing 737-800s, 16 Boeing 737-900ERs and 19 Embraer 175s. The aircraft will remain encumbered until the debt is repaid.
McGee Air Services, a wholly owned ground services subsidiary of Alaska Airlines that operates independently, has also received nearly $30 million in funding. This is in addition to the $992 million in the form of a $725 million grant and a $267 million loan that Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air jointly received to be exclusively used to pay employee salaries, wages and benefits through Sept. 30.
The airline sector is trying to regain its footing by securing loans, expanding routes and increasing capacity.
ROLL OF THE DICE: For the first time in 108 days, slot machines will beep, dice will tumble and cards will be dealt at Atlantic City’s casinos Thursday as they reopen amid a coronavirus pandemic that has drastically changed things both inside and outside the casino walls.
Gamblers will not be allowed to smoke, drink or eat anything inside the casinos. They will have to wear masks while in public areas of the casino, and they will have their temperatures checked upon entering.
Five of the nine casinos — Hard Rock, Ocean, Resorts, Tropicana and Golden Nugget — will open their doors Thursday morning, the first day New Jersey allows them to. Three others, Caesars, Bally’s and Harrah’s, will reopen Friday, after allowing their highest rollers a one-day head start on Thursday. Only the Borgata, the city’s top-performing casino, will remain shut. It quickly decided to scrap its planned reopening after New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy cancelled permission for indoor dining in the state, and imposed smoking and drinking bans on the casinos. The Borgata has not set a reopening date.
— New statistics in Spain show the coronavirus outbreak cost the country’s key tourism sector more than 15 billion euros ($17 billion) in two months.
Figures published Thursday by Spain’s official statistics agency showed that in May the number of tourist arrivals was zero. It was the same number in April, as Spain closed its borders from mid-March until June 21 to fight the spread of COVID-19.
In April and May last year, 15 million tourists came and on average spent more than 1,000 euros ($1,130) each.
Tourism is one of Spain’s economic mainstays, and authorities are hoping to salvage some of the summer season by encouraging foreign tourists to visit.
CENTRAL GOVERNMENT & BANKS:
— The French government is asking all companies to keep at least 10 weeks worth of masks for their employees in case of a second wave of virus infections.
Shortages of all kinds of masks were a major problem in France when the virus raced across the country in March and April, and are central to several lawsuits launched against authorities.
The government is encouraging companies to buy from French textile manufacturers who have a glut of masks after they switched to making them at a government request earlier in the pandemic.
— Scotland will require masks to be worn in shops starting at the end of next week.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says that the Scottish Government has been considering the issue of face coverings “for some time now,’’ and that starting July 10, face coverings will be mandatory.
Face coverings have already been mandatory in Scotland on public transport.
MARKETS: Wall Street is rallying Thursday after a report showed the U.S. job market continues to climb from the crater created by the coronavirus pandemic in the spring.
SPAM TIME: Hormel Foods is reopening its SPAM Museum in Austin, Minnesota. The museum will host in-person visits but will conduct live virtual tours via Zoom.
The museum has robust cleaning and sanitation protocols in place and will be following social distancing guidelines provided by the Minnesota Department of Health.