Visitors enjoy themselves at Yoyo Land, an indoor amusement center in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, June 16, 2020. Daily life in the capital resumes to normal as the government continues to ease restrictions related to running business and activities that were imposed weeks ago to combat the spread of COVID-19. Thailand reported no local transmissions of the coronavirus in the past 3 weeks. (AP Photo/ Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Casinos, airlines, seek return to normality

June 16, 2020 - 11:23 am

The outbreak of the coronavirus has dealt a shock to the global economy with unprecedented speed. Following are developments Tuesday related to the national and global response, the work place and the spread of the virus.

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TRAVEL: The pandemic has altered travel behavior in multiple ways and severely damaged cruise operators and airlines, though there are signs of a life.

— The United States and China have agreed to let each other’s airlines make four weekly flights between countries, according to the Transportation Department, easing an impasse between the world’s two biggest economies. U.S. airlines suspended flights to and from China earlier this year.

Delta and United sought to resume flights but complained that China was blocking them while Chinese carriers continued flying to the U.S. Delta said it will fly once a week from Seattle to Shanghai with a stopover in Seoul, and it will add a second weekly flight from Detroit in July. United did not immediately comment.

— Thailand approved three projects worth at total of more than 22 billion baht ($707 million) to help the country ’s reeling tourism industry. The funds are intended to stimulate domestic travel between July and October. Tourism receipts normally account for more than 10% of Thailand’s GDP.

— Recreational vehicle rentals are predicted to dominate this year’s July 4th holiday plans. Bookings on RVshare, a peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace, are up 81% from a year ago for the holiday weekend and continue to increase. RV bookings have nearly tripled since last year and have climbed by more than 1,600% since early April with so many people looking for a safe way to travel and vacation.

— Swedish truck maker AB Volvo plans to reduce white-collar jobs by about 4,100, 1,250 of them in Sweden. CEO CEO Martin Lundstedt said travel for demand will not be as strong going forward.

HOUSE RULES: Casinos are pushing for new rules, including cashless gambling payments. Thousands of people flocked to Las Vegas two weeks ago, though it remains to be seen of those crowds can be sustained.

— Revenue at Caesars Entertainment properties that reopened in Nevada during the first week of June dropped as much as 58% compared with a year ago through June 10.

Including properties outside of Nevada, which began to open as early as May, revenue through June 10 was between flat and up 2%, the company said in a regulatory filing.

Caesars reopened two properties in Louisiana and two properties in Mississippi last month. It reopened one property in Iowa and one property in Missouri on June 1. Caesars has five properties in Nevada, four of which reopened on June 4 and one on June 5. Of the five recently reopened properties in Nevada, two of the four which opened on June 4 and the one which opened on June 5 are located in Las Vegas.

GOVERNMENT & CENTRAL BANKS: New data shows that economies are coming back to life after being shut down by the pandemic, but very slowly.

— The Dutch Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis predicted Tuesday that the coronavirus will deliver an unprecedented hit to the country’s economy this year, causing a 6% contraction in gross domestic product. Unemployment will more than double by 2021 from 3.4% to 7%, although the economy would grow by 3% in the year, according to the bureau. Should a second wave of arrive, the economy will likely shrink in 2021 and unemployment could rise to 10%, the bureau said.

— Japan’s central bank echoed the Federal Reserve’s pledge of support for financial markets by beefing up its support for corporate lending. The Bank of Japan ended its policy meeting Tuesday without a change to its minus 0.1% benchmark interest rate and ultra-lax monetary stance. It expanded purchases of commercial paper, corporate bonds and lending t commercial banks, from 75 trillion yen to 110 trillion yen ($690 billion to $1.02 trillion).

MARKETS: Global shares rallied Tuesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve moved to support markets battered by the coronavirus pandemic and amid some upbeat economic data.

PERSONAL SPACE: Social distancing is getting a high-tech spin at Amazon. The company is deploying cameras and TV screens with machine learning technology in busy areas of its warehouses so that workers will be alerted when they get too close to colleagues. On the screen, the image of an employee will turn red if they get within 6 feet of someone else. Amazon is rolling out hundreds of the units to its warehouses.

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