How Starbucks, Gucci, AT&T, and More Companies Are Making a Positive Impact Amid Coronavirus

The novel coronavirus is f*cking sh*t up for everyone.


Image via Getty/Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket


As the nation continues to grapple with how best to move forward amid sustained concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus, an oft-overlooked facet of spread-prevention methods is the adverse impact they can have on everyday people ranging from college students to those now forced to work from home.

A number of businesses have stepped up with efforts of varying levels of impressiveness aimed at easing COVID-19 woes for customers, employees, and the general population.

In a statement from CEO Kevin Johnson, Starbucks announced it has “committed to pay all Starbucks U.S. and Canada retail partners for the next 30 days whether or not their store is closed, or they are otherwise unable, or even uncomfortable, coming to work. We believe no partner should be asked to choose between work and their health.”

Over the weekend Starbucks shifted all its U.S. and Canada locations to drive-thru-only. The company is also implementing “service pay,” which includes an extra $3/hour for employees “who are able and choose to come to work.”

On March 24, Ford announced it will shift some of its production toward making medically essential respirators, ventilators, and face shields. “Executives on Tuesday said Ford workers plan to use car parts and factory tools to help get some equipment out to doctors, nurses and first responders as early as this week,” Automotive Newsreports

The move is a partnership with 3M and GE Healthcare and aims to yield 1,000 respirators per month employing “a makeshift design that includes fans from F-150 pickup seats, 3D-printed parts and portable tool battery packs that could allow the devices to run for up to eight hours.” The face shields production goal is 100,000 per week.

Gucci will donate €2 million to fight coronavirus via two donations. In its native Italy, the fashion house will give to the Italian Civil Protection Department (Protezione Civile) in partnership with Intesa Sanpaolo. For a global effect, Gucci will donate to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund in support of the World Health Organization, through a matching campaign with Facebook. 

Ralph Lauren will produce masks and isolation gowns for hospitals and send $10 million to several coronavirus-related causes, one being the aforementioned WHO Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund. H&M is contributing $500,000 to the latter fund and creating personal protective equipment to distribute globally. The company also announced it’s “letting global aid organizations utilize H&M social channels to spread the message of health and safety around the COVID-19 pandemic.”

As many universities around the country switch to online-only mode for the time being, students left befuddled by what to do with their belongings can turn to U-Haul. The company is offering a free month of self-storage to affected college students. 

"More and more universities are giving instructions to leave campus and go home," company boss John Taylor told E! News of the initiative. "Students and their parents are in need of moving and storage solutions. We have the expertise and network to help, and that's exactly what we're going to do."

On March 23, CVS announced it will “immediately” hire 50,000 employees across the U.S., both part- and full-time, in what the chain calls the “most ambitious hiring drive in the company’s history.” It will also begin awarding bonuses between $150-500 to its existing employees, including pharmacists, associates, managers, and various other healthcare workers currently “required to be at CVS facilities,” per Forbes.

Meanwhile, those relegated to a largely home-based lifestyle for the next couple weeks can take small comfort in the fact that multiple internet providers are offering some relief. Those unable to pay up their bills as a result of being out of work or school, thanks to an FCC-announced initiative encompassing multiple companies, may have a shot at have their services preserved.

Participating providers include AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, Google Fiber, T-Mobile, and more. "I applaud those companies that have already taken the Keep Americans Connected Pledge," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a press release. "They are stepping up to the plate and taking critical steps that will make it easier for Americans to stay connected during this pandemic and maintain much-needed social distancing. I urge other companies to join them. This may be a difficult time for our nation, but if we all work together, I am confident that we can rise to the challenge."

For full details on the Keep Americans Connected Pledge, which spans a 60-day period, click here. 

T-Mobile announced an update on their ongoing efforts to help customers, providing them with unlimited smartphone data, additional 20GB of mobile hotspot/tethering service for the next 60 days, and more. Details here.

We‘ll get through this together! Here's how we’re helping:

✔️ Removing smartphone data caps for all customers
✔️ Giving 20GB of add’l mobile hotspot data
✔️ Increasing data for schools in our EmpowerED program
✔️ Making it free to call severely impacted countries

More info:

— T-Mobile (@TMobile) March 13, 2020

Along with T-Mobile, Sprint is offering unlimited data to customers for 60 days. Per CNET, the initiative will begin no later than March 19. Also, customers will get an extra 20GB of mobile hotspot data during this time. The goal is to allow Sprint users access to the internet and WiFi while they are quarantined.  

Canada Goose is opening a pair of production units in Toronto and Winnipeg, with plans to produce 10,000 and scrubs to donate to Canadian hospitals. CEO Dani Reiss also announced he will "forego his salary for at least the next three months, which will be used for the Employee Support Fund.”

Grocery store Stop & Shop has announced that they have changed their hours to include a specific time, 6-7:30 a.m., in which only customers 60 and older will be able to shop. 

Additional COVID-19-inspired efforts have popped up by way of the fine folks at Pornhub, Coursera, and more.

Pornhub is donating its March proceeds from Modelhub to support Italy during this unfortunate time (model earnings will remain untouched). Italy will also have free access to Pornhub Premium throughout the month. Forza Italia, we love you! 🧡

— Pornhub (@Pornhub) March 12, 2020

Presumably, it's only a matter of time before far less tastefully themed initiatives are introduced from companies less tuned in to the national mood.

In other news, Amazon is looking to hire an additional 100,000 workers to keep up with the surge of demand they've experienced in the wake of coronavirus spreading. The company has also said they will raise the hourly wage of delivery and warehouse workers by $2 until the end of April, CNBC reports

Uber Eats announced its own initiatives, including no delivery fees in Canada and the U.S.

We’re committed to supporting our community and helping to keep you safe in the cities we serve:
✔️ $0 Delivery Fee for local restaurants in the US & Canada
✔️ You can request food be left at your doorstep
✔️ We’re committing 300K+ meals to healthcare workers & first responders

— Uber Eats (@UberEats) March 16, 2020

Uber Eats announced on April 3 that it’s demoing a new approach in NYC with hopes to expand it across the U.S. the following week “and into other countries soon after.” The company’s new move is to let users “contribute to their favorite local restaurants directly from the app at checkout.” Uber will match all the money (up to $5 million) with donations to the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund.

Moncler announced that it's donating €10 million EUR (nearly $11 million USD) to help fight coronavirus in Italy.  The money will be used to build a new hospital in the northern region of Lombardy. 

"Milan is a city that has given us all an extraordinary [life],” Moncler ‘s chairman and CEO Remo Ruffini said in a statement. “We cannot and must not abandon it. It is everyone’s duty to give back to the city what it has given us so far. I have expressed to the councilor Giulio Gallera the will to work on this great project from the moment it was imagined and now that there are reasonable certainties on the feasibility, we are ready to support it. I am sure that the team of the Region of Lombardy, also facilitated by the experience of Guido Bertolaso [who is consulting with Lombardy’s governor Attilio Fontana], can bring this great initiative to become a reality as soon as possible.”

Kerby Jean-Raymond took to Instagram, where he announced what Pyer Moss is doing to help combat coronavirus. 

Along with converting the Pyer Moss NYC office into a donation center, Jean-Raymond also announced that Pyer Moss will be donating $50,000 to "minority and women owned small creative businesses who are currently in distress."

Meanwhile, clothing label John Elliott made to a $10,000 donation to the UCLA Health fund. Elliott is also designating 10% of sales to the fund as well. 

"My family has dedicated their lives to helping people, and it’s something I’ve always been inspired by," Elliott said in a statement. "My dad, brother, aunts, and uncles are all physicians. My sister-in-law is a physician at UCLA. In these difficult times, I asked them what we could do. Their response was to give to our local hospital - to support medical personnel on the front line who are putting others before themselves."

Television shows like ABC's Grey's Anatomy and FOX's The Resident have donated gowns, masks, and other supplies from their sets to hospitals that are running low, CNN reports. ABC's Station 19 has donated N95 masks to the Ontario Fire Department. 

Bandcamp has announced that it will waive its share of revenue from sales on Friday, March 20 from 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. PT. "For many artists, a single day of boosted sales can mean the difference between being able to pay rent or not," Ethan Diamond, Bandcamp's CEO and co-founder, said. "Still, we consider this just a starting point. Musicians will continue to feel the effects of lost touring income for many months to come, so we're also sharing some ideas below on how fans can support the artists they love and how artists can give fans new, creative ways to provide support."

Today’s a good day to support your fave music friends on @Bandcamp - they’re waiving their revenue share for 24 hours which means artists receive 100% of what you pay ❤️💙 Most of my catalogue is up there. I’m perusing new faves of mine to purchase right now too 😊👏🏻

Netflix has announced it will establish a $100 million relief fund to help for workers impacted by the coronavirus. “The COVID-19 crisis is devastating for many industries, including the creative community. Almost all television and film production has now ceased globally — leaving hundreds of thousands of crew and cast without jobs,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, said via a statement. “These include electricians, carpenters and drivers, many of whom are paid hourly wages and work on a project-to-project basis. This community has supported Netflix through the good times, and we want to help them through these hard times, especially while governments are still figuring out what economic support they will provide.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the company would donate millions of industrial masks to healthcare workers battling coronavirus. Cook confirmed the much-needed supplies would be distributed in the U.S. and Europe: "To everyone of the heroes on the front lines, we thank you," he tweeted.

Our teams at Apple have been working to help source supplies for healthcare providers fighting COVID-19. We’re donating millions of masks for health professionals in the US and Europe. To every one of the heroes on the front lines, we thank you.

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 21, 2020

Cook's tweet came shortly after Vice President Mike Pence confirmed Apple's generous donation.

"This is another story of great American industry," he said at a White House briefing. "The president and I literally heard directly from Apple that they're donating 2 million industrial masks to this effort around the country and working with our administration to distribute those."

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company has donated its "emergency reserve" of 720,000 respiratory masks to health care workers. The masks were initially bought in the event that the California wildfires were to come close to the company's main campus in Menlo Park. Zuckerberg said that he's also working on getting "millions" of masks to donate.

Zuckerberg told reporters that he and nearly all of his 45,000 employees are working from home except for a select few, like server maintenance workers.

Facebook went on to announce it will direct $100 million to support news organizations’ financially strained journalistic efforts during this time. The Facebook Journalism Project will donate $25 million to local news outlets, while another $75M will constitute an “additional marketing spend with news organizations around the world.” The first round of grants is set to benefit 50 local newsrooms in the U.S. and Canada.

FB’s VP of Global News Partnerships wrote, “Through the COVID-19 Community Network grant program, direct funding is helping journalists cover important stories when we all need them most. We’re building on this work and will direct a portion of these funds to publishers most in need in the hardest hit countries. … If people needed more proof that local journalism is a vital public service, they’re getting it now. And while almost all businesses are facing adverse financial effects from this crisis, we recognize we’re in a more privileged position than most, and we want to help.”

In early 2019 Facebook pledged $300 million to “news programs, partnerships, and content,” set to be spaced out over three years.

On March 26, Major League Baseball and Fanatics announced that one of its jersey-making factories has been converted to produce masks and gowns for medical workers. Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin made the announcement via Twitter. 


Woke up in the middle of the night last week with idea of converting our @Fanatics factory in PA that makes official @MLB jerseys into a facility that makes much needed masks and gowns and then donating them to help fight this horrendous virus.

— Michael Rubin (@michaelrubin) March 26, 2020

Here's another view of the masks and gowns courtesy of ESPN's Jeff Passan. 

This is great: @Fanatics, which makes official MLB uniforms, is halting production on them and turning their material into masks and gowns to be donated to hospital workers. They'll first be distributed in Pennsylvania, where a factory is located, then in New York and New Jersey.

— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 26, 2020

The masks and gowns are expected to be distributed throughout Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. 

Levi's has been holding a daily concert series titled "5:01 Live" on its Instagram page as a way to show artists support while also encouraging people to stay home. So far, Kali Uchis and Snoop Dogg are among the artists who have participated, with Chase B, Jaden Smith, Alec Benjamin, and others expected to perform in the near future. 

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