At a Glance

In the U.S. as of Feb 28, CDC reported:

  • Total cases: 28,355,420
  • Total deaths: 510,777

Across the globe as of Mar 1, Johns Hopkins University reported:

  • Total Global Cases: 114,280,281
  • Total Global Deaths: 2,534,195

Industry Impact

  • Meatpacker JBS has announced plans to provide COVID-19 vaccines to 8,500 workers in eight states, reported Business Insider (March 1). Full Story
  • The 2021 National Restaurant Association Show has been canceled. The event, which was set to run from May 22-25 in Chicago, won’t be held for a second straight year because of pandemic-related limits on gathering sizes, reported Restaurant Business (February 26). Full Story
  • The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted this week to give grocery workers a $5-an-hour pay increase, the latest local government to adopt a “hero pay” measure during the pandemic even as retailers have warned stores could close as a result. The temporary increase was approved Tuesday in a 4-to-1 vote, reported Washington Post (February 24). Full Story
  • Overall retail sales should increase between 6.5% and 8.2% to $4.3 trillion in 2021, according to the National Retail Federation. The group noted that growth could surpass last year’s pace as vaccination efforts continue and the economy reopens, reported SF Gate (February 24). Full Story
  • Grocery chains continue to face pressure on workers’ hourly pay nearly a year into the pandemic. Cities like Los Angeles are considering hourly pay increase mandates after Seattle and Long Beach, California, passed such measures, but grocers argue shoppers will bear the costs, reported The Wall Street Journal (February 24). Full Story
  • A Harvard University think tank has found that paying tipped hospitality workers the same as non-tipped hourly workers have not led to more hospitality business closures during the pandemic, reported Forbes (February 23). Full Story
  • Beginning tomorrow, independent restaurants and other companies with fewer than 20 employees will be the only businesses allowed to apply for PPP funding for a two-week period. The move is intended to help the country’s smallest businesses from going under amid the pandemic, reported Restaurant Business (February 22) Full Story
  • China will likely be the first country to see a majority of its retail sales occur online rather than in brick-and-mortar stores, according to eMarketer. The company noted China would see 52.1% of all retail sales conducted online by the end of 2021, up 7.3% from 2020, reported Fast Company (February 18). Full Story
  • The World Health Organization says COVID-19 transmission on food packaging is rare. However, one of the group’s food safety experts said it’s worth further investigation into whether infected, frozen wild animals could have introduced the virus into market environments, reported cnet.com (February 16). Full Story
  • Seventy-five percent of shoppers plan to stick to at least some of their new habits post-COVID, according to a new Acosta report. Post-pandemic, top priorities for shoppers will be product availability (60%), low prices (52%), and customer safety (42%) (February 16). Full Story

Foodservice Impact

  • U.S. tariffs and coronavirus restrictions wiped 13.9% off the revenues of French wine and spirits exporters last year, industry group FEVS said. Sales abroad of wines and spirits – France’s second-biggest export after the aerospace industry – fell by 2 billion euros to 12.1 billion euros ($14.7 billion), reported Reuters. (February 11). Full Story
  • The lobster industry isn’t seeing its normal Chinese New Year boom, which is generally one of the busiest times of the year. The slump is driven by pandemic-related shipping complications, reported Wichita Eagle (February 8). Full Story
  • Interest in the H-2A migrant worker program remains high despite pandemic-related challenges. The American Farm Bureau Federation noted that although COVID-19 has impacted the patterns associated with worker arrivals, demand remains strong, reported Fruit Growers News. (February 6). Full Story
  • Canada’s new loan program offers COVID-impacted businesses up to $1 million. The initiative targets the hospitality, travel, tourism, and arts and culture industries reported CBC. (February 3) Full Story
  • Germany’s beer sales dropped 5.5% last year as bars and restaurants experienced lengthy COVID-related closures. The data doesn’t include alcohol-free beer and or EU imports, reported St. Louis Post-Dispatch. (February 1). Full Story

Economic Impact

Economic Impact:

For the latest economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, look to the expertise of the Food Institute. Monthly analysis of CPI, PPI, retail, and foodservice data is available to Food Institute members in our Economic Benchmarking portal.

Government Response

 

Click here to see state-by-state data on COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States (source: CDC and Our World in Data)

  • There were about 730,000 seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims for the week ending Feb. 20, down 111,000 from the prior week’s revised level, according to the Department of Labor (February 25). Full Report
  • A pandemic-inspired take-out alcohol rule could become permanent in Missouri after state legislators gave the measure preliminary approval, reported St. Louis Post-Dispatch (February 18). Full Story
  • Michigan extended restaurant restrictions through March 29. Under the current order, restaurant capacity is capped at 25% and a curfew of 10 p.m. is in place, reported MLive.com (February 17). Full Story
  • Amazon sued New York’s attorney general in a bid to stop her from suing the company over its coronavirus safety protocols and the firing of one of its outspoken workers. In the lawsuit filed Friday in Brooklyn federal court, Amazon said Attorney General Letitia James overstepped her authority by trying to regulate safety protocols at its warehouse in New York’s Staten Island borough, reported USA Today (February 13). Full Story
  • President Joe Biden’s restaurant relief fund would grant up to $5 million per unit, with few spending restrictions. A draft of Biden’s COVID aid bill indicates that $25 billion would be earmarked specifically for restaurants under the $1.9 trillion package, which is currently being considered by the House of Representatives, reported Restaurant Business (February 11). Full Story
  • U.S. farmers said new trade deals are critical to support agriculture producers amid the pandemic, and prioritizing trade would help reduce the need for government aid, reported FOX Business (February 9). Full Story
  • A congressional committee is looking into whether meatpackers Tyson, JBS, and Smithfield ignored worker-protection laws. Democratic Representative James Clyburn said the meatpackers refused to take basic precautions to protect their workers early in the COVID-19 pandemic, reported CBS News (February 1). Full Story 
  • The Biden administration announced Friday it will expand pandemic EBT benefits to infants and young children as part of a package to get more food aid to young families who have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus-induced recession, reported The Washington Post (January 29). Full Story
  • California lifted some COVID-19 related restrictions across the state on Jan. 25, including a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, reported CBS News (January 25). Full Story

 

Click here to see state-by-state data on COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States (source: CDC and Our World in Data)

  • A pandemic-inspired take-out alcohol rule could become permanent in Missouri after state legislators gave the measure preliminary approval, reported St. Louis Post-Dispatch (February 18). Full Story
  • There were about 861,000 seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims for the week ending Feb. 13, up 13,000 from the prior week’s revised level, according to the Department of Labor (February 18). Full Report
  • Michigan extended restaurant restrictions through March 29. Under the current order, restaurant capacity is capped at 25% and a curfew of 10 p.m. is in place, reported MLive.com (February 17). Full Story
  • Amazon sued New York’s attorney general in a bid to stop her from suing the company over its coronavirus safety protocols and the firing of one of its outspoken workers. In the lawsuit filed Friday in Brooklyn federal court, Amazon said Attorney General Letitia James overstepped her authority by trying to regulate safety protocols at its warehouse in New York’s Staten Island borough, reported USA Today (February 13). Full Story
  • President Joe Biden’s restaurant relief fund would grant up to $5 million per unit, with few spending restrictions. A draft of Biden’s COVID aid bill indicates that $25 billion would be earmarked specifically for restaurants under the $1.9 trillion package, which is currently being considered by the House of Representatives, reported Restaurant Business (February 11). Full Story
  • U.S. farmers said new trade deals are critical to support agriculture producers amid the pandemic, and prioritizing trade would help reduce the need for government aid, reported FOX Business (February 9). Full Story
  • A congressional committee is looking into whether meatpackers Tyson, JBS, and Smithfield ignored worker-protection laws. Democratic Representative James Clyburn said the meatpackers refused to take basic precautions to protect their workers early in the COVID-19 pandemic, reported CBS News (February 1). Full Story 
  • The Biden administration announced Friday it will expand pandemic EBT benefits to infants and young children as part of a package to get more food aid to young families who have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus-induced recession, reported The Washington Post (January 29). Full Story
  • California lifted some COVID-19 related restrictions across the state on Jan. 25, including a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, reported CBS News (January 25). Full Story

Additional Resources

COVID-19 Information

  • Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a virus closely related to the SARS virus.
  • People who are infected may have few symptoms or develop fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
  • Cases can progress to pneumonia and multi-organ failure.

What You Should Watch Out For:

  • Symptoms: CDC reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease. Fever, cough, and shortness of breath have been reported two to 14 days after exposure.
  • Prevention: CDC says the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. CDC recommends everyone wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public.
  • Testing: Please check with your healthcare provider for testing availability. More info: HHS.gov
  • Vaccines: To stay update with vaccine distributionHHS.gov. Also check with your state/local sites and your primary provider. To see the latest state-by-state data on COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • If You Are a Parent: Schools can play an important role in the effort to combat coronavirus and can prepare to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For schools in the midst of a community outbreak of COVID-19, temporarily dismissing childcare programs and K-12 schools is a strategy to stop or slow the further spread of COVID-19 in communities.
  • If You Are Elderly: Much like the seasonal flu, older adults and those with chronic health conditions are at higher risk of being impacted by the coronavirus in the event it does spread. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) urged nursing homes to keep abreast of CDC updates on coronavirus.

Additional Resources: