Americans support small businesses during coronavirus with online classes, takeout

How coronavirus reopenings could impact swing states

FOX Business’ Jackie DeAngelis on how small businesses in swing states are faring and how that could impact the November presidential election.

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Americans are looking forward to supporting local businesses as they reopen and coronavirus restrictions ease up, according to a new survey.

On Tuesday, Groupon released the results of a survey conducted by OnePoll.

Of the 2,000 people surveyed, 75 percent of respondents said they “plan to support local merchants as much as possible once restrictions on non-essential businesses are lifted in their communities,” a press release about the survey said.

In fact, about 86 percent said they supported a local business during quarantine, the survey found.

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About 77 percent of respondents said they took an online class or joined a virtual experience by a local business, 65 percent said they booked summer activities that are close to home to keep their children entertained and 60 percent said they ordered more takeout and delivery from local restaurants.

Overall, the survey found that 57 percent of respondents know of at least one business affected by coronavirus regulations.

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“This crisis has disproportionately affected small businesses and our hearts go out to local merchants, who have often poured their life savings into their businesses,” Simon Goodall, Groupon’s chief commercial officer. said in a statement. “As some businesses begin to slowly and responsibly open back up, it’s encouraging to see that many Americans plan to continue to help their communities recover by supporting small, local businesses.”

“Even if you live in an area that hasn’t relaxed restrictions or you don’t feel that it’s safe to support them in person just yet, there are still a number of meaningful ways that you can make a huge difference right now such as taking an online class, ordering takeout or delivery and booking future plans,” Goodall added.

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Despite the difficulties small businesses have experienced, the Groupon survey also found that 67 percent of respondents are more hopeful now than they were when the pandemic started.

Once it’s safe, Americans are expected to start spending their money first at restaurants, retailers, clothing stores, salons, spas and bars, according to the survey.

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In fact, the average American plans to spend about $100 a week on local businesses after coronavirus restrictions are lifted in order to help the economy, the survey found. That’s up 16 percent from before the pandemic, according to Groupon.

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Americans use 3D printers from China to help fight Covid-19

(CNN Business)For weeks, Christian Parker has been working to save lives across the United States from his home in Washington state using a 3D printer and a blueprint for a small, Y-shaped piece of plastic.

Parker has been under a stay-at-home order with his wife and three children since early March, as the US tries to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected at least 700,000 people nationwide.
A 3D-printing enthusiast, Parker was fascinated by stories of people in Italy using the technology to help manufacture equipment and protective items at a time when supplies of important medical gear are running low.

    “[I thought] if I’m sitting at home just tinkering with my 3D printers anyway, or they’re sitting idle, what can I do to jump in and help out where I can?” he said.
    In the past week, Parker said he has produced at least 40 ventilator splitters for hospitals across the US. The simple plastic pipe can help stretch the capabilities of the country’s limited supply of ventilators by dividing the air flow from a single ventilator to multiple patients.

    A y-shaped splitter which can be printed at home and then used in hospitals to extend the capacity of limited ventilators in US hospitals.
    Ventilators have become a key weapon in the battle against coronavirus. The more sophisticated machines help patients breathe by pumping oxygen-rich air into the lungs, while removing carbon dioxide.
    Parker said he originally bought a 3D printer for his children, age 1, 3, and 5. But as he watched them use it, he became more interested in the technology.
    Eventually, he bought one for himself. Now he is part of a community of enthusiasts sharing designs and discussing creations online.
    During the coronavirus outbreak, Parker’s online community has become a mini-manufacturing hub.
    Each ventilator splitter takes about an hour and 45 minutes to print. Parker and his fellow 3D printers have sent off hundreds of splitters to hospitals across the US, and are discussing sending them around the world.
    “I think the biggest problem is that we’re all sitting at home and we all feel helpless, and then on top of that we hear about hospital shortages of PPE and ventilators … this is allowing me to feel like I’m contributing in some way,” he said.

    Splitters fresh off the 3D printer, ready to be sent out to hospitals.
    Johns Hopkins University’s Helen Xun said that when there’s a shortage of ventilators, splitters can be a simple solution to help as many patients as possible.
    Xun and her team are trying to develop a more advanced splitter, which will allow for greater control of the air supply.
    “When you have multiple patients on one splitter, you don’t have as much fine-tune control for the patients,” she said.

      Parker said he sees himself as a minor player in the global battle to contain the virus.
      “I’m not the hero, I’m just playing sidekick to those that are,” Parker said.
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      Fed notes what most Americans see: A sharp economic downturn

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      Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus shares advice for President Trump on reopening the country amid coronavirus in a manner fair for all businesses and states.

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      The Federal Reserve is noting what most Americans are already acutely aware of: Economic activity contracted sharply and abruptly across all regions of the country in recent weeks as the country locked down to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
      The Fed said Wednesday that the hardest-hit industries have been leisure and hospitality and retail sales, outside of essential goods like food.

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      The nationwide look at the coronavirus' impact on the economy came from the Fed's report known as the beige book, compiled from information supplied by the Fed's 12 regional banks. That information will be used when the Fed holds its next meeting, scheduled for April 28-29.

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      The Fed has already cut interest rates at two emergency sessions, pushing its benchmark rate down to a record low near zero. The central bank has also promised to provide billions of dollars in support to keep the financial system functioning and rolled out a number of programs last used in response to the 2008 financial crisis.
      The beige book report said all districts were reporting sharp declines in employment and most districts were seeing declines in manufacturing.

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      "All districts reported highly uncertain outlooks among business contacts with most expecting conditions to worsen in the next several months," the report said.

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      IRS warns Americans coronavirus cash is gold mine for scammers

      How to spend coronavirus stimulus check if you’re struggling financially

      Financial expert Chris Hogan says as Americans begin to receive their coronavirus relief checks, we should be in ‘conserve mode’ and avoid ‘any unnecessary spending.’

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      As millions of Americans receive their economic impact payments from the federal government this week, the IRS is concerned some recipients could fall victim to scammers.

      "Unfortunately there are fraudsters out there who will attempt to victimize vulnerable people during these trying times," Michael Montanez, acting special agent in charge for the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, said in a statement. "Everyone should be wary of swindlers trying to steal their COVID-19 Economic Impact Payment, as well as crooked individuals trying to take advantage of the crisis by tricking people into unnecessarily turning over their personal, sensitive information.”

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      So what should you be on the watch for? Here are some ways the IRS is expecting criminals to attempt to prey on individuals:

      • They may try to get you to sign your check over to them
      • They may ask you to “verify” your filing information in order to receive your money, using your personal information at a later date for schemes like filing a fraudulent tax return
      • They may also send you a fake check that may require you to verify it online or by calling a number

      The agency is reminding everyone that it will not call to verify your information, nor will it text or email you. It is also reminding people that it has not begun to send out paper checks yet – but if you receive a check for an odd amount (i.e. with cents) or one that requires any sort of verification, it is fraud.

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      Individuals can track their cash via the “Get My Payment” page on the IRS’ website.

      It’s not just scammers that Americans need to be worried about, either. As previously reported by FOX Business, officials are concerned that debt collectors may garnish the cash before consumers ever get their hands on it. They are asking the Treasury Department to designate the payments as exempt from garnishment.

      The economic impact payments will be $1,200 per adult for those with adjusted gross incomes of up to $75,000. The threshold for married couples is $150,000 – they are eligible for $2,400 and $500 per child.

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      As many as 80 million Americans were expected to receive their payments in their direct deposit accounts as of Wednesday.

      The IRS is expected to begin mailing paper checks next week. However, for those who would prefer to receive their money via direct deposit – but don’t have their details on file with the IRS – the tax agency launched a new tool on Wednesday that allows individuals to input their information to receive the funds electronically.

      Late Monday, the government also got approval from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to issue the payments on prepaid cards as a potentially safer and faster alternative to paper checks. The method has been advocated for reaching underbanked individuals.

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