Business & Education

Business & education news

Trends often start in New York. The latest: quitting the city and moving to the suburbs.

If not quite an exodus, the pandemic has sent enough New Yorkers to the exits to shake up the area's housing market. Longtime real estate agent Susan Horowitz says she has never seen anything like it. She describes the frantic, hypercompetitive bidding in the suburb of Montclair, N.J., as a "blood sport."

"We are seeing 20 offers on houses. We are seeing things going 30% over the asking price. It's kind of insane," Horowitz says.

Many of the companies and organizations getting loans from the Paycheck Protection Program – billed by the SBA as a lifeline for struggling, small companies — aren't what anyone would think of as small businesses.

Among them:

Large restaurant chains, including Applebee's, P.F. Chang's, Ruby Tuesday and TGI Fridays, got loans between $5 million and $10 million.

The Greenbrier Hotel Corporation, a luxury resort owned by West Virginia's billionaire governor James Justice, got a loan between $5 million and $10 million.

Cinema chains, including AMC Entertainment, Cinemark and Regal Cinemas, have filed suit against New Jersey's governor for refusing to allow them to reopen amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Federal regulators have finalized a new rule for payday lenders that strips out a key provision crafted during the Obama administration. Under the revised rule, lenders will no longer have to check that borrowers can repay their loan when it comes due.

Consumer advocates say that without that protection, borrowers often get trapped having to borrow again and again, at interest rates of up to 400%.

Brett Bruen was a U.S. diplomat for 12 years and served as director of global engagement in the Obama White House. He now teaches crisis communications at Georgetown University and runs Global Situation Room, a public affairs firm.

Editor's note: This is an excerpt of Planet Money's newsletter. You can sign up here.

This is the first in an ongoing series of stories following the struggle of one restaurant trying, like many, to reinvent itself to survive the global pandemic.


Food and drink establishments have been among the most challenging businesses to operate through the pandemic. Around the nation, many have already shut down for good, while others that reopened are now closing again because of increases in COVID-19 cases in some places.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

When you're a man of a certain age and you don't get a haircut for a few months, the thinning hair on top starts getting wispy and blowing around, the sides stick out all crazy. It is not a good look.

And it seemed beyond the help of a YouTube haircut video. So when the stylist who cuts my hair, Vincent Cox, told me that the salon he works at was opening up, I thought — "Well, I don't know. What am I going to risk my health just for vanity?"

Restaurants, car-dealers and lawyers were among the businesses that borrowed the most from a federal program to save jobs during the pandemic.

Those business sectors, along with doctors' and dentists' offices, topped the list of nearly 700,000 businesses approved for larger loans under the federal government's $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program, commonly called the PPP.

Uber is buying the delivery app Postmates, bolstering its food-delivery business at a time when few people are hailing rides.

The $2.65 billion all-stock deal is a sign of how Uber's business model has been turned upside down as customers have stayed home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Many people with underlying medical conditions are worried about what's going to happen at the end of the month. It's not currently safe for many of them to go back to work. The COVID-19 death rate is 12 times higher for people with underlying conditions.

But an extra $600 a week in federal unemployment benefits, which has been enabling them to pay their rent and other bills, will stop coming at the end of July.

Updated at 2:40 p.m.

A federal judge has ruled that the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline must be emptied for now while the Army Corps of Engineers produces an environmental review.

In a decision posted Monday, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said that it was clear shutting down the pipeline will cause disruption. But he said that "the seriousness of the Corps' deficiencies outweighs the negative effects of halting the oil flow" during the estimated 13 months it will take to complete the environmental impact statement.

Fresh off a Caribbean cruise in early March, John Campbell developed a cough and fever of 104 degrees. He went to his primary care physician and got a flu test, which came up negative.

Then things got strange. Campbell says the doctor then turned to him and said, "I've called the ER next door, and you need to go there. This is a matter of public health. They're expecting you."

It was March 3, and no one had an inkling yet of just how bad the COVID-19 pandemic would become in the United States.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

Copyright 2020 KCRW. To see more, visit KCRW.

SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

Usually, bartenders at 67 Orange Street in Harlem perform in front of an audience, as they shake, pour, and light drinks on fire. People watch from stools around the bar and tightly packed tables.

Karl Franz Williams started this cocktail bar almost twelve years ago. He's watched people fall in love here and even witnessed a wedding. Williams actually named the bar in honor of a Black-owned, nineteenth century dance hall in Lower Manhattan, Almack's. That dance hall's last known address was 67 Orange Street.

Long before the coronavirus pandemic, tabletop board games were having something of a renaissance, with popular games like The Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride becoming mainstream additions to family game nights.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT DETROW, HOST:

In South Korea, there's a new Chex flavor in the breakfast aisle.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TAE JIN-AH: (Singing in non-English language).

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT DETROW, HOST:

June may have brought an increase in jobs, but it also led the way to a spike in coronavirus cases across the country. U.S. employers added 4.8 million jobs in June, and that was cause for celebration from President Trump.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

Across England today, thousands of pubs are reopening as the United Kingdom continues to emerge from the coronavirus lockdown.

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Unintelligible).

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Cheers. Cheers.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Texas is struggling big time with COVID-19.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

President Trump kicked off this holiday weekend by highlighting increases in U.S. jobs numbers and the stock market.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Pages