Netflix establishing $100 million coronavirus relief fund
LOS ANGELES — Netflix said Friday it is establishing a $100 million relief fund for workers in the worldwide creative community affected by the coronavirus-caused halt of most film and television production.
“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,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief creative officer, said in a statement.
The majority of the fund will support hard-hit crews on Netflix’s productions around the world, Sarandos said, and will supplement the two weeks of pay the company already agreed to pay the cast and crew on suspended productions.
Electricians, carpenters and drivers, who largely are paid hourly wages and work on a project-to-project basis, are among the hundreds of thousands in the entertainment industry without jobs, he said.
Advocates move to halt evictions during virus crisis
NEW YORK — On the day after the coronavirus outbreak was declared a global pandemic, Joe Ferguson was given a batch of court-ordered evictions to carry out in his job as constable in Tucson, Arizona.
He knocked on doors in the majority Hispanic community of South Tucson, told residents to gather personal effects, clothing, medications and pets, and watched as some families became homeless.
Ferguson says he strongly opposed the evictions, with the Arizona court system still requiring him to toss people out of their homes even as the nation was going into a deeper state of lockdown and panic over the coronavirus.
“To serve the best interests of the entire community, while we’re all facing a public health epidemic, we should allow people to stay in their homes, so that we don’t stress our shelters, our hospitals and our first responders,” Ferguson said.
Then on Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced a proposed $1.5 trillion package that he said includes “immediate relief to renters and homeowners” by suspending evictions and foreclosures for 60 days.
But, it turns out, the vast majority of renters will not be covered by the protections. That’s because the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s plan only covers single-family homes with loans through the Federal Housing Administration. That applies to roughly 8 million homeowners, most of whom are not under foreclosure, according to HUD.
U.S. home sales jumped to 13-year high before viral outbreak
WASHINGTON — U.S. home sales jumped in February to their highest level in 13 years, a trend that will almost certainly be reversed as people stop showing their property out of fear of infection in the coronavirus outbreak.
The National Association of Realtors said Friday that home sales jumped 6.5% in February from the previous month, to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 5.77 million. The report covers contracts that were signed in December and January, with closings in February. The first reports of infections in China occurred Jan. 31.
At that time, conditions in the housing market were almost ideal, with hiring strong, wages rising, consumer confidence near a peak and the stock market at a record high. The economy has since come to a grinding halt and potentially millions of people have lost their jobs, which will likely cool sales in real estate.
The Realtors’ group released a survey Thursday that showed nearly half of the nation’s real estate agents say the coronavirus has caused interest among potential home buyers to decline.