With professionals working from home and students studying online, COVID-19 affects nearly every aspect of American life. The realities of social distancing can make people long for normalcy. A bright side to the current situation is the compassion that companies and celebrities are showing for those affected by the coronavirus.
Grocery stores are offering special shopping hours for elderly and vulnerable shoppers. Target, Whole Foods, Safeway, Albertsons and Dollar General, among others, all have some form of special hours.
Several companies are helping students move back home and transition to online coursework. U-Haul is offering free 30 days of storage to students, Adobe is giving free Creative Cloud to displaced students, LinkedIn is offering free online classes on working from home — and Loom, a software that allows you to record your face and screen at the same time to improve workflow, is making Loom Pro free for educators and students forever.
Internet providers are helping students work from home as well. Spectrum and Comcast are offering free internet service for 60 days for families of students in need. In addition, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Comcast are giving their customers free unlimited data for 60 days.
Stars in the sports world, including Zion Williamson, Patrick Mahomes, Rudy Gobert, Russell Wilson and Ciara, pledged to donate money to food banks and stadium workers who are out of work during suspended sports seasons.
Musicians, such as Charli XCX, Miley Cyrus, John Legend, P!nk, Diplo and many more, have been doing live concerts on social media to help entertain fans quarantined at home. Every day, actor Josh Gad has read children’s books on livestream for his younger fans, now stuck at home due to school cancellations.
To help people stay active, gyms like Planet Fitness and CorePower Yoga are offering free online exercise classes.
All of these special offers could be, at least in part, marketing ploys to improve company image and bring in new customers. Some offers, including U-Haul’s and Comcast’s, are for new customers only. But at some level, they reflect the idea that the best way for Americans to get through the spread of COVID-19 and its effects on daily life is to support each other, even if we have to keep our distance.
Email Kyle McCabe at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @kyledotmccabe.