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US businesses take COVID-19 preventive measures ahead of reopening

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Some businesses dependent on physical workplaces in Colorado of the United States are actively taking preventive measures and adjusting their work shifts under the safety guidelines provided by a newly-founded COVID-19 consultant firm for safe resumption.

After being away firm his customers for two months due to the epidemic, Zaki Hamid, owner of a contemporary clothes store called “Steadbrook” in Denver of Colorado, is taking safety precautions to keep his shop a virus-free space.

He hired a startup called “The Covid Consultants” to advise him on how to keep his shop a virus-free. Hamid said anything they can do to mitigate the risk is worth doing right now.

“We love our business, we’re so passionate about it but but safety, health and the protection of our community is our number one priority,” said Hamid.

All across the country, businesses dependent on physical workplaces are staggering work shifts and changing the way their buildings are set up and function.

Dana Lerman, a staff of the “The Covid Consultants”, is using her background as an infectious disease physician to help folks like Hamid enforce social distancing and precautions needed to comply with safety guidelines while making his employees and customers feel comfortable.

Tara Powers, founder of Powers Resource Center, is helping companies navigate this new work environment by sorting out movement patterns and areas of people at a law firm.

“She’s been spending weeks figuring out new paths of how people will flow through their large building and what elevators will be used to go up, what elevators will be used to go down,” said Powers.

It seems that the elevator traffic has become a bit of a science. Safety-related signs may soon be commonplace. The arrows pointing customers through stores and plexiglass dividers at front counters will soon become common. Cubicles and offices, as opposed to open work spaces, could also be coming in again, something that Powers worries about.

Ford Motor Company is even testing wearable wrist devices that buzz when workers get too close to each other. Of course, companies will have to decide how much to budget for all these retrofits.

Hamid has one policy that’s unique to stores like his. He said if anyone tries any clothes on, they steam it and then quarantine that piece for 24 hours. Lerman said hand-washing will also have to be done differently at his store.

“You need to implement these changes because they’re really important. You don’t want to have a COVID-19 outbreak in your facility,” said Lerman.

The stakes are high, but most businesses know they need to adjust for a very different future.

 

Source: CCTV

Published By Harry Miller

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Canadian National Railway CEO to retire following investor pressure

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Canadian National Railway (CN) said on Tuesday Chief Executive Officer Jean-Jacques Ruest will retire at the end of January, following investor demands for his exit after the railroad operator’s failed bid for Kansas City Southern.

 TCI Fund Management, which owns 5% of CN, in August pitched former Union Pacific executive Jim Vena for the top job and on Tuesday urged Canada’s largest railroad operator to secure his leadership.

“Dismissing the same CEO that the Board put in place just three short years ago is a good start, but it does not address the fundamental problem of a lack of leadership,” TCI Founder Chris Hohn said. The hedge fund had earlier cited the company’s “ill-conceived” efforts to pursue the Kansas City merger for demanding Ruest’s ouster.

Last month, CN lost a bidding war to create the first direct railway linking Canada, the United States and Mexico as rival Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd signed a $27.2 billion deal to buy Kansas City.

CN has now set up a committee to look for a new CEO both within and outside the company.

“(The board) is not on the clock. It doesn’t mean that they will go slow,” Ruest said in an earnings call, adding that he would leave it to the board to engage with TCI.

Ruest had deferred discussions on his retirement plans in order to see the company through the merger, it said, and he could helm CN until it names a replacement.

In the third quarter ended Sept. 30, adjusted profit rose 9.5% on a surge in petroleum and chemicals shipments. But its operating ratio, a key profitability metric for investors, worsened to 62.7% from 59.9% a year earlier.

($1 = 1.2365 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Abhijith Ganapavaram, Amruta Khandekar and Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

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Diapers to yogurt, global firms face higher costs amid supply-chain woes

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Results from companies Procter & Gamble Co and Danone SA as well as phone maker Ericsson on Tuesday show higher costs and supply chain disruptions, signaling more margin pressure for global firms and higher prices for shoppers.

Panic-buying at the start of the pandemic led to mass shortages of everything from toilet paper to packaged foods. Global lockdowns and labor shortages crimped supply chain movement and caused lasting log-jams at ports from China to California.

Many companies have leaned on price increases to offset higher prices for materials needed to make and ship essential necessities like diapers and bottled water. Executives and analysts have said price increases will linger into next year.

Procter & Gamble(P&G), which noted its first-quarter operating margins were squeezed, now expects a hit of about $2.3 billion in expenses this fiscal year, compared with a prior forecast of about $1.9 billion.

The company is blaming higher raw material costs as well as diesel and energy prices, and said it does not expect those issues to ease up anytime soon.

Danone, which sells Activa yogurt and Evian bottled water, warned of growing inflationary pressures next year after sticking by its 2021 outlook on Tuesday, pledging its operating margins will be protected by productivity gains and price increases.

“Like just about everyone across the sector and beyond, we see inflationary pressures across the board. What started as increased inflation on material costs evolved into widespread constraints impacting our supply chain in many parts of the world,” said Danone’s finance chief Juergen Esser.

Sweden’s Ericsson told investors on Tuesday global supply chain issues will still be a major hurdle.

“Late in Q3 we experienced some impact on sales from disturbances in the supply chain, and such issues will continue to pose a risk,” Chief Executive Officer Börje Ekholm said in a statement.

The company was not able to deliver certain hardware to its customers due to a chip shortage at suppliers, coupled with logistics problems, it said.

Electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc is due to report results on Wednesday. Investors are closely watching the car maker’s margins. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has previously said the company is spending heavily to fly car parts around the world to meet demand, while at the same time working to cut costs at its factory in China by sourcing more local parts.

Some investors want to see how those costs add up.

“I think that there is probably a headwind to margins. They’re paying more for components,” said Gene Munster, managing partner at venture capital firm Loup Ventures, an investor in Tesla. “I think that would be a huge positive if they can raise auto gross margin in this environment.”

 

(Writing by Bernard Orr and Anna Driver; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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Much-anticipated bitcoin futures ETF makes its debut on the NYSE: CNBC After Hours – CNBC Television

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