Coronavirus BRIEFING
Supported by Essilor

Consumers Anticipate New Ways to Celebrate Halloween, Despite COVID-19

By Staff
Thursday, September 17, 2020 2:57 PM WASHINGTON—Like many holidays this year, Americans are planning to celebrate Halloween despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The autumnal holiday may look a little different this year, but consumers are finding ways to safely mark the occasion. 

According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, more than 148 million U.S. adults plan to participate in Halloween-related activities. Among those celebrants, safe at-home activities ranked highest: 53 percent plan to decorate their homes, 46 percent plan to carve a pumpkin and 18 percent will dress up their pet.

More than three-quarters say the virus is impacting their celebration plans, with overall participation down to 58 percent. Plans for parties, trick-or-treating, handing out candy and visiting haunted houses have all dropped, due largely to the fact that some activities do not easily adhere to social distancing. Even so, 17 percent say they plan to celebrate virtually.

Consumer spending is expected to reach $8.05 billion, down slightly from $8.78 billion in 2019, due to the drop in participation. However, consumers are spending more on the activities that will ensure a memorable holiday. Those who are celebrating plan to spend $92.12 on average compared with $86.27 in 2019. Consumers are doing what they can to still make it a special event by spending a little more on home decorations, candy and greeting cards. 

Click here to read the full story from the NRF. 

Fading Fiscal Stimulus Restraining U.S. Consumer Spending

By Staff
Thursday, September 17, 2020 12:51 PM Consumers are being increasingly cautious with their spending. If Congress is unable to extend fiscal aid to households in the coming weeks, the economy will be particularly susceptible to a cutback in consumer spending, especially from the lowest-income families.

One Study Says Wearing Glasses May Lower COVID Risk

By Staff
Thursday, September 17, 2020 10:31 AM According to a new study reported in WebMD, people wearing glasses may just be less susceptible to COVID-19 infection.This is because they prevent wearers from touching their eyes, which can help avoid transferring the virus, should it be present on their hands. Head over to WebMD for a more in-depth look at the report, and what might come of this knowledge moving forward.

Jobson Honors Three New ODs on its Online Eyecare Heroes Gallery

By Staff
Thursday, September 17, 2020 12:21 AM NEW YORK—As the COVID-19 virus continues to affect our everyday activities, Jobson continues its salute to the industry's health care workers, especially ECPs, for continuing to provide essential eyecare during the pandemic. This week, we honor three more Eyecare Heroes in our online gallery located at the Eyecare Heroes site. Dr. Gary Chu, New England College of Optometry, Boston, Mass., Dr. Michael McGovern, SUNY College of Optometry, New York, N.Y., and Dr. Eva Yan, Metro Optics, Bronx, N.Y. ECPs in the Gallery were selected from among the nominations submitted by readers of Vision Monday and 20/20.

Retail Sales for August Tick Up Slightly Following Dramatic Drop in April

By Staff
Wednesday, September 16, 2020 3:11 PM WASHINGTON—Retail sales continued to recover from the coronavirus pandemic in August, showing a gradual improvement from July. The U.S. Census Bureau said yesterday that overall retail sales during August were up 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted from July and up 2.6 percent year-over-year. That follows a 0.9 percent month-over-month increase in July. Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for August 2020, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $537.5 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 

Retail sales have been climbing after a record monthly drop while most stores were closed in April.

“While August retail sales numbers were a bit mixed, we believe the consumer is resilient and is in good shape as we head into the holiday season,” National Retail Federation president and CEO Matthew Shay said. 

“Over the past several months, consumers have responded well to federal relief measures that have supported the recovery, so it comes as no surprise that they would take a pause on spending as some of these programs tapered off at the end of July. We continue to advocate for additional stimulus measures to help the economy recover. With the holidays quickly approaching, our retailers are prepared to serve customers to meet all of their holiday needs and are embracing the new holiday tradition of shopping early.”

Click here
 to read the full story from the NRF. 

The Flu Vaccine—More Important Than Ever Before

By Mary Kane
Wednesday, September 16, 2020 1:35 PM Every year, I use this Today’s Read space to educate and inform our readers about the importance of getting a flu vaccine. But like everything else in 2020, this year’s flu season feels strangely different and its onset this fall and winter could bring with it some new dangers and challenges. Several health officials are predicting that the fall convergence of the flu season and a possible second wave (or in some places, a continuation) of COVID-19 might indeed collide creating a “twindemic” of sorts. Health experts are strongly urging Americans to get the flu shot hoping to ward off possible scenarios where people could potentially contract both the flu virus and the coronavirus at the same time. Read More

Can Plexiglass Stop COVID?

By Staff
Wednesday, September 16, 2020 11:37 AM

Mall Owner Simon Property Group Will Keep Stores Closed on Thanksgiving

By Staff
Wednesday, September 16, 2020 11:17 AM With everything that's going on, there may be no Black Friday [shopping day] at all. I can't imagine retailers buying inventory to stock up for an event designed to pack hundreds of people into a store. There are so many risks to that.

Putting Together an Ergonomic Work Space

By Staff
Wednesday, September 16, 2020 10:34 AM One positive of working from home is that no one can judge your bad posture—but while it might be comfortable to sit backwards and upside down in your desk chair, it's not always the best for your body. When it comes to creating a productive work space (for you, or for children doing their virutal learning) it's important to take posture into account and create an ergonomic space, and to take a physical break every 20 to 30 minutes. Head over to Cleveland Clinic to hear tips, tricks and reasoning from a chiropractor.

Jobson Tracker: National ECP Revenues and Category Indexes Decline Nationwide

By Staff
Wednesday, September 16, 2020 12:33 AM NEW YORK—For the third week in a row, optical sales experienced a decline on the national level. This past week’s substantial decreases in optical sales can be attributed to the Labor Day holiday, which was the first day of the most recent week for which metrics were tracked (Sept. 7-Sept. 13). All service/product categories were down by index points in the mid-teens.

A New Media Campaign by Essilor Canada to Accelerate Recovery

By Staff
Wednesday, September 16, 2020 12:25 AM To accelerate the post-Covid relaunch, Essilor Canada is back in full force with a media campaign to reach consumers in need of visual solutions and offer them the possibility to find an ey care professional near them and, in turn, help drive traffic to ECP practices.

ABB Optical Group Intros Phoropter Mask PPE Solution

By Staff
Wednesday, September 16, 2020 12:03 AM

Problem Solved: How to Keep Frames Sanitary in the Dispensary

By Staff
Tuesday, September 15, 2020 2:08 PM Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, eyecare professionals have adopted strict hygiene protocols. That puts pressure on their ability to serve the same number of patients they used to see before COVID-19. To address the situation, Zeiss Vision Care US is launching Zeiss UVClean technology, an optometry-specific UV-C disinfecting device designed especially for eyecare professionals and developed in conjunction with Voxelight, LLC. Intended for the dispensary Zeiss UVClean alleviates the high costs that have become the new normal in a COVID-19 environment. Zeiss developed the device with the insight and support of several practices across the U.S. including Carrboro Family Vision in North Carolina.

A Very Different Fashion Week

By Staff
Tuesday, September 15, 2020 11:34 AM The show must go on—but it must also make some vital changes. This week is New York Fashion Week, and although shows are going ahead, they look pretty different from what most fashion devotees are used to seeing. Instead of typical runway shows, this week has consisted of a mixture of virtual shows, socially distant shows, and other special experiences. Head over to the New York Fashion Week website to learn more, and experience it for yourself. 

COVID-19 Crisis Response Tactics: Oakley Face Shields and Santinelli Zoominar

By Staff
Tuesday, September 15, 2020 12:18 AM VM brings you the latest information from optical companies and organizations responding to the coronavirus. Luxottica Group has repurposed a part of its factory in Orange County, California, to supply face shields to meet the growing demand for coverage amid COVID-19.