Show an ad over header. AMP

The industries that won't recover without a vaccine

Industries that were once expected to recover after the initial coronavirus lockdowns lifted are now unlikely to bounce back until a vaccine arrives.

Why it matters: In the absence of a widely-adopted vaccine, businesses in the entertainment, travel, restaurant and other industries are struggling to overcome consumer skepticism around indoor activities — even with new safety protocols in place.

The big picture: CEOs of battered companies caution that business prospects hinge on a vaccine.

  • And with the exception of the health care industry, the industrial sector — which includes airlines, commercial services and suppliers and manufacturing — has made the most references to a vaccine in its earnings calls over the past seven months, according to data provided to Axios by research firm Sentieo.


Travel and tourism

  • Tourism-reliant industries, including hotels, weren’t expected to recover quickly. But a recent announcement by Disney that it was laying off 28,000 people due to pandemic-related headwinds suggests that the sector is in crisis. 
  • Cruise lines last week extended their suspensions in response to updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most of the major cruise lines have shut down operations until 2021. 
  • Airlines are furloughing thousands of employees as federal aid that propped up the industry during the pandemic expires. Airlines are pushing to test before takeoff to spark confidence in travel, as Axios' Joann Mueller reports.
  • Local transit systems are struggling as they try to coax wary riders back on to subways and buses.

Food and beverage

  • While restaurants have successfully lured back customers, they are abiding by state and city guidelines for capacity caps — like other consumer-facing small businesses.
  • Bars have experienced thousands of closures across the country as research continues to show that bars are one of the fastest-spreaders of COVID-19.


  • Remote work has made industries that rely on enterprise businesses nearly obsolete, trickling all the way down to professional shopping services like Rent the Runway, which are racing to adapt to more people who don't need to get dressed up.
  • Garment services have been devastated by the pandemic, Axios' Felix Salmon reports. He notes that in the U.S., "many garment workers are undocumented, which rendered them ineligible for CARES Act stimulus and unemployment checks."


  • Gyms and boutique fitness classes have begun to reopen with restrictions across the country, but many have been forced to permanently shutter due to the coronavirus.
  • Amusement parks will be forced to remain shut in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared last week. 
  • Temporary museum closures are becoming permanent. Sixteen percent of America’s museum directors said there’s a “high risk” they may have to close in the next year without additional funding, according to a survey by the American Alliance of Museums conducted in July.
  • And in what can only be considered dismal irony, the Smithsonian Magazine reported that COVID-19 may permanently shutter a museum dedicated to vaccine pioneer Edward Jenner. 

The bottom line: Even a vaccine won't be enough on its own. Struggling industries may not recover until the virus is completely under control.

  • And for industries that were struggling even before the pandemic hit, a vaccine will not be able to reverse the terminal decline that's been exacerbated by the pandemic.

House antitrust chair talks USA vs. Google

The Justice Department filed a 63-page antitrust lawsuit against Google related to the tech giant's search and advertising business. This comes just weeks after the House subcommittee on antitrust issued its own scathing report on Google and other Big Tech companies, arguing they've become digital monopolies.

Axios Re:Cap talks with Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), chair of the subcommittee on antitrust, about Google, the DOJ's lawsuit and Congress' next move.

Boeing research shows disinfectants kill coronavirus on airplanes

Boeing and researchers at the University of Arizona say their experiment with a live virus on an unoccupied airplane proves that the cleaning methods currently used by airlines are effective in destroying the virus that causes COVID-19.

Why it matters: Deep cleaning aircraft between flights is one of many tactics the airline industry is using to try to restore public confidence in flying during the pandemic. The researchers say their study proves there is virtually no risk of transmission from touching objects including armrests, tray tables, overhead bins or lavatory handles on a plane.

Keep reading... Show less

Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted COVID relief bill

Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked a vote on Republicans' $500 billion targeted COVID-19 relief bill, a far less comprehensive package than the $1.8 trillion+ deal currently being negotiated between the Trump administration and House Democrats.

Why it matters: There's little appetite in the Senate for a stimulus bill with a price tag as large as what President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been calling for. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) "skinny" proposal was mostly seen as a political maneuver, as it had little chance of making it out of the Senate.

Keep reading... Show less

Hunter Biden firestorm underscores the hazy line between politics and influence campaigns

The recent firestorm over the New York Post’s publication of stories relying on data from a hard drive allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden shows the increasingly hazy line between domestic political “dirty tricks” and a foreign-sponsored disinformation operation.

Why it matters: This haziness could give determined actors cover to conduct influence operations aimed at undermining U.S. democracy through channels that just look like old-fashioned hard-nosed politics.

Keep reading... Show less

"I stood up for that": Pope Francis voices support for same-sex civil unions

Pope Francis voiced his support for same-sex civil unions for the first time as pope in the documentary “Francesco,” which premiered Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival, per the Catholic News Agency.

Why it matters: The pope’s remarks represent a break from the position of the Roman Catholic Church, which has long taught that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered" and contrary to natural law.

Keep reading... Show less

Countries waiting to see if Trump wins before moving on Israel normalization

The White House is attempting to leverage momentum from Israel's normalization deals with Bahrain and the UAE to get more Arab countries on board before the U.S. election.

Driving the news: President Trump wants Sudan's removal from the U.S. state sponsors of terrorism list to be accompanied by a pre-election announcement on Israel.

Keep reading... Show less

Poll: 92% of battleground state voters are "extremely motivated to vote"

91% of likely voters nationally say they are "extremely motivated to vote," including 92% in battleground states Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, according to a Change Research/CNBC Poll.

Why it matters: The 2020 election could see record-breaking levels of voter turnout. Voters last week cast ballots at five times the rate they did at this point in the 2016 election, per the U.S. Elections Project. Over 39 million ballots have been cast in early voting states as of Wednesday.

Keep reading... Show less

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma to plead guilty to 3 criminal charges

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, will plead guilty to three federal criminal charges Wednesday as part of a more than $8 billion settlement with the Justice Department, AP reports.

Why it matters: "The settlement is the highest-profile display yet of the federal government seeking to hold a major drugmaker responsible for an opioid addiction and overdose crisis linked to more than 470,000 deaths in the country since 2000," AP notes.

Keep reading... Show less



Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories