Private Coronavirus Relief is Better than Government

The government’s forced quarantines and work restrictions have had a terrible economic impact. To try to correct the problem they caused, politicians are starting their dollar-bill printing presses, creating money out of thin air like a magician—and like a magician, hoping that nobody will notice the trick.

That news is dominating headlines, so you almost certainly know about it. But what isn’t making as many headlines is the news that voluntary, private coronavirus relief is better than government action. What follows is just a small sample of what’s happening every day all over the world.

Government regulations prevent markets from meeting demand as they otherwise could, and that’s been seen in a shortage of medical supplies as the coronavirus spreads. Prudential Financial contributed towards fixing that shortage, donating 153,000 face masks and approximately 75,000 respirators to hospitals across New Jersey.

Private Coronavirus Relief is Better than Government
A Prudential employee prepares stored medical supplies for donation. Image: Prudential Financial

Generous people aren’t just thinking about the safety of healthcare workers, but also their basic needs—like coffee. Starbucks has said that through 3 May, all customers who are hospital staff will receive a tall brewed coffee at no charge. In addition, Starbucks is donating $500,000 to charities that support hospital workers.

But treating COVID patients takes more than caffeine—it takes calories. So Krispy Kreme has joined in as well, pledging to donate a dozen donuts to all healthcare workers every Monday. They’ll continue through National Nurses Week (May 6-12).

Private Coronavirus Relief is Better than Government
Healthcare workers pose with donated donuts. Image: @cappiern

Hospital employees are working very hard to help people sick with COVID, but they are fortunate to still have jobs. The government’s restrictions shut down a lot of businesses, and put a lot of people out of work. Hardest hit are wage-earning employees. That’s why Kent Taylor, the CEO of Texas Roadhouse, has chosen to donate his year’s salary to help his front-line hourly workers.

Taylor is not the only one supporting employees affected by the government’s orders. Gene Lee, the CEO of Darden (the parent company of Olive Garden and LongHorn) is not taking his salary. Rather, he’s investing it and other company resources in an emergency pay program to cover hourly employees. They’re also adjusting their business model to meet the crisis. Lee explained that “what we’re focused on right now is ramping up and using our team members to be able to keep them on our payroll and develop our own delivery capabilities.”

Private Coronavirus Relief is Better than Government
Darden, the parent company of Olive Garden, is adjusting to a delivery-based business model to keep people employed. Image: Olive Garden

And it’s not only employers who are helping with finances. Business are voluntarily helping their customers with financial difficulties. Some financial institutions, such as USAA, are choosing to waive fees, reimburse deductibles on coronavirus-related healthcare, and offer loans at reduced rates.

Utilities are choosing to help as well. In the frozen north, Alaska Waste has said that they “can accommodate payment arrangements; and will work with you individually to meet your needs.” They have also pledged to not stop garbage collection services for people who cannot pay during this crisis.

The outpouring of care from all over the world has been tremendous. We’ve covered additional voluntary relief efforts previously, but as the government-created crisis continues, people keep helping each other. Politicians will continue to bicker about how to distribute your own money back to you, as they hope you forget that it’s they who are driving the economy off a cliff. But everyone else, from huge corporations to private individuals, have stepped up to voluntarily help. Like in everything, private coronavirus relief is better than government efforts.

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