Posts tagged with "covid"

Billionaires Gain, Workers Feel Pain

Half a year into a paralyzing pandemic that has cost millions of Americans their livelihoods and lives, the nation’s 643 billionaires have racked up $845 billion in collective wealth gains, a 29% leap since March 18. America’s billionaires reached this startling milestone of wealth accumulation even as special federal relief was drying up for millions of unemployed workers and for hard-pressed state and local governments struggling to provide vital services. Billionaire figures are from Forbes analyzed in a new report by Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS).

Between March 18—the rough start date of the pandemic shutdown, when most federal and state economic restrictions were in place—and Sept. 15, the total net worth of the nation’s billionaires rose from $2.95 trillion to $3.8 trillion (see table below and this spreadsheet of all billionaires). That works out to gains of $141 billion a month, $32 billion a week, or $4.7 billion a day. Forbes’ annual billionaires report was published March 18, 2020, and the real-time data was collected Sept. 15 from the Forbes website.

Needless to say, ordinary workers did not fare as well. From mid-March to mid-August, the collective work income of rank-and-file private-sector employees—all hours worked times the hourly wages of the entire bottom 82% of the workforce—declined by 4.4.%, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

In fact, this billionaires’ bonanza occurred against a general backdrop of working-class pain:

The stock market in which billionaires have much of their money invested dropped sharply in the month before the pandemic lockdown. But the six months of gains that followed were not merely a reversal of those losses: billionaires are also $680 billion, or 22%, richer today than they were in February 2019, the release date of the most recent previous Forbes annual report (see table below).

“Every candidate in this campaign season, from presidential hopeful down, who’s pledging to lead us out of the coronavirus crisis must address this stark divergence between the nation’s wealthiest elite and their struggling fellow citizens,” said Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness. “The answer starts with creating a fair share tax system that narrows obscene wealth gaps and raises the trillions of dollars needed to address the present emergency and invest in our families and communities over the long-term.”

“The billionaire economy has been turbocharged by policymakers who are now stalling on relief for the real economy,” said Chuck Collins, director of the Institute for Policy Studies’ Program on Inequality and co-author of the report “Billionaire Bonanza 2020.” “The difference is stark between profits for billionaires and the widespread economic misery in our nation. Clearly, the priorities of our elected officials in Washington, DC are completely upside down.”

DATA ON THE WEALTH OF U.S. BILLIONAIRES AT 6 MONTHS & 20 MONTHS AVAILABLE HERE

Even among billionaires, wealth is highly concentrated. Roughly $400 billion, or only a little less than half of the total gains, were captured by just the 15 wealthiest on the billionaires list. The top three gainers alone—Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk—enjoyed fully 16% of the spoils, or a collective wealth surge of $137 billion. The total wealth of these three—$403 billion today—is nearly three times the $1.5 trillion in total wealth held by the bottom half of the population, or 165 million Americans. One billionaire from Michigan, Dan Gilbert of Quicken Loans, saw his wealth increase an astonishing 672%, growing from $6.5 billion to $50.2 billion.

The $845 billion wealth gain by 643 billionaires over the past six months far exceeds the:

Low-wage workerspeople of color and women have suffered disproportionately in the combined medical and economic crises because of long-standing racial and gender disparities. Billionaires are overwhelmingly white men.

House Democrats passed a relief bill back in May that offered a lifeline to Americans not sharing in the billionaires’ good fortune during the pandemic. Among its provisions:

All of the above data is available in one table here.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) have introduced legislation for a 60% tax on the pandemic wealth gains of billionaires between March 18 and the end of the year and use the proceeds to help working Americans cover healthcare costs.

South Carolina Protects Voters During Pandemic

In a victory for voting rights, South Carolina took steps today to better protect voters in the November general election during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The action follows a federal lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of South Carolina, and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. The groups challenged a state requirement that forced people who vote absentee to have an “excuse” to do so, as well as a witness requirement for absentee ballots.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signed a measure this afternoon that would allow all voters to cast absentee ballots because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Today’s action by Gov. McMaster is an important step forward for South Carolinians who want to vote in the general election without risking their health during COVID-19,” said Ali Titus, director of policy and communications at the ACLU of South Carolina.

The measure signed today does not waive the witness-signature requirement on absentee ballots, which makes voting from a safe social distance impossible for those who live alone.

“We will continue to litigate to remove this remaining hurdle to safe voting in South Carolina,” said Adriel Cepeda Derieux, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project.

Read the statement here and find the case details here.

Turkey Hosts World’s Biggest Motorsports Events

Turkey will host two of the world’s biggest motorsports events in the upcoming two months. The 5th leg of world’s biggest rally competition, FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), will be held on September 18-20 in Marmaris and Formula 1, world’s biggest motorsports event will be held on November 13-15 in Istanbul, marking the end of a 9 year break.

The 5th race of the WRC calendar, Rally Turkey, will be organized under the auspices of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey, with the participation of 130 pilots and 65 automobiles from 19 countries. The event will host world-renowned pilots in Marmaris’ amazing terrain and seascape and will be aired on 155 TV channels worldwide.

Closely followed by motorsports enthusiasts, Formula 1 is considered to be the biggest event of the world in its field and returns to Istanbul after a 9-year break. Turkey Grand Prix is planned to be the first event with spectators in the 2020 calendar and it will be run in 58 laps at the 5.3km-long Intercity Istanbul Park circuit as the 14th leg of the competition.

First introduced to the world in 2005 with its famous 8th turn, during which the pilots reach the side of the track 4 times (apex) within the same turn, Istanbul’s racing circuit will once again host 3 of the pilots who previously won victory here. British Lewis Hamilton, who is after his 7th world title, German Sebastian Vettel, who has 4 titles, and Finnish “Ice Man” Kimi Räikkönen will return to Intercity Istanbul Park after a 9-year break.

Turkey, one of the most popular countries in the world in terms of the number of visitors, promises a safe as well as an enjoyable journey for motorsports enthusiasts who wish to experience the motorsports events live on-site, thanks to the Safe Tourism Certification Program launched during the pandemic period.

About Turkey

Situated in the Mediterranean and connecting two continents, Asia and Europe which are separated by the famous Bosphorus, Turkey is a unique destination that welcomed approximately 51.7 million tourists, last year. The country that has always been a hub for cultural interaction and home to varying climates inspires the visitors today with its history, nature and gastronomy that reflect the diversity of civilizations for centuries. Located at the crossroads of cultures, Turkey has a distinctive understanding of art & fashion which is the synthesis of tradition and modernity and its extremely dynamic shopping & entertainment life also attracts the visitors from all over the world.

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, COVID-19

How States Can Combat COVID While Fighting The Flu

United States of Care Offers Suggestions to States on How To Deal With the Seasonal Flu Amid a Pandemic

(Washington, DC) Today, United States of Care (USofCare) issued a “Preparing for COVID-19 and the Flu,” recommendations to states for dealing with the seasonal flu amid a global public health crisis caused by the novel coronavirus.

“States have a long history of successfully dealing with the flu virus, encouraging vaccines and stopping a widespread flu outbreak,” said Emily Barson, Executive Director of United States of Care. “This year is different, as the nation’s already taxed health care system faces the unprecedented double whammy of influenza and COVID-19. As an organization engaging in one-on-one conversations with people, policymakers, and various health care leaders throughout the pandemic, United States of Care offers a unique view on what people need to know and what states can do to combat COVID-19 while fighting the flu.”

United States of Care’s “Preparing for COVID-19 and the Flu” breaks down how states can prepare for dealing with the flu and COVID-19 simultaneously. It includes the following suggestions:

  1. Communicate Clearly: State leaders need to be clear in their communications about why protective measures, such as mask requirements and closures, are necessary to keep people safe from the flu and COVID-19. States can play a vital role in providing people with clarity about what to do if they are infected with either the flu or COVID-19, as they have similar symptoms
  2. Prepare for Increased Health Care Demand: States need to have contingency plans in place so that health care system resources can be efficiently allocated.
  3. Address the Needs of High-Risk People: States will need to continually rely on the latest COVID-19 metrics and data on the flu’s trajectory, especially for high-risk populations to take additional measures.
  4. Develop Plans to Increase Influenza Vaccination Rates: In a typical flu season, less than 50% of people get vaccinated, and the rate is even lower among people of color. Increasing this rate is essential to minimizing the strain on our health care system. Clear communications are also vital due to people’s ongoing concerns about receiving medical care during the pandemic. States will need to develop plans to distribute flu shots in safe-settings, including at home for vulnerable populations.

New York Botanical Garden Reopening

The Botanical Garden began phase 1 of its reopening plan, welcoming the general public to the grounds of its 250-acre site, on July 28.

NYBG is among the most comprehensive botanical gardens in the world, an urban oasis and integral part of the cultural fabric of New York City, anchored in the Bronx. In this next phase of NYBG’s reopening, visitors will once again be able to explore the Haupt Conservatory’s interconnected galleries, each featuring a different botanical habitat and specimens from around the globe. Outdoors, the verdant landscape is currently showcasing seasonal standouts such as striking cardinal flowers, mauve asters, and sweeping grasses among its one million plants.

Scenic paths and trails crisscross the Garden providing opportunities for discovery through encounters with nature. The gardens, outdoor collections, and natural features include the Native Plant Garden, with its meadow, woodland, promenade, and centerpiece water feature; Bronx River, with its waterfall, which runs through the 50-acre Thain Family Forest; layered and colorful patterns and plant groupings of the Perennial and Herb Gardens; lushly textured Chilton Azalea Garden; award-winning Rockefeller Rose Garden; inviting paths through the Ross Conifer Arboretum; Benenson Ornamental Conifers; and more.

Tram Tours, public programs, and group tours remain suspended temporarily as a safety precaution. The LuEsther T. Mertz Library, Edible Academy, Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, and Hudson Garden Grill remain closed.

The first phase of NYBG’s public reopening was prefaced by Appreciation Week, when Garden Members, Bronx Health Care Heroes from the eight public and private hospitals in the borough, and Bronx Neighbors were welcomed with first access and complimentary tickets. Communities in the Bronx are among the most severely impacted by COVID-19 in New York City. Through this initiative, the Garden acknowledges, with gratitude, the dedication, strength, and resilience of Bronx frontline health care workers and residents. Free grounds admission for those groups, originally slated to conclude September 13, has been extended through February 28, 2021.

The Garden’s gradual reopening process incorporates enhanced safety measures based on best practices and guidance from health authorities and government agencies. New measures include requiring staff and visitors over the age of two to wear face coverings; increasing sanitization of public and staff areas; daily health screenings for on-site staff; supporting hygiene and social distancing practices; requiring timed-entry tickets purchased in advance; operating at a reduced capacity; and more.

The new, limited timed-entry ticketing system staggers visitorsߣ arrivals, promotes social distancing, and mitigates the risk of crowding in high-traffic areas. Advance purchase of timed tickets is required and will be confirmed by e-mail with the option to print or download a mobile ticket. Ticket options include the Garden Pass + Conservatory for access to the outdoor gardens and collections, the newly reopened Conservatory galleries, and the Courtyards; the Garden Pass for access to outdoor gardens and collections; and the Grounds-Only Pass, available to New York City residents only with valid proof of identification. Visitors who do not purchase advance tickets will not be guaranteed admission at this time. Garden Patrons and Members must also reserve timed tickets in advance. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the website at nybg.org.

Kaelen Felix illustrates Twin Towers for 360 Magazine

Remembering 9/11

By Elle Grant

For any American, 9/11 marks an essential day of reflection and remembrance. September 11, 2020 marks the nineteenth anniversary of the historic terrorist attacks that rocked New York City, shocking the United States and the world.

19 years ago, four passenger jets were hijacked by the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda in an effort to strike at American symbols. One was flown into the Pentagon Military Headquarters in Washington D.C. Another two, most remembered of the four, were flown into the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York City as Manhattan looked on in horror. A fourth, upon hearing news of the other hijackings, realized their plane was also under attack and chose to fight back, resulting in their plane plunging into a Pennsylvania field. In sum, roughly 3,000 lives were loss, with 2,700 of them being in New York City. The toll of lives and on the psyche of Americans was hitherto unimaginable, as was the ensuing consequences including the now infamous War on Terror.

The victims of 9/11 have been commemorated in numerous ways across the country, including at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum opened on the tenth anniversary of the attacks. The memorial is located where the Twin Towers formerly stood, now marked with design features such as man-made waterfalls, a forest of white oak trees, and the inscribed names of the victims as part of the memorial. This long-awaited memorial site has since been part of the commemorations each year, with 2020 being no exception. Visitors such as Vice President Pence and Democratic nominee for president Joseph Biden were among the attendees today.

New York is especially reflective this year as the anniversary of 9/11 comes during the COVID-19 pandemic, of which the city was an early epicenter, resulting in thousands of lives lost. Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was thrust onto the national stage following the New York outbreak, said “This year it is especially important that we all appreciate and commemorate 9/11, the lives lost and the heroism displayed ‎as New Yorkers are once again called upon to face a common enemy.” In NYC, the current death count due to coronavirus is placed at 23,000. This year, at the somber moments held at the September 11 memorial in Manhattan, those paying their respects wore face masks while honoring the dead, a new feature in remembering 9/11. New York remains a fixture of American culture, with eyes turned towards them during the tragedy of 9/11, as well as the current tragedy of coronavirus.

Another way victim’s families, including those killed and affected during rescue efforts, is the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, currently authorized through 2090 and worth billions of dollars. “Our nation owes each of you a profound debt that no words or deeds will ever repay,” President Trump said during the bill signing ceremony. “But we can, and we will keep our nation’s promise to you.” Certainly, monetary efforts are no replacements for the lives loss and the impacts made, but it represents Congress’ efforts to assist those left in the wake of the tragic attacks.

Vaughn Lowery of 360 MAGAZINE drops by world trade center on 9/11 in nyc.

Vaughn Lowery of 360 MAGAZINE drops by world trade center on 9/11 in nyc.

360 MAGAZINE, ALLISON CHRISTENSEN, ILLUSTRATIONS, APPLE

This Week’s Top Stories

By Cassandra Yany

Here are the some of top stories in beauty, entertainment and tech so far this week:

Apple Announces Sep. 15 Apple Event

Apple announced Tuesday that they will be hosting an event on Wednesday September 15 at 10 am PDT.  The ‘Time Flies’ event will take place virtually from Apple Park, the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, CA. It is speculated that the iPhone 12 and Apple Watch Series 6 will be revealed at the event next week. According to AppleInsider, there is also word of a possible new iPad or Apple Silicon MacBook. 

While some expect the new iPhone to be revealed next week, others say that the announcement will come a few weeks later, due to delays caused by COVID-19. According to The Verge, There will be four iPhone 12 models released this year: two iPhone 12’s that will be sold at a lower price point, and two iPhone Pro’s. These will include a 6.7-inch iPhone Pro, making it the largest iPhone to date. CNET reports that the new model will be the first iPhone to run on 5G. The new Apple Watch will allegedly feature added monitoring blood oxygen levels, updated sleep tracking, and a faster processor.

Selena Gomez launches Rare Beauty, Broken Hearts Gallery to Hit Theaters Friday

This week has been very eventful for artist Selena Gomez. On Thursday Sep. 3, she launched her makeup line Rare Beauty, which shares the same name as her most recent album that was released early this year. The line includes 20 makeup products and accessories, available in a variety of shades and colors. Items can be purchased on the Rare Beauty website, as well as online and in stores at Sephora.

Along with the makeup line, Rare Beauty also established the Rare Impact Fund to support the mental health of the brand’s community, employees and partners. One percent of all sales and funds from partners will go toward increasing access to mental health resources. The brand shared their mission via Instagram “to shape conversations around beauty, self-acceptance, and mental health.”

Broken Hearts Gallery, a film executive produced by Gomez, will be released in theaters on Friday Sep. 10. The movie features actors Dacre Montgomery of “Stranger Things” and Geraldine Viswanathan of “Blockers” (2018) and “Hala” (2019) as the two leads. Gomez took to Instagram on Monday to share a special trailer of the film and encourage those who see it in movie theaters to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines.

These projects come just weeks after the release of Gomez’s collaboration with Blackpink, the virtual premiere of This Is The Year— a film she produced alongside former Disney Channel co-star David Henrie, who directed the film— and the release of her HBO Max show “Selena + Chef.”

McDonald’s x Cactus Jack Collab

McDonald’s launched its collaboration with Travis Scott on Tuesday. The fast food chain has added the “Cactus Jack” meal to their menu for $6. The meal does not come with a Happy Meal toy, but does include a Quarter Pounder with cheese, bacon and lettuce, medium fries with BBQ dipping sauce and a medium Sprite with extra ice— Scott’s go-to order. McDonald’s employees will be sporting new uniforms for the partnership, and the restaurant and rapper have also released merchandise to mark the event. The items are sold on Scott’s website and include t-shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, sweatpants and other accessories and household items containing his name and the restaurant logo.

Travis Scott visited a McDonald’s location in Downey City, CA to celebrate the launch, causing chaos amongst the large crowd, as seen in videos fans posted on Twitter. Scott went live on Instagram to share the experience with his followers. On Wednesday, Scott served customers the meal from the drive-thru window at a McDonald’s in Texas, as seen in a video posted by the TikTok account RAP. As part of the month-long collab, the artist and fast food chain will be exploring ways to support different charities and organizations. The partnership will run until Oct. 4. This is Mcdonald’s first collaboration with a big celebrity since they featured a Michael Jordan-themed meal on their menu in 1992.

COVID Mask Care illustration by Mina Tocalini

Study Shows State-By-State Reopenings Exacerbate COVID

As Summer vacations end in Europe and in the United States and students return to college campuses and primary schools worldwide, fresh waves of COVID infections are causing renewed restrictions after loosening in the Spring and Summer. However, a new study shows that this uncoordinated opening, closing, and reopening of states and counties, is making the COVID problem worse in the U.S., according to the authors of a new study released today. Using methods from their previous work, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, MIT PhD student Michael Zhao and Sinan Aral, Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and author of the upcoming book The Hype Machine, have released the first comprehensive study of the impact of state-by-state re-openings on the COVID pandemic, spanning January to July, 2020 with surprising and troubling results.

After studying combined data on the mobility of over 22 million mobile devices, daily data on state-level closure and reopening policies and social media connections among 220 million Facebook users, the team found that reimposing local social distancing or shelter-in-place orders after reopening may be far less effective than policy makers would hope.

In fact, such closures may actually be counterproductive as they encourage those in locked down regions to flee to reopened regions, potentially causing new hotspots to emerge. This analysis demonstrates that travel spillovers are not only systematic and predictable, but also large and meaningful.

Arizona was one of the first states to open businesses, but in late June, bars, gyms, movie theaters, and water parks were shut down for 30 days as the state became one of the virus’s new hot spots. One month after dine-in restaurants, bars, and gyms were allowed to reopen in California, Governor Gavin Newsom made the country’s most aggressive reopening reversal amid his state’s spike in COVID-19 cases, shuttering all indoor dining, bars, zoos, and museums in the state. Similar reversals have occurred in Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, West Virginia among other states.

“We’ve seen a patchwork of flip-flopping state policies across the country,” says Sinan Aral, the senior author of the study. “The problem is that, when they are uncoordinated, state re-openings and even closures create massive travel spillovers that are spreading the virus across state borders. If we continue to pursue ad hoc policies across state and regional borders, we’re going to have a difficult time controlling this virus, reopening our economy or even sending our kids back to school.”

The new study showed that while closures directly reduced mobility by 5-6%, re-openings returned mobility to pre-pandemic levels. Once all of a state’s peer states (in travel or social media influence) locked down, focal county mobility in that state dropped by an additional 15-20% but increased by 19-32% once peer states reopened. “State policies have effects far beyond their borders,” says Aral. “We desperately need coordination if we are to control this virus.”

When an origin county was subject to a statewide shelter-in-place order, travel to counties yet to impose lockdowns increased by 52-65%. If the origin had reopened, but the destination was still closed, travel to destination counties was suppressed by 9-17% for nearby counties and 21-27% for distant counties. But when a destination reopened while an origin was still closed, people from the closed origins flooded into the destination by 11-12% from nearby counties and 24% from distant counties. “People flee closures and flood into newly reopened states,” says Aral, “we can’t avoid the travel spillovers caused by our ad hoc policies.”

These findings highlight the urgent need to coordinate COVID-19 reopenings across regions and the risks created by ad hoc local shutdowns and reopenings. In addition, the results highlight the importance of taking spillover effects seriously when formulating national policy and for national and local policies to coordinate across regions where spillovers are strong.

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, Independence Day Drink

2020 Labor Day Celebrations

By Cassandra Yany

In the face of COVID-19, Labor Day weekend looked very different his year. Absent were the large family cookouts and pool parties, or the big end-of-summer beach crowds. Many cities even had to omit public fireworks to prevent mass gatherings. Though the long weekend did not bring the celebrations we’re used to, there were still plenty of safe ways to enjoy the holiday.

Virtual events allow you to take part in more activities in different locations than you would have been able to physically. Made in America, a festival started by Jay-Z in 2012, was set to take place in Philadelphia this past weekend. On July 1, festival organizers announced that it would be rescheduled to Labor Day weekend 2021. They said in a statement “Collectively, we are fighting parallel pandemics, COVID-19, systemic racism and police brutality. Now is the time to protect the health of our artists, fans, partners and community as well as focus on our support for organizations and individuals fighting for social justice and equality in our country.”

This year’s lineup went unannounced, but last year’s festival was headlined by Travis Scott and Cardi B. Since the physical festival was canceled, a livestream showcasing the best performances took place on the music streaming service TIDAL throughout the weekend. The virtual festival included sets from Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Lizzo, Coldplay, Rihanna and many other chart-topping artists.

Nationally, a Labor Day virtual race was held by The Best Races for runners to run anywhere on their own time and submit their results. Participants who registered for the full package received a personal coach who was available Monday through Friday to provide help and answer questions during training, and provided encouragement and support on the day of the race.

Runners across the country were able to choose the distance of the race they wanted to participate in. Depending on what package they signed up for, they received a certificate of completion and digital medal, a 3-inch medal sent to their homes, a printable custom bib, a custom digital photo card that contains the race results, a digital running journal, a t-shirt, optional course maps and an optional pen pal program. 

Based in Portland, the Oregon Labor Movement held a statewide virtual Labor Day celebration and call to action on Monday. The organizers brought light to issues taking place in the state saying, “Working Oregonians are facing three crises at once: a deadly global pandemic, an economic free fall, and long-standing institutional racism.”

The event began at noon and featured talks from Oregon’s labor leaders, elected officials, and working Oregon citizens regarding their desire for change and their pursuit toward justice for workers. This event came after Portland’s rise to national prominence for their Black Lives Matter demonstrations and federal agents entering the city in recent months.

A number of virtual events were held in Los Angeles this past weekend, as well. HomeState, the LA-based Texas Kitchen, held its first Margarita Showdown in 2019, but had to move it online this year due to the pandemic and social distancing measures. The virtual event took place Saturday via livestream. Margarita makers in the area competed to see whose drink was the best.

Voters received eight bottled margaritas, along with limes and garnishing salt to try the different submissions from the safety of their homes. The winner chosen was El Compadre, a local Mexcian restaurant. The event was hosted by comedian Cristela Alonzo, and featured musical performances by Chicano Batman, Spoon, Questlove, Fred Armisen, Local Natives and Angela Muñoz. All proceeds from the event benefit the organization No Us Without You! and the Watts Empowerment Center.

The Gourmandise School of Sweets & Savories in Santa Monica hosted a virtual Labor Day Pies class on Sunday. In the class, participants were taught how to make a s’mores pie and key lime pie. Registration for the class included access to the Zoom video meeting, as well as the recipe and shopping list. Recipes can also be found on Gourmandise’s Instagram.

Some cities were able to hold in-person events following social distancing guidelines. Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, located in the Seaport District, upheld its tradition of free admission on Labor Day. The museum is typically closed on Mondays, but was open from 10 am to 5 pm for guests who reserved tickets. 

Monday was the last day for guests to see the exhibits Tschabalala Self: Out of Body and Carolina Caycedo: Cosmotarrayas. Also on display were the Sterling Ruby, Nina Chanel Abney and Beyond Infinity: Contemporary Art after Kusama exhibits. The ICA has increased cleaning and follows Massachusetts COVID guidelines by requiring all staff and visitors to wear face coverings, and allowing a restricted number of guests each hour. Spaces that don’t allow physical distancing are temporarily closed, and exhibition labels and printed materials have been made available online to reduce touch surfaces.


In New York City, a Labor Day Paint in the Park event was held in Central Park. The two-hour socially distant class was led by a master artist who gave step-by-step painting instructions. Participants were required to wear masks and sit six feet apart. Admission included a pre-sketched canvas and painting supplies, and parties were encouraged to bring food and drinks to snack on during the class.

For those who wanted to enjoy the holiday by relaxing at home with their favorite movie or TV show, a number of stores had sales to mark the end of summer. There were countless deals that shoppers could take advantage of to celebrate their work.
Many workers have faced great adversity within the past eight months, some losing their positions and having to move quickly to find a new one, and others doing their job in a way they never thought they would have to. Whether you stayed in or got out of the house for some socially-distant fun, Monday was definitely a day worth celebrating.

Pillow Pops by Shani Moran

By Cassandra Yany

The COVID-19 pandemic has kept many of us confined to our houses or apartments, causing home improvements and redecorating to become a popular quarantine activity. Whether you’re reimagining a bedroom, living room or lounge space, throw pillows are a household essential.

The Pillow Pops by Shani Moran make a space cozy while introducing a sophisticated look. The curated collections from the Beverly Hills-based company make it easy for anyone to effortlessly redecorate their space. There are five pillows in each set that follow the same color scheme. Pillows are available in a variety of fabrics and shades to cater to everyone’s personal space and style. Each collection contains multiple textures and patterns. The pillows can be bought together or individually, as well as with or without trim based on your preference.

These pillow collections can enhance a room and serve as statement pieces, or can be understated to provide an extra bit of color and comfort. A hidden zip enclosure allows the pillow covers to be swapped for specific occasions or seasons, creating an affordable and versatile design. The pillows arrive in a luxurious box for a lavish experience while staying safe and shopping from home. The online store even has an interactive feature where you can customize the color of the sofa on which the pillows are displayed to see how they will appear in your home. 

According to the Pillow Pops website, the brand is committed to using ecological and hypoallergenic textiles. They are dedicated to fighting against child labor and human exploitation, and donate ten percent of their profits to dismpowered communities across the globe.