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States are taking differing approaches to reopening and closing during the pandemic, and the economy has been feeling the impact. More than half of states have instituted statewide mask mandates to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Some have imposed curfews and group size limits for bars and restaurants.

The economic worry tied to rising coronavirus cases has impacted the health of certain areas of the economy.

These five charts illustrate trends in important industries that help track reopening progress in the U.S.

Direction requests

Still hovering around 40% above Jan. 13 pre-pandemic data, requests for walking and driving directions from Apple's navigation tool, Maps, shows little change from last week. Requests for both are also still well above pre-pandemic levels, as they have been for most of the pandemic and not far from pandemic highs seen during the summer. Transit direction requests have continued to sit at about 50% lower than on Jan. 13, as they have for most of the summer.

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Restaurant bookings

U.S. restaurant bookings have steadied over recent weeks, staying near 60% less than last year, data from the booking app OpenTable shows. Multiple states have enacted mask orders. Some have enacted last calls, group size limits and curfews for bars and restaurants meant to stop large gatherings at these businesses beginning this week. There was some fluctuation in bookings day to day, but the data continues to reflect the uncertainty caused by reopening and closing measures.

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Hotel occupancy

Hotel occupancy has stayed basically the same over the last two weeks tracked, rising only 0.6%. This places occupancy at approximately 48%, according to data from the global hospitality research company STR. U.S. occupancy in July 2019 was at 73.8%. The average daily cost for a hotel room was also up $1 over the previous week. Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Virginia remained a top travel market – and the only to reach 60% capacity – but Detroit has stayed at over 50% capacity for another week after having previously experienced capacity below 30%. Orlando and Miami both barely cracked 30% capacity.

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Air travel

The number of passengers traveling through airport security checkpoints still shows daily changes between 70% and 80% year over year change, continuing the trend seen over recent weeks, according to data from the Transportation Security Administration. The number of people traveling through security checkpoints hit a pandemic-high in early July at around 60% below last year, but has dipped into the 70% range since then. Recent spikes in infection rates and travel restrictions in states have prompted airlines to slim their flight offerings, and industry leaders say a full recovery likely won't come without a coronavirus vaccine available.

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Home purchases

Mortgage applications to purchase a home decreased 1% compared with the previous week, but applications are still up approximately 20% over a year ago, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The changes in interest in home purchases reflects the concerns seen over the duration of the pandemic, as economic uncertainty, the changing employment status of potential buyers and shutdowns have gripped the industry. MBA leadership said the changing trends could be connected to the economic worry tied to rising coronavirus cases.

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News Source: CNBC

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Billionaire Robert F. Smith says corporations need to consider reparations

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Chair of the Board Robert F. Smith speaks onstage during the 2019 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple Of Hope Awards on December 12, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights )

Robert F. Smith wants corporations to pay up. In an interview with Reuters, the billionaire says that companies should acknowledge the role they’ve played in the nation’s slave trade.

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“I think that’s going to be a political decision that’s going to have to be made and decided upon,” Smith, the owner and CEO of the private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, told Reuters. “But I think corporations have to also think about, well, what is the right thing to do?”

\Members of the Morehouse College 2002 graduating class sing their school song during commencement ceremonies May 19, 2002 in Atlanta. (Photo by Erik S. Lesser/Getty Images)

Smith insisted that corporations are key to addressing some of the historic inequalities from the transatlantic slave trade that still impact African Americans, particularly when it comes to economic parity.

Since the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor made national headlines and precipitated global protests, more corporations have aligned themselves with the Black Lives Matter movement– at least in words. But Smith says corporate America along with government entities need to foster partnerships to bring Black Americans to the economic table.

Read More: Billionaire Robert F. Smith also promises to pay off parents debt of Morehouse College graduates

“People are saying now, what can I do to make real systemic change and eliminate and eradicate racism in America?” Smith said. “That is an outgrowth of the protest and the realization that this racism is unjust and can’t stand.”

Smith added that corporations can do more to create change if they approach the situation thoughtfully given that they profit off of and are often impactful in Black communities.

“[They can] can bring their expertise and capital to repair the communities that they are directly associated with in the industries in which they cover,” Smith said.

Smith, the first African American to sign Bill and Melinda Gates‘ Giving Pledge to give away most of his money before he dies, has done his part. He promised to donate $34M to Morehouse graduates to eliminate their student debt at their graduation in 2019.

Smith says that while the average small business has two months of working capital, Black businesses have just two weeks. The coronavirus pandemic laid bare those inequities as Black businesses struggled for access to Paycheck Protection Loans (PPP) available via the CARES Act, and many already undercapitalized Black-owned businesses have been forced to close.

“How do we restore, repair and regenerate the economic activity in these communities utilizing the force of the U.S. government and business and partnerships?” Smith said to Reuters.

Because of the increased awareness of racial and economic inequities, Smith declared now may be the time.

Read More: Coronavirus pandemic has eliminated almost half of Black small businesses

“The allies weren’t as widespread,” the 57-year-old said of his own experience growing up Denver, Colorado. “Employees of companies are also going to hold the leaders accountable to do something about it. We have a chance for systemic change.”

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