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Business News

ABC News(HONG KONG) -- BY: MEREDITH DELISO

Facebook has suspended government requests to access user data in Hong Kong following the enactment of a contentious new national security law, the social network announced Monday.

"We are pausing the review of government requests for user data from Hong Kong pending further assessment of the National Security Law, including formal human rights due diligence and consultations with international human rights experts,” a Facebook company spokesperson said in a statement.

The company is currently reviewing the law to understand the implications for Facebook and its users, a spokesperson said.

"We believe freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and support the right of people to express themselves without fear for their safety or other repercussions," a Facebook company spokesperson said in a statement.

The Associated Press is reporting that the Facebook-owned messaging apps WhatsApp and Telegram have also issued separate statements Monday making the same announcement. ABC News has reached out to both companies for comment.

Last week, Beijing rolled out the new national security law, which is aimed at curtailing unrest and protests in Hong Kong by punishing acts of secession, subversion and terrorism. There is a maximum penalty of life in prison for breaking the law.

Critics say the law will "authoritarian-ize" Hong Kong and end its "One Country Two Systems" framework, established in 1997 when the city was handed back to China from Britain. Social platforms such as Facebook are blocked in mainland China but not in Hong Kong.

Since the wide-ranging law was passed on June 30, at least 10 people have been arrested for allegedly violating it. That includes a Hong Kong resident who was arrested on July 1 after allegedly driving a motorcycle into police during protests while carrying a banner with a political slogan that is now outlawed.

Several prominent activists have also fled Hong Kong since the law went into effect.

On Monday, Hong Kong's government released details on police enforcement of the new law. According to the AP, platforms and publishers may be ordered to take down any message that is "likely to constitute an offense endangering national security or is likely to cause the occurrence of an offense endangering national security."



ABC News' Fergal Gallagher contributed to this report.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- BY: KELLY MCCARTHY

As demand for contactless delivery, take-out dining and other food delivery service options continues to soar amid the coronavirus pandemic, Uber has announced its $2.65 billion plan to acquire Postmates.

After a failed attempt to acquire Grubhub last month, the popular ride-hailing service will deliver on a deal with another top food delivery service app.

"Uber Technologies, Inc. and Postmates Inc. today announced that they have reached a definitive agreement under which Uber will acquire Postmates for approximately $2.65 billion in an all-stock transaction," the company said in a press release Monday.

This all-stock deal will give consumers more restaurant and merchant choices from Postmates and Uber Eats, and it helps both companies streamline delivery with its joint network of courier technology.

Uber hailed Postmates as a "highly complementary" service for its brand and model that will now combine Uber's ride and eats platform with Postmates' delivery business.

“Uber and Postmates have long shared a belief that platforms like ours can power much more than just food delivery -- they can be a hugely important part of local commerce and communities, all the more important during crises like COVID-19," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement.

Uber's geographic-based platform that hones in on customer demographics will be bolstered by Postmates' "strong relationships with small- and medium-sized restaurants, particularly local favorites that draw customers to the Postmates brand," the statement added.

"Additionally, Postmates has been an early pioneer of 'delivery-as-a-service,' which complements Uber’s growing efforts in the delivery of groceries, essentials, and other goods," the statement continued.

Postmates co-founder and CEO Bastian Lehmann added that over the last eight years, their company has worked to enable "anyone to have anything delivered to them on-demand."

Uber estimated that it will issue "approximately 84 million shares of common stock for 100% of the fully diluted equity of Postmates."

Both companies' boards of directors approved the transaction and Postmates' majority stockholders supported the transaction. Pending the approval of Postmates stockholders and closing conditions, the deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.

Uber has had a rough ride during the pandemic. In May, the company faced backlash over the decision to cut more than 6,000 jobs due to an 80% decrease in demand for its core service reported in an April earning report.

While the ride-sharing service has seen a decline in transportation demand during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Eats platform, which launched in 2014, has grown 54% year-over-year according to the same Q1 report, as more restaurants have switch to to-go and delivery service.

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Tero Vesalainen/iStockBy DEVIN DWYER, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down rules allowing government debt collectors to use cellphone robocalls while banning all other groups using the same technique.

Six justices said the government carve out in a 1991 law broadly prohibiting robocalls to cell phones and home phones violates free speech protections of the First Amendment.

"Although collecting government debt is no doubt a worthy goal," writes Justice Brett Kavanaugh in the majority opinion, "the government concedes that it has not sufficiently justified the differentiation between government-debt collection speech and other important categories of robocall speech, such as political speech, charitable fundraising, issue advocacy, commercial advertising and the like."

Seven justices concluded that the provision should be invalidated but that the remainder of the robocall law still stands.

"The continuing robocall restriction proscribes tens of millions of would-be robocalls that would otherwise occur every day," Kavanaugh writes. "Congress's continuing broad prohibition of robocalls amply demonstrates Congress's continuing interest in consumer privacy."

The Trump administration had sought to uphold the so-called government debt exemption to the federal robocall ban in the interest of recouping more overdue funds.

A group of Democratic political pollsters who brought the case argued that the exception discriminated against their desire to conduct robocall polling.

The court's decision means the government or an authorized third party can no longer robocall Americans to collect on past taxes or other IRS debts but can continue to use real person calling and direct mail.

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belterz/iStockBy JACQUELINE LAUREAN YATES, ABC News

(LOS ANGELES) -- After 30 years, Lucky Brand has filed for bankruptcy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, it was announced that the Los Angeles-based company, formally known as Lucky Brand Dungarees, LLC, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to millions of dollars in outstanding debts owed to lenders.

The denim brand is also looking to sell the business to SPARC Group, which is the operator of Aéropostale and Nautica brands.

With Lucky Brand's latest news, the label will also be shuttering 13 of its 200 stores nationwide.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted sales across all channels," interim CEO Matthew A. Kaness said in a statement. "While we are optimistic about the reopening of stores and our customers' return, the business has yet to recover fully."

He continued, "After considering all options, the Board has determined that a Chapter 11 filing is the best course of action to optimize the operations and secure the brand's long-term success. We remain committed to our Associates, vendors, and business partners and appreciate the continued support through this process."

Lucky Brand joins Victoria's Secret, J.C. Penny, The Children's Place, and several other labels that have announced store closures or bankruptcies this year.

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Morsa Images/iStockBy NICOLE PELLETIERE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A mother who has struggled to multitask during the novel coronavirus pandemic is opening up about holding down a career while parenting amid these unprecedented times.

In a New York Times piece
titled, "In the Covid-19 Economy, You Can Have a Kid or a Job. You Can’t Have Both," Deb Perelman writes how working parents are facing a new dilemma as the economy reopens.

"We can't keep up with this," Perelman, a New York writer and food blogger of smittenkitchen.com, told Good Morning America. "Everybody is overwhelmed, and everybody has their hands tied."

Because of COVID-19, schools across the U.S. are deciding on what classrooms will look like. Some are considering rotating schedules where students will learn part-time in class, and spend the other half of their time learning remotely from home.

In the op-ed, Perelman, a mother and author, writes how her school district is considering sending kids back only part time by physically attending one-out-of-three weeks.

She said this new schedule will not benefit parents who are looking for a normal routine.

If you’re about to respond “but you shouldn’t have kids if you can’t take care of them,” or “but it may not even be safe to send kids back to school,” you’re off the debate team, because this isn't what I'm talking about here. Also not questioning whether schools need to be safe.

— deb perelman (@debperelman) June 24, 2020

"There are people who have be able to hit the pause button on a project under the idea that September would return some level of normalcy in child care and not having your kids there all day," Perelman told GMA.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released guidelines for reopening schools, saying they want kids physically in class for its social and educational benefits.

"We really need to be working hard as a country to really drive down the number of coronavirus infections and that's going to make the reopening of schools in the fall much, much easier," said Dr. Sean O'Leary, an AAP infectious disease specialist.

Dr. Gilboa Deborah, a family physician and resilience expert, said we cannot protect kids from all risk.

I released the primal scream that we -- and countless other parents for whom this situation isn't just untenable, it's impossible -- have been feeling since March. https://t.co/3MqKC5hSOe

— deb perelman (@debperelman) July 2, 2020

"What we're going to have to decide, week by week or month by month, is it riskier to send kids to school and have everyone's health be in jeopardy? Or, is it riskier to keep kids home and have everyone's finances and ability to pay bills be in jeopardy?" Deborah told GMA.

As for Perelman, she believes new school schedules has parents fearing they may have to leave the workforce.

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artisteer/iStockBy DARA ELASFAR, ABC News

(NEW YORK) --  While the coronavirus pandemic has been financially devastating for the almost 45 million unemployed Americans across the country, there's been a silver lining for others. With the world on lockdown, some say they have actually been able to cut back on expenses and save money.

Take students and young professionals who have found themselves moving back in with parents, cutting expensive costs like rent.

“There’s been this forced lifestyle change that has made them not spend the way they used to,” said financial coach Lacey Langford, who dubbed herself "The Military Money Expert" for getting finances into shape. “A lot of people are actually saving money during all this because they are not going out as much. They’re not using a gym membership or they’ve cancelled it.”

Langford is a certified financial coach and veteran who helps clients, especially military families, get their finances in order and develop control and confidence when it comes to money. She said this is a crucial moment to take charge of your finances.

“There is a group, a large portion of people, that have really built up their savings and can really change their life moving forward,” she said.

Langford shared her tips on how to make money-saving habits forced under the pandemic stick long term:

1. Consider it a permanent lifestyle change


If you're someone who saw your weekly and monthly expenses shrink during lockdown, without dinners out at restaurants, shopping and traveling, don't look at it as a temporary situation, Langford said. Consider it a permanent lifestyle change.

“This could just be who you are now and how you walk through life with money," she said. “If you have adjusted your life in a way that saves you money and you're happy with the way things are going, consider it a lifestyle change.”

Analyze your spending habits under quarantine and determine which expenses are most important to you and which you can live without.

An example is reevaluating the need for a gym membership again after months of working out at home or outdoors. You may find that you don’t value it the same way that you did before and that is not how you want to spend your money.

“Assess what you have saved money on by not doing and decide if you want to kick up that expense again and make that conscious decision,” said Langford.

Langford recommends printing out your bank statements before the pandemic. Highlight in different colors your important expenses like mortgage, gas and rent. More importantly, highlight how much you have spent on going out or things you want. Take a look and compare the costs and see what stands out to you. By looking at how much you saved, you can try to reevaluate whether this expense is something you want to move forward with or not.

“You need to look at needs versus wants,” Langford said. “So you need to adjust your budget to say, 'These gas expenses are going to go back up as necessary. But I’m still going to be saving money because I really don’t want to keep my gym membership anymore.'”

If you decide to restart certain activities like the gym, that's OK, but make it a conscious decision. (Plus, it's also important to take into consideration whether you feel safe doing things like getting back to the gym before you drop that expense.)

2. Make a plan for the savings

Having a purpose for the money that you have saved is a crucial way in building good financial habits. If there is no purpose behind the money you have accrued while at home, Langford said you will probably spend it more easily.

“But when something has a purpose and you have a goal, then you’re going to think twice before you want to spend that money,” she said.

Look at things you have not saved up before, like an emergency fund or a big loan payment. Money that is saved should have a meaning and a purpose leading you to make more conscious decisions, she said. Looking back at how much money was saved during the pandemic can be a motivating factor.

“You have to remember that building up your savings and being good with your money and changing your financial life is a huge reward in itself,” she said.

To keep your goal on track, she recommends writing it down on paper or using an online tool to motivate you further as you save. It could be as easy as writing your goal on a paper and putting it on the fridge. Another is setting a reminder that pops up on your phone. Langford said using a notification system can keep things feeling urgent and keep your spending goals top of mind.

3. Avoid the 'I deserve it' habit

After months of isolation and separation from loved ones, don't fall into the "I deserve it" habit, Langford warns. Right now, people have gone without things that they normally do and think they should be rewarded for this good behavior, she explained.

“It’s a slippery slope to quickly get rid of all the hard work that you’ve put in saving that money,” she said. “It is crucial to get out of this mindset and have your head in the game.”

As some states begin to reopen, people are willing to spend more to relieve the stress and anxieties from being at home and under isolation.

“The reward is spending money on wants. You should spend money and live your life. After all, you're working for the money, so you should decide how you spend it but don't have a blank check for your 'after the pandemic party,'” she said.

She went on, “Spending money is your right, you’ve worked hard for it, you’ve made sacrifices for it and you should spend it. But just be mindful of how you want to spend your money in a way that’s valuable to you.”

To avoid the post-pandemic spending creep, Langford suggests creating a budget for splurge items like new clothes, eating out and other activities.

Overall, Langford’s most important rule is to not make things more complicated than they need to be.

“Through all of this, it is really important to keep things very simple, try not to be hard on yourself," she said. "Everybody’s doing the best that they can.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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DKart/iStockBy CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Twitter teased it will allow one of its most sought-after updates -- letting people edit Tweets -- on the condition that "everyone wears a mask."

The company's announcement from its verified page has already garnered more than 2 million likes on the platform.

Twitter declined ABC News' request for further comment, directing only to their message on Twitter that read, "everyone means EVERYONE."

Nick Pacilio, a communications manager at Twitter, however, re-shared the original message saying, "this is not a joke."

since multiple reporters are asking, this is not a joke https://t.co/rtmoP3O9Eo

— Nick Pacilio (@NickPacilio) July 2, 2020

The platform has faced calls to add an edit feature for years.

As far back as 2015, Kim Kardashian West said she emailed the platform asking for an edit feature, writing it was just in case you misspell something so you don't have to delete it and re-post.

I just emailed Twitter to see if they can add an edit feature so that when u misspell something u don't have to delete & repost Let's see...

— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) July 25, 2015

At the time, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey responded enthusiastically, calling it a "great idea."

No update has since been installed, but even President Donald Trump has dealt with some high-profile typos (among other controversies) on Twitter that an edit button could have helped ameliorate.

In a January 2020 interview with tech outlet Wired, however, Dorsey said, "the answer is no," when responding to a user asking if an edit feature is coming in 2020.

“The reason there is no edit button and there hasn’t been an edit button traditionally is we started as an SMS text message service, so as you know all know when you send a text, you can’t really take it back, we wanted to preserve that vibe and that feeling in the early days,” he said.

While Dorsey acknowledged some benefits to an edit button, he added, "we'll probably never do it."

Meanwhile, getting the public to wear face masks in the U.S. amid the COVID-19 pandemic has proved a near-impossible task. Even Trump has yet to publicly don one.

The issue of face coverings has become a major flash point as the pandemic rages on despite urgings from health officials that it will help stop the spread of the virus and new research that it could help boost economic recovery.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Unclaimed BaggageBy GENEVIEVE SHAW BROWN, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- It's the store famous the world over for selling lost luggage items. And now, after 50 years, Unclaimed Baggage has gone online.

The trip to the 50,000-square-foot Scottsboro, Alabama, store is no longer necessary. In June, the e-commerce site was launched, selling everything from designer sunglasses and headphones to iPads and heirloom watches. The company promises to maintain its "well-below" retail pricing. The items sold are an assortment of lost treasures that airlines and other travel businesses have been unable to reunite with their former owners.

In addition to the expected assortment of items -- apparel, shoes, fine jewelry, musical instruments, sporting goods, electronics and entertainment -- shoppers will also find several specialty categories. "Luxe Finds" features a diamond tennis bracelet. "Unusual Finds" houses gems ranging from a 2016 Chicago Cubs World Series ballcap to anti-radiation boxer briefs. And in the "Weird and Wonderful" section, there's everything from a pole spear for spearfishing to Bavarian Lederhosen leather shorts and a trumpet.

Unclaimed Baggage is the country’s only merchant of unclaimed and lost airline baggage and its contents. Items purchased include a suit of armor, a 40-carat emerald, a Chinese dragon kite and a puppet created at Henson’s Creative Workshop.

ABC News has covered the Unclaimed Baggage store in the past. The items come to the center when an airline fails to reunite lost luggage with its owner after 90 days. Airlines sell the items to the center and they're cleaned and sanitized.

It did happen at least once that a person who had lost luggage came to find it at the center. A man came in to buy a pair of ski boots for his wife. When he gave them to her, she thought they looked really familiar. And right there written on the boots was her maiden name as she had written it.

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Massage EnvyBy JACQUELINE LAUREAN YATES, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- With America still on the road to recovery amid the coronavirus pandemic, nonessential businesses, including spas, are beginning to reopen. But many are wondering, "Is it safe?"

When most people think of a visit to a spa, feelings of relaxation immediately come to mind. However, the fears induced by the reality of COVID-19 have forced many spas to pivot or upgrade their offerings under new guidelines.

Will deep tissue massages, skin-enhancing facials and body treatments still be a thing? The short answer is yes, but staff and clients alike are approaching these beloved services with heightened awareness.

"One thing consumers do know is that they will likely be encountering a very different world when salons and spas start once again to take appointments," Jeff Alford, the president of The CBON Group, Canada's largest supplier of professional infection control products, said in a statement.

He continued, "The new norm in the age of coronavirus is going to be accompanied by social awareness where consumers assume greater responsibility for their own physical safety and personal welfare."

Most states have given personal care businesses, such as hair and nail salons, the green light to reopen under recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health officials.

Gov. Phil Murphy advised that day spas in New Jersey could open on June 22 under restrictions provided by the state Division of Consumer Affairs.

Some of these restrictions include reopening the premises to facilitate social distancing, establishing protocols for scheduling of client appointments and prescreening and temperature checks for staff and customers.

Is it safe to go to a spa?

"Even before you book an appointment, you should be aware of what measures your salon or spa are taking to keep you safe while in their care," advised Alford.

He suggested that it's best to check company websites, social media channels or email notifications for announcements surrounding changes in policy that might include required face masks, restrictions in services, reduced or extended hours and more.

Alford also suggested looking for any signage or posted letters that are visible to customers at your spa before entering.

"This will let you know that policies are being universally applied to everyone," he said. "Remember, the risk of infection does not just come from within the facility, but also from other patrons."

Once you arrive, it's best to check in if reception is providing hand-sanitizing options as well as PPE, such as masks or gloves.

"If these measures are not in place, you may need to ask yourself why and what other precautionary steps are not being taken to keep you safe?" said Alford.

How are salons ensuring safety?

"We are following the guidelines set out by the county and implementing extra precautionary measures and sanitation protocols," Amanda Raich, spa director at La Prairie Spa at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, told ABC News' Good Morning America. "We have rewritten all of our training manuals to include our adjusted measures and have scheduled training days for the team before we reopen so they can feel confident and comfortable with the new safety practices."

La Prairie Spa has also announced that guests and team members must wear masks, and have installed plexiglass dividers at reception and adjusted locker spacing for social distancing. Access to steam rooms has been prohibited for the time being.

Self-serving stations at the facility have also been eliminated. Each guest will be given their own amenity kit full of La Prairie products and individual spa snacks to enjoy.

For those looking to get a massage anytime soon, many of these services will still be available in most places.

"Since the closure, we've implemented updated brand standards that every franchisee is required to follow based on our work with third-party experts on industrial hygiene and occupational health," Massage Envy CEO Beth Stiller told GMA. "They also helped us develop a specific plan for the franchisees to follow when reopening their independently owned and operated franchised locations based on CDC guidance and taking into consideration CDC's geographic risk assessment for the coronavirus."

Other plans for the popular massage franchise include requiring each location to meet enhanced mandatory cleaning and disinfection protocols for treatment rooms and equipment used in services, as well as ensuring proper hand hygiene and linen-changing protocols are followed while also complying with requirements related to personal protective equipment.

Charlotte-based Urban Med Spa has bounced back with an immediate return of approximately 80 to 90% of pre-COVID revenue. Founder and licensed esthetician of Urban Skin Rx and Urban Med Spa Rachell Roff also told GMA many guests have applauded how the spa has adapted.

"In addition to strict social distancing guidelines and meticulous cleaning/disinfectant practices, we now require and provide face masks upon entering the building, have moved to virtual check-in via cellphone so that guests can wait from the comfort of their cars, take temperature checks upon arrival and strictly enforce a stay home policy for any employees and/or clients who've not felt well recently," she said.

Urban Med Spa has also shut down waiting rooms to limit the number of clients in the building at one time.

Heather Hickman, senior director of education at Dermalogica, told GMA that the company's skincare-dedicated spaces created a Clean Touch 12 principals of enhanced service safety, which feature touch centric treatments in the most sanitary environment possible.

Through the Clean Touch initiative, Dermalogica staff has access to courses outlining sanitary protocols they will receive a certificate for upon completion.

"Our focus is to deliver much-needed touch, connectivity and innovative skin services in an environment that still feels warm and welcoming but with very visible elevated hygiene standards," said Hickman.

She added, "As an industry and as a brand, we have always cared about both skin health and client health. Every precaution is being taken to ensure your skin is taken care of in the safest way possible. It may look a little bit different, but the results in your skin health will be the same."

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DNY59 / iStockBy Nicole Pelletiere via GMA

(SAN DIEGO) -- A California mother who was working from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic said she was let go from her job over her kids being noisy while she was on work calls.

Drisana Rios, an insurance account executive, is now suing her former employer for gender discrimination and wrongful termination.

"He said, 'The kids could be heard on business calls with clients. It's unprofessional,'" Rios of San Diego, told "Good Morning America."

In the complaint, Rios, mom to a 4-year-old and an infant, alleges coronavirus closures left her with no child care options. She said she was juggling children's lunches, nursing and nap schedules while trying to work at the same time.

Rios also claims in the lawsuit even though she told her boss her schedule allowed for afternoon calls, her boss continued scheduling calls during the lunch hour, yet would complain about hearing noise from her kids.

"I'm meeting the deadlines, I'm working so hard," Rios said to "GMA." "There's times when I'm working at night too, to make up for anything that needs to be done for the next day."

ABC News reached out to Rios' employer, HUB International, regarding the lawsuit.

A spokesman said, "While we can't comment on pending litigation, HUB is proud to have successfully transitioned 90% of its 12,000-plus employees to working remotely from home throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

LinkedIn expert Catherine Fisher said parents may need to renegotiate expectations while working from home without child care.

"You really want to make sure you're setting yourself up for success by creating those boundaries," Fisher told "GMA." Think through what you need to do to be successful working from home and what your employer needs from you, but also what your family needs. You'd be surprised at how many people on the other end of that computer screen are dealing with the exact same thing."

Becky Worley, ABC News' technology and consumer contributor, said working parents often feel as if they're failing at everything -- especially during the pandemic.

Worley offered a suggestion to mothers and fathers thinking about taking leave.

"The Families First Coronavirus Response Act offers some relief for qualifying employees," she explained.

The act states that a caregiver may take leave "... to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19."

Under the act, qualifying parents could receive full or partial pay for up to 12 weeks.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Official White House Photo by Andrea HanksBy BEN GITTLESON, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump came to the White House briefing room Thursday morning to tout new employment numbers showing that 4.8 million jobs were added in June, calling it "spectacular news."

"Today's announcement proves that our economy is roaring back" from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Trump said.

Economic experts have said the numbers could be deceiving, showing only a temporary comeback.

Indirectly acknowledging the nationwide record surge in new cases, he said in "some places where we're putting out the flames, the fires."

The president said his administration was working with governors to deal with the worsening crisis. "Getting rid of the flame, Trump said. "It's happening."

"The crisis is being handled," he said.

 

President Trump: “State officials will decide how rapidly to open their economics — that’s largely up to them. If we see something that’s egregious, we’ve gotten involved with a couple of them ... we’d like to see churches open quickly.” https://t.co/uCt5r1j6RO pic.twitter.com/BK3CcdMHnS

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) July 2, 2020

 

Trump predicted a strong third quarter as well.

"The good thing is the numbers will be coming out just prior to the election, so people will be able to see those," he added.

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buradaki/iStockBy JACQUELINE LAUREAN YATES, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Fun fact: Space has a specific smell and now there's a perfume that will allow your senses to get a whiff of it.

Eau de Space is the new fragrance
that has garnered a lot of attention after being posted on Kickstarter as a crowdfunding campaign.

The scent was originally created by chemist Steve Pearce who was contracted by NASA in 2008 to develop a scent that mimicked the smell of outer space.

This scent was initially made to help train astronauts and eliminate any surprises they may experience while launching into orbit.

Several astronauts have described the smell as being similar to seared steak, raspberries and metal.

In a video posted on Eau de Space's Kickstarter page, former NASA astronaut and space shuttle pilot Tony Antonelli reflected on the smell from his experience, saying, "The smell was strong and unique -- nothing like anything you had ever smelled on Earth before."

He added, "Some kind of metallic mixture of other things that I just didn't know how to describe."

According to the Kickstarter website, the smell of space has been locked behind "need to know" astronaut-only field training and red tape for years.

"Through sheer determination, grit, a lot of luck, and a couple of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, we got it out," according to the site.

Mirroring the date humans first landed on the moon, the campaign pledged an initial goal of $1,969 but has already received over $195,858 along with more than 4,746 backers.

The Eau de Space campaign has partnered with award-winning perfumers as well as a team of top fashion, tech, design and logistics professionals who all have a desire to increase STEM through experiential education.

There also is a plan in place to implement a reusability and recyclability process of unused products that will later be donated to K-12 educational programs around the world.

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courtneyk/iStockBy CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- The unemployment rate in the U.S. fell slightly to 11.1% in June, according to data released Thursday by the Department of Labor. Meanwhile, another 1.4 million workers filed for unemployment insurance in the last week.

Both reports highlight the ongoing anguish of the labor market some three months into the novel coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.

While the June jobs report shows some gains -- employment rose by 4.8 million last month -- some economists expressed worries it might not accurately represent the current employment climate.

Seth Harris, the former acting secretary of labor in the Obama administration, told ABC News the June jobs report does not yet capture the decision by states to pause their reopening plans.

"The important thing to remember is that these numbers, the monthly jobs report numbers, are from several weeks ago so they do not capture the reclosings that are happening in California, Arizona, Texas, Florida and other states," he said. "They also don’t capture the fact that there is continuing layoffs."

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DragonImages/iStockBy GIO BENITEZ and MINA KAJI, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- As more Americans hit the road for what experts are calling the "summer of the road trip," hotel chains and Airbnb hosts are stepping up their cleaning game and using new technologies in an effort to convince guests they are safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hotel giant Marriott International is using electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectant -- a tool U.S. airlines have also begun using -- to sanitize surfaces throughout the hotel.

The sprayers can be used to clean guest rooms, lobbies, gyms and other public areas, according to Marriott.

"A lot of the cleaning that you will physically see is going to be happening in public spaces," Chip Rogers, the president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) said. "So when you're in a lobby at the pool and a workout room in hallways, anywhere where the public is gathering or passing each other, you're going to see a lot more cleaning people physically cleaning more than they have in the past."

The Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles and its sister property, Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, are now using a UV light robot, which the manufacturer says reaches a 99.9% level of disinfection.

"UV light disinfection has been around about 100 years," James Malley, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of New Hampshire, said. "Done well, it can be a great tool in the toolbox, because it's an extremely rapid physical disinfectant that is chemical-free and it literally works at the speed of light."

Rogers said hotels have been cleaning against viruses for many years, "well before coronavirus." But even with these new technologies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends various precautions.

Before arriving at any hotel, the CDC recommends travelers use options for online check-in when possible and call to ask if the hotel's staff are all wearing cloth face coverings.

The agency says to minimize time spent in areas that may lead to close contact with other people as much as possible, like break rooms, patios, lounging areas, pools, salons and fitness centers.

If the hotel has multiple floors, the CDC says to "consider taking the stairs" or wait until the elevator is empty.

Dr. Jennifer Lighter, an associate hospital epidemiologist and pediatric infectious disease physician, said travelers should pay the most attention to frequently-touched surfaces in a hotel like doorknobs, elevator buttons, light switches.

Travelers "should look for a hotel that cleans the frequently-touched surfaces often, and that they require everyone to wear a face mask when not in their hotel room," Lighter said.

Although each home is not checked, since it is privately owned, short-term rental companies like Airbnb are also promising an enhanced cleaning protocol.

The company issued a checklist of items for hosts, stating that places must be cleaned and sanitized between each guest's stay. This includes fans and lamp chains, window handles, thermostats, condiments, faucet handles and more.

Airbnb has also encouraged hosts to consider adding a few extra supplies of hand soaps, paper towels, tissues and toilet paper.

"What we require is those hosts who have participated in the cleaning protocol to attest that they are, in fact, applying it," Chris Lehane, Airbnb's senior vice president for global policy and communications, said.

The company has seen more travelers looking to visit less urban and more rural destinations, including the Adirondacks, Catskills and Hudson Valley in New York, The Berkshires in Massachusetts, and North Carolina's Outer Banks and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

American Airlines and United Airlines are seeing the same trends -- both airlines are adding flights to areas with mountain hiking and national parks for the summer.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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HAKINMHAN/iStockBy KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The light at the end of the tunnel got a little dimmer for restaurants in New York City and New Jersey. Restauranteurs were finally prepared to welcome diners back inside after months of being closed and reorganizing venues to work at limited capacity service due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I woke up this morning and it was the first thing I checked -- whether or not we were able to open indoor dining," restaurant owner Emanuele Nigro told ABC News.

Nigro and hundreds of others restaurant owners will have to wait. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that New York City restaurants will not be allowed to reopen for indoor dining at reduced capacity as part of phase 3 on July 6 as previously planned.

"Indoors is the problem. The science is showing it more and more. We cannot go ahead at this point in time with indoor dining in New York City," de Blasio said at a press conference.

His decision came in tandem with an announcement by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said the next phase would be postponed in New York City until further notice, even as the rest of the state moves forward with plans to reopen.

"It's going to be postponed until the facts change and it is prudent to open. But the facts have to change because at this point it is imprudent," Cuomo said during a press conference. "This is a New York City-only modification, because frankly it is a problem that is most pronounced in New York City."

Cuomo said he was worried about cases going up in other states, but said the decision was made "partially [because of] lack of citizen compliance and lack of local government compliance enforcement."

A majority of local businesses had planned for weeks how to restructure, had placed food orders, set new menus and hired back staff in advance of the anticipated third phase rollout.

Like so many restaurants in the city, Nigro said his West Village Italian spot Osteria 57 "had staff on standby to work next week, so this was another setback. It's difficult to run our operation in this way without proper direction in advance."

Businesses in New York City that got the news just five days before they were set to serve guests at socially distanced tables inside, like Brooklyn Chop House, said, "It's a complete disaster what they're doing to restaurant entrepreneurs."

"This has hurt every restaurant I know. There's been a tremendous amount of losses in regards to food and staffing. You need seven to 10 days to prepare to reopen a restaurant and now everything we had to get ready for July 6 is down the drain," Stratis Morfogen, the restaurant's director of operations, told ABC News. "This isn't like turning on a light switch. There's weeks of preparation. Every restaurant has rehired staff and bought food."

The New York City Hospitality Alliance, a nonprofit organization that represents hundreds of restaurants and nightlife venues across the five boroughs, has seen firsthand the financial devastation inflicted by COVID-19 on the hard-hit restaurant industry and said in a press release Wednesday that "the only thing they can afford less than not reopening now, is to reopen, rehire and resupply to only be shut down again."

Andrew Rigie, the nonprofit's executive director, told ABC News that after four months of "making financial sacrifices" restaurants' "survival now depends on compensation reflective of those losses."

"We respect the government and public health officials' decision to postpone the anticipated July 6 reopening of indoor dining, but the longer neighborhood restaurants and bars are forced to be closed, the harder it will be for them to ever successfully reopen," he explained. "This makes it even more urgent to forgive rent, expand outdoor dining and enact other responsive policies to save our city's beloved small businesses and jobs."

Longtime New York City and New Jersey restaurateur Leah Cohen has seen the incredible toll COVID-19 has had on the industry, but after losing her own father to the virus in April, she also understands the greater implications.

"I fully support Cuomo and his decision to postpone indoor dining. He has been a true leader in New York and has been data driven not politically driven during our reopening process," Cohen told ABC News. "He has made smart decisions so far. The last thing we need to do is reopen just to shut back down."

"While we did prepare the restaurant for the return of indoor dining, we personally were not prepared to open that part of our business at this time," she said. "Our family has been through a lot and we had to take every precaution, and wait an extended period of time before reopening to ensure everyone's safety."

Cohen said that right now she is "thrilled to finally reopen" her vibrant Filipino and Thai restaurant Pig & Khao on the Lower East Side. It will start fulfilling takeout orders next week after being closed since March.

The chef and business owner moved her former New Jersey waterfront bar and restaurant into the heart of midtown Manhattan with the opening of Piggyback, her second New York City restaurant, which welcomed its first guests just weeks before the COVID-19 outbreak shut down the city.

But much like Morfogen, Cohen understands that other restaurants may now be reeling from the losses that come with the last-minute change of plans.

"I know a lot of my friends in the industry were ready and hopeful that we would be given the green light to move into phase 3 and I feel for them. I truly do," she said. "Many of them have rehired employees in preparation of Phase 3 only to now turn around and tell people they are out of work again," Cohen said.

Cohen furthered Rigie's point and called on city leaders to do more to help hard-hit restaurants with alternatives.

"I would have loved to see the city, in the same press conference postponing indoor dining, announcing expansion plans of outdoor dining areas. We need their support not just their concern," she said. "We need their help shutting down streets so people aren't setting up table and chairs with traffic going by. We need their help in working around problems safely."

The days and weeks ahead for New York City and New Jersey restaurants that have to postpone immediate plans for indoor dining remain uncertain, but restaurant owners like Cohen reiterated the importance of why it needed to be pushed back.

"While it is a scary decision for the hospitality industry as a whole, to postpone indoor dining, it will also be a very personal decision for each restaurant owner as to when and how to restart indoor dining when the time comes," she said. "None of this is easy or cut and dry. I am terrified for our industry and what's to come, but having personally seen the toll COVID takes on human life, I am more worried about everyone's health and safety first and foremost."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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