Officials expected to agree on $2 trillion stimulus bill after late movement
Top congressional and White House officials emerged from negotiations late Monday over the $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package saying they expected to reach a deal Tuesday. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said they had spoken by phone with President Donald Trump during the negotiations. “We look forward to having a deal tomorrow,” Mnuchin told reporters after exiting Schumer’s office. Mnuchin also noted that “we’re working at (Trump’s) direction.” Schumer agreed that a deal was almost within reach, saying “That’s the expectation,” adding a vote could come Tuesday evening. The development comes hours after a previous bill stalled in the Senate for the second day in a row over continued disagreements. Sixty votes were needed and the largely party-line vote (with Republicans for and Democrats against) was 49-46 to end debate and move forward.
Costco, Walgreens and Trader Joe’s add senior shopping hours
Add Costco, Walgreens and Trader Joe’s to the growing list of foods retailers offering senior shopping hours during the COVID-19 crisis. Walgreens begins reserving the first hour of every Tuesday to senior customers this week, from 8 to 9 a.m. Beyond the carved-out shopping time, Walgreens says “senior hour” is also available to caregivers and immediate families. Florida-based Publix starts its twice-weekly senior hour for 65s and over Tuesday, which will also be held Wednesdays from 7 to 8 a.m. until further notice. Costco Wholesale Club will hold its senior hour for members 60 and up Tuesdays and Thursdays. Specialty supermarket Trader Joe’s also started offering the service this week, reserving the first hour of daily shopping to seniors, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Most top retailers have begun offering senior shopping hours, all for the first shopping of the day.
Quarantined passengers from troubled Grand Princess to be released
Passengers from the Grand Princess cruise ship who were quarantined at U.S. military bases after an outbreak of coronavirus will continue to be released Tuesday and for the next four days. The ship docked in Oakland on March 9 with 3,500 on board after reporting 21 coronavirus cases. Passengers who disembarked the ship were taken to military bases in California, Texas and Georgia to complete their 14-day quarantines. Officials have not disclosed how many had tested positive while in quarantine.
Two Canadian provinces to close all non-essential businesses
Canada’s two most populous provinces said Monday that all non-essential businesses must close beginning Tuesday night in efforts to stem the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses in Ontario, home to Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, and the nation’s most populous city, Toronto, must shut for at least 14 days starting at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday. The French-speaking province of Quebec also ordered all non-essential businesses to close, beginning Tuesday night, but for three weeks until April 13. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that images of people out enjoying the sunshine in large groups was “extremely concerning.” Canada’s moves come as more U.S. states take increasingly drastic measures to keep people inside. Washington state has issued a “stay at home” order to its residents and Maryland and Massachusetts on Monday ordered the closure of non-essential businesses, but stopped short of shelter-in-place orders.
‘Birds of Prey,’ other star-studded films will be available to stream
Since all of the movie theaters are closed and more and more people have been ordered to stay at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, the studios are continuing to provide new viewing options and make the films that ended up with abruptly shortened theatrical runs – or no runs at all – available to stream now. Tuesday’s releases include “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)” which marked the return of the DC Comics villain Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and will be available for digital purchase and video on demand. “The Way Back,” starring Ben Affleck as an ex-basketball star who turns to coaching a struggling high school team, also will be available on digital. Also, “Bloodshot,” which features Vin Diesel playing a slain soldier who is resurrected with superpowers, will too rise from the dead for digital purchase on March 24, just 12 days after it premiered in theaters.
Contributing: Associated Press