Friday Five Roundup: Company Good Will and PR during COVID-19

The Coronavirus pandemic has caused streets to go empty, creating an uneasy visual of unbalance in the world. People are panicking, overbuying, experiencing anxiety, and being hostile for toilet paper. The increasing spread of coronavirus has required most of us to isolate, physically distance ourselves, or self-quarantine in our homes.

At the same time, we’re also seeing creativity, generosity, and organizations putting their tools to use or commoditizing their services.

Here is this week’s Friday Five Roundup of companies with a change in offerings to the public during this crisis.

1. Free Content to Help Support Both Mental and Emotional Wellness

Calm is considered the “World’s Happiest” app. More specifically it is a mediation, sleep, and relaxation app. Likewise, during COVID-19 it will be going by the motto “Let’s meet this moment together.” Many of us are feeling anxious, due to the uncertainty of COVID-19. Therefore, Calm has shared some of their tools, in order to take care of our mental health and help us stay grounded. All resources are free of charge and fully compensated by Calm. In addition, all resources were hand-picked with the intention of supporting our mental and emotional wellness, during this time. The type of content they will be offering includes soothing meditations, calm music, mindfulness resources, sleep stories, and calming content for kids, so that they can participate in meditations as well! Content will also be regularly updated for us to enjoy! So, always be sure to check the app for more content to satisfy all your emotional and spiritual needs.

Click here to check out the resources Calm is offering.

2. Delivery Options

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, UberEats has put a step forward in offering customers options in order to support local restaurants and the community. They have waived delivery fees for all local restaurants. In addition, they are also providing a ‘buy one get one later’ option. Meaning, if a customer is ordering a meal, they can plan ahead and the next meal will be fully paid for by UberEats. UberEats is also promoting self-distancing, as customers can also now use the ‘leave at door’ delivery feature, at checkout. Whereby, they can also provide special instructions such as ‘drop off on front porch’.

3. Special Senior Hours

Panic purchasing has left empty aisles and more risk for the elderly and people with medical concerns. Due to this, grocery stores have started offering designated shopping hours for seniors and others with health issues. This will provide them the opportunity to shop with fewer customers around, and also stock up on some of their essentials, without having to be at risk.

Below is a list of a some stores in the Greater Toronto Area, Alberta, or British Columbia offering augmented hours as a service at this time:
  • Loblaws, Sobeys and others have dedicated hours to allow seniors and those with disabilities to shop as a response to the recent increase in purchasing by consumers.
  • Zehrs, also owned by Loblaws, are opening an hour early on Wednesday mornings.
  • Similarly, all Longo’s locations are offering “community wellbeing hour” daily at 8am
  • Sobeys Belmont in Edmonton reserved 50 % of its toilet paper stock for seniors after people had cleared out all the shelves and stockpiled packages.
  • Shoppers Drug Mart is offering the first hour of opening to the ederly and those with disabilities. Also, during this first hour of shopping, they will be offering their 20% Senior Day discount on regularly priced items, which is an addition to Seniors Days.

4. Free Learning Resources for Kids

Due to the closure of schools, parents may have difficulty finding resources and ideas to help teach their kids. Scholastic has created a 'Learn at Home' resource for parents, in order to help keep their kids engaged and learning. There are daily courses for students from pre-kindergarten all the way up to 9th grade. The learning plans created by Scholastic cover all subject areas that students take at school. Each daily course is about three hours of learning per day. There are stories, projects, virtual field trips, and so much more. This will surely keep kids at home academically active during school closures. The resource is also accessible on all devices with internet access and does not require any signing up. As of now, there are 5 days of courses but there will be 15 more days of content available, so keep an eye out !

Click here for The Learn at Home resource.

Free Indigenous Learning Resources

Indigenous educators are volunteering to teach short k-8 online lessons through videos on a Facebook page called Think Indigenous - Online Indigenous Education K-8 . Educators are including indigenous knowledge through the courses. For example, one lesson for 4th-grade students introduced the idea of storytelling. It encourages viewers to reflect on their families and communities and to think of any of their personal stories as well. There are interesting lessons ranging from the discussion of the indigenous perspective of bacteria, to a lesson on stress management, and mental health issues in our communities, which is crucial to be discussed during this time of self-isolation. The virtual classes will be running on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, while Tuesdays and Thursdays will be dedicated towards assignment distributions.

5. Free Online Workout Sessions to Keep You in Shape

People are staying at home as gyms are also closed. Therefore, you may be feeling sluggish and guilty for missing out on your regular workout sessions. However, It is important to stay fit and healthy, especially during this time. Don’t worry though, many gyms and fitness groups have created online free streaming workout sessions for you to do at home.

Here is a list of them below:
  • Planet Fitness- Hosting HomeWork-Ins: Which are especially free fitness classes for everyone that will be streamed live on their Facebook page, every day at 7 pm. The classes are about 20 minutes long and require no equipment. If you cannot attend the live streams, the fitness classes will be available to be viewed on their Facebook page and Youtube channel after the live streams have completed.
  • Down Dog App- All of Down Dog’ Apps: Down Dog, Yoga for Beginners, HIIT, Barre, and 7 Minute Workout have been made free until April 1st. So anyone who wants to practice at home can do so. Due to school closures, they are also offering free access until July 1st for teachers and students (K-12 and college). To access the free school membership, click here to register.
  • Golds Gym App (Goldsamp)- Access to app: is offering free access to their app until the end of May. The app has over 600 audio and video workouts along with DJ mixes to get you pumped and ready to break a sweat at home!

BONUS: Movies

With the movie theatres closed, the release of movies has been moved to earlier release dates. The popular Frozen 2 movie was released three months earlier than originally scheduled on Disney Plus, in order for families to enjoy and watch during this challenging time. Disney has also now announced that it will be releasing another title early amid the coronavirus outbreak, Pixar’s Onward (releasing April 3rd for the U.S).