COVID-19 Update: Fast Food Industry Thrives During Pandemic, Summit to Highlight Detroit’s COVID-19 Successes, and More

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
map of Michigan coronavirus cases
Courtesy of Bridge, as of July 12

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Fast Food Industry Thrives During Pandemic
While dine-in services have taken a hit due to their closure beginning in mid-March and more recent reopening with restricted occupancy, fast food restaurants are still doing well due to their drive-thru and curbside pickup options. According to Fox Business, drive-thrus in the U.S. generated $8.3 billion throughout the fast food industry in March. During the same period in 2019, drive-thrus generated $8 billion in sales industrywide.

In Michigan, the top five fast food locations are, in order, Taco Bell, McDonald’s Burger King, Wendy’s, and Subway, according to Top Data, which delivers business, consumer, and marketing insights. Top Data looked at data from June 12, 2019 through June 12, 2020 and analyzed consumer tracking data as an indicator of visits to fast food locations.

According to Eater, location technology company Foursquare found that visits to fast-food restaurants across the U.S. increased between Feb. 19 and the week of March 13. Meanwhile, people began to avoid casual dining restaurants in February and into early March, before many lockdowns were in place. Visits to these locations tracked by the service declined 8-12 percent around Feb. 24. Full-service restaurant reservations also saw a drop.

In early March, the Eater article continues, many Americans stopped going to restaurants entirely and started cooking at home. The World Health Organization officially classified COVID-19 as a pandemic in the second week of March. The same week, Apptopia, an analytics company that tracks daily downloads of mobile apps, saw huge boosts in grocery delivery app downloads. Instacart downloads increased 215 percent between Feb. 14 and March 15. Restaurants were ordered to close in many parts of the U.S. in mid-March.

By March 18, daily restaurant connections on Yelp were down 54 percent overall, while pizzerias saw a 44 percent increase, Eater says.

Virtual Summit to Highlight “COVID-19 in Detroit” Successes July 22
How the medical industry in Metro Detroit worked together to successfully coordinate cross-continuum patient care during the COVID-19 surge is the subject of a free virtual summit taking place on Wednesday, July 22 at 11 a.m.

Hosted by Boston’s CarePort Health, a care transitions software provider, the summit will highlight how payers, hospitals, and post-acute providers coordinated during the area’s COVID-19 peak.

Michigan hospitals faced a massive surge in COVID-19 patient admissions. As patients’ conditions improved, hospitals needed to identify post-acute care facilities that had the appropriate resources to properly care for COVID-19-positive patients that no longer needed acute care. The “COVID-19 in Detroit” summit will feature real stories about how Henry Ford Health System, Health Alliance Plan of Michigan, and Advantage Living Centers worked together using CarePort’s platform to efficiently deliver cross-continuum care.

To register for the summit, visit here.

Consumers Energy Provides $135,000 to Michigan Nonprofits
The Consumers Energy Foundation in Jackson today announced $135,000 in grants to assist 14 Michigan nonprofit organizations, helping them meet critical needs as they serve residents the COVID-19 pandemic has affected.

The new grants will help nonprofits provide food and personal supplies to clients, buy cleaning supplies, and meet equipment and furniture needs as organizations change how they serve the public.

“These nonprofits are meeting some of the most critical and urgent needs of Michigan’s people and communities hit hardest by the impact of COVID-19,” says Brandon Hofmeister, president of the Consumers Energy Foundation.

The new grants were awarded to:

  • Family and Children’s Services of Mid-Michigan in Midland ($25,000).
  • Housing Resources Inc. in Kalamazoo ($15,000).
  • Boys and Girls Club of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth ($10,000).
  • Foundation for Mott Community College in Flint ($10,000).
  • Bethesda Lutheran Communities in Frankenmuth ($10,000).
  • Charitable Union in Battle Creek ($10,000).
  • Muskegon Rescue Mission ($10,000).
  • Meals on Wheels Western Michigan in Grandville ($10,000)
  • Clothing INC in Mount Pleasant ($8,000).
  • Ministry with Community in Kalamazoo ($7,500).
  • Eastside Community Action Center in Lansing ($5,000).
  • Family Counseling and Children’s Services of Lenawee County/Catherine Cobb Safe House in Adrian ($5,000).
  • Love Thy Neighbor Grand Traverse Region in Traverse City ($5,000).
  • Women’s Resource Center in Grand Rapids ($5,000).

Since March, the Consumers Energy Foundation has provided more than $3.6 million to Michigan nonprofit organizations to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and Kaboom! Launch Play Everywhere Design Challenge
The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation in Detroit is continuing its support of an initiative to make it easier for families to incorporate play into public spaces in unconventional ways.

Along with Kaboom!, a national nonprofit working to end play space inequity, the Wilson Foundation has launched the third iteration of the Play Everywhere Design Challenge, which invites communities to submit creative design ideas that make it easier for families to incorporate play into everyday moments.

Applications are now open for community groups and public agencies to receive a total of $1 million to create unique play installations in everyday locations across southeastern Michigan and western New York to address disparities in access to quality play spaces.

Interested groups can view full eligibility requirements and submit a brief Idea Form, the first step in the application process here. The deadline to submit an Idea Form is Sept. 11. Winning projects will be implemented over a 12-month period ending Jan. 31, 2022.

“The way kids play, and ultimately, the way we engage as a community has changed,” says Jim Boyle, vice president of programs and communications at the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. “Now more than ever we have to find creative ways to keep youth active, engaged, and safe while following local guidelines.”

To date, the challenge has awarded $2 million in grant dollars to 44 community partners in southeast Michigan and western New York.

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