Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: March 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the lives of billions of people around the world. For many parents with young children in the United States, shelter-in-place orders implemented in different areas over the past few weeks mean they now spend each day balancing work with taking care of their families. For child care providers, a vital but often under-appreciated part of the American economy, the crisis means dealing with economic uncertainty, but also adapting to serve new roles, including providing care for essential workers.

Child care startups, including home-based daycare networks, apps for finding child care, and benefits and business management software, are working hard to help families. For example, many are using their technology to connect essential workers with carers or provide emergency child care, helping providers navigate government aid programs and, in some cases, raising their own relief funds.

TechCrunch talked to nine U.S.-based child care startups–home daycare and preschool networks Wonderschool, NeighborSchools, WeeCare and MyVillage; Winnie, Komae and Helpr, all apps for arranging child care; and enterprise software companies Kinside and Kangarootime, to see how they are dealing with the impact of COVID-19.

Child care for essential workers

Many of the child care startups TechCrunch spoke to are now focused on helping people in jobs classified as essential during shelter-in-place orders, including healthcare, emergency responders and grocery store workers. Several of them are adapting their platforms or services to serve those families more quickly, while balancing their urgent need for care with COVID-19 safety precautions.

For example, Winnie, a platform for finding verified child care providers throughout the United States, is collecting and updating data in real time about which providers are temporarily closed and which ones have availability, says founder and CEO Sara Mauskopf. This week, Winnie launched a portal for parents to find emergency child care with immediate openings.

Kasey Edwards, the founder and CEO of Helpr, an app that connects parents with screened babysitters, said it is working with families of essential workers to help them afford child care. Helpr’s “Out-of-network” feature allows families to add their own care providers to the platform and manage backup care subsidies from their employers.

Meanwhile, Komae, an app that enables groups of families to create babysitting cooperatives and swap care with one another, is offering free care credits and working with seven healthcare organizations to coordinate child care for their workers, said founder and CEO Erin Beck.

The babysitting circles on Komae are private, “which means families from one organization can insulate their caregiving strictly among themselves, getting the care they need without risking exposure to the community at large (like our grandparents or other traditional caregivers),” Beck said. The app currently recommends that users “buddy up” with just one or two other families for their care group.

In some places, small in-home care providers have been allowed to stay open, said Chris Bennett, the co-founder and CEO of Wonderschool, a network of home-based child care and preschools in states including California, New York and Texas.

“Repeatedly, we are seeing county officials allowing small in-home childcare operators to continue to operate, thus providing support for these critical workers under shelter in place orders,” he said. “Our programs have now entered into a critical support role that larger preschools cannot support at this time.”

Jessica Chang, the co-founder and CEO of WeeCare, another network of in-home child care providers, said the company is “adjusting its support each hour and taking into account the changing protocols in each county. In certain areas such as Northern California and New York City, our providers are changing how they support their community. Instead of caring for children who attend their daycare regularly, they are now caring for children of first responders and essential workers.”

In Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker ordered all early child care centers closed starting on March 23. The only centers currently allowed to operate in the state are Exempt Emergency Child Care programs, intended for essential workers and opened by the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC).

As a result, Boston-based NeighborSchools, which partners with home child care providers, closed all its centers to comply with the order. Co-founder and CEO Brian Swartz said some of NeighborSchool’s provider partners are applying to provide emergency child care for medical professionals, first responders and vulnerable populations. The startup is currently helping providers figure out regulatory requirements and putting together guidance for using government aid. It is also communicating with the EEC’s leadership to offer full access to its platform.

“While we never envisioned this scenario, the tech we’ve built for our network is uniquely well suited to automatically match families to child care programs in real-time,” said Swartz. “In child care scheduling, we need to account for each child’s date of birth, the family’s care schedule and the licensed capacity of each program within age range. Our team is ready to drop everything and make this happen if the EEC asks for our help.”

On-demand services

Startups are also helping other parents find short-term or emergency child care. Some have launched online services, like digital playdates, to help families balance working from home and their family lives.

MyVillage, a network of home-based care providers in Colorado and Montana, is seeing “an influx of interest from families who are looking for temporary care and/or short-term placement due to large child care centers closing and school districts closing,” said co-founder and CEO Erica Mackey. The company is currently working on a short-term placement solution for families in select MyVillage programs who need child care.

To help parents navigate the sudden collision of their work and home lives, Komae and Helpr both started offering online services. Helpr launched online music lessons and tutoring for families on its platform, while Komae is facilitating digital playdates. This means parents use the app to schedule video calls with their children’s friends.

“I never imagined my toddler could be so entertained by her friends on a computer screen, but they amazingly go an hour showing each other their toys and silly faces,” said Beck. “That social connection, for all of us, is so essential.”

Safety and support

Child washing hands

Safety compliance is always a priority for child care providers, but it is especially critical during this time. In addition to following CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many companies have also enacted safeguards of their own. Some are also implementing financial support programs to help care providers who are forced to close because of illness.

For example, Beck published a letter on Komae’s site on March 12, hours before Ohio became the first state to close schools, asking families on the app to immediately stop swapping child care.

“It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make as a founder, because as a parent myself, I was painfully aware of how desperate these families would be for both care and companionship,” Beck said. “But ‘adhering to social distance’ was not a given then like it is now; we had the responsibility as a leader of this vast community to be firm with what needed to be done.”

Taking steps like helping parents who work with healthcare organizations find care and launching digital features has allowed Komae to maintain its community, she added. “We knew Komae had the tools to make that happen, so with social distance at our core, we adapted for insulating or digital caresharing.”

As a safety precaution, WeeCare developed a feature to monitor caregivers for fevers, using a function already in its app that allows them to take photos and videos of children throughout the day and tag activities. The technology was adapted so providers can submit a video of themselves taking their temperature with a thermometer each morning. Once the video is verified by the WeeCare team, the provider receives a badge on their listing that says “Health Status: Fever-Free,” with the date of the verified reading.

Chang says the feature “allows providers to take more proactive measures, as recommended by the CDC, to ensure the health and safety of our community.”

Several companies are also providing financial programs to help their providers who are forced to shut down and ensure they don’t feel compelled to work even when sick. For example, MyVillage raised additional funding to allow the 60-plus open programs in its network to continue earning their projected income into April. Mackey says that, so far, two anonymous funders have contributed.

“Many of our educators don’t have the safety net needed to stop working, so we want to help them stay open so long as it’s safe,” says Mackey. “If parents are exposed or infected and subject to quarantine, our relief funding provides a subsidy to cover 11 of the 14 days of the child’s tuition until he or she can safely return to class.”

Helpr launched a paid sick leave policy for babysitters on its platform after the first known cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. Sitters are also informed of any sickness in a home through a mandatory disclosure from the family in Helpr’s app when they book an appointment.

A few days after TechCrunch spoke to Wonderschool, Bennett announced that the company had been forced to lay off team members because of the crisis. Before the announcement, Bennett told TechCrunch that if a Wonderschool care program is forced to shut down because a child, parent or provider shows symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, the company will draw on its network to help its other families find another carer in their area. For financial support, Wonderschool is monitoring state and federal relief policies for businesses.

“These crisis funds will be key in ensuring that in-home providers who have shut down temporarily are available to parents again once people return to work,” he said.

Enterprise software

For startups that build enterprise and management software related to child care, the pandemic creates a different set of challenges.

Genevieve Carbone of Kangarootime, business management software for child care providers, said that many of its customers have been relying on its messaging feature to keep families updated on rapidly changing regulations. Its software also enables “low contact,” for example by allowing information to be passed to parents digitally instead of on paper handouts, in-app check-in and check-outs, and online payments.

“We’re keeping a very close eye on the impact the virus will have on businesses further down the road and how we can better support our customers once the pandemic passes,” said Carbone. “Improving billing for agencies/subsidies is something we have explored, assuming there may be an increase in families that will need government subsidies to cover their childcare.”

Kinside, whose software helps employees manage family care benefits and find daycares, has seen a 60% decline in incoming parents because of shelter at home mandates and social distancing, said co-founder and CEO Shadiah Sigala. Thousands of daycares in its network have also shut down.

Even places that are not currently under shelter in place orders have seen a drop in parents searching for immediate care because they know “it’s likely only a matter of time before all states invoke similar measures,” she added.

But Kinside is helping essential workers find childcare and has also recently begun working with human resources at hospitals and grocery chains on its platform to “offer white glove child care support to their employees.”

After the pandemic

Daycare and school shutdowns have forced families to change their routines under extraordinary and difficult circumstances, and the situation is highlighting the value of caregivers to the economy and the well-being of families. At the same time, it also underscores how vulnerable many providers are, with few safety nets.

Mackey says that MyVillage was created to address structural problems in child care that have existed for a long time “It was tough to make it as a child care provider before this pandemic, and now it’s even harder. More than 40% of family home child care businesses nationally report that they couldn’t make it two weeks without revenue from having children in care,” she said, adding that MyVillage was created to help fix “America’s deeply broken child care market, which doesn’t work well for educators, who earn on average $11.50 an hour, or for working parents, who pay more than public university tuition for child care in a majority of states.”

Sigala said “the pandemic has exposed the essentiality of child care in the everyday working lives of Americans and the overall economy. More of our jobs may be fit to support work from home. But they are certainly not fit for work from home with kids.”

After the pandemic is over, many parents may find it difficult to re-enroll their kids with the same care provider or need to find new options that are more financially manageable for them, she added. Kinside currently works with thousands of employers, as well as daycare centers that can add up to one million child care slots. The company plans to offer deep discounts or free access to Kinside to companies while they recover from the crisis.

“We predict company executives will return to running their companies with more empathy than ever,” said Sigala. “They, too just experienced the complete lack of child care infrastructure (perhaps for the first time); a problem that many of their employees face on a daily basis. We are ready to engage with heads of HR and key executives with resources and consulting gratis.”

Read more:

(CNN)DJ D-Nice seems determined to make sure we jam our way through this crisis.

Stars including supermodel Naomi Campbell, actor Donnie Wahlberg,singer Janet Jackson and dozens of other celebs have been hopping on to enjoy the tunes.
Thanks to Instagram Live’s split feature, which allows other people to appear on the feed, followers have enjoyed “guest appearances” by the likes of singer John Legend and rappers Common and Big Daddy Kane, among others.
    On Wednesday the DJ posted “3pm PST we are going live! Tell your friends!” on his verified Instagram account.
    View this post on Instagram

    3pm PST we are going live! Tell your friends!

    A post shared by D-Nice (@dnice) on

    What followed was a nine-hour dance party he dubbed “Home School.”
    The following day he posted “I can’t believe that I started the Home School social distancing dance party just four days ago and it’s become a place for us to virtually dance together and stay connected.”
    View this post on Instagram

    I can’t believe that I started the Home School social distancing dance party just four days ago and it’s become a place for us to virtually dance together and stay connected. From my kitchen, I’m able to send positive vibrations to each of you. Thank you for rocking with me. Thank you to all of the artists that popped in to show love. Al B. Sure, Andre Harrell, Angie Martinez, Anthony Hamilton, Beverly Bond, Bevy Smith, Big Daddy Kane, Bink, Black Thought, Bun B, Chris Spencer, Common, Damien Hall, Dave Chappelle, Deborah Cox, Debra Lee, DJ Camilo, DJ Cassidy, DJ Clark Kent, DJ Goldfinger, DJ Tony Touch, Donald Faison, Dres, Dule Hill, Erick Sermon, Estelle, Fab 5 Freddy, Fat Joe, Ghostface, Grand Puba, Jairobi White, Jazmyn Simon, Jermaine Dupri, Jill Scott, Jim Jones, Joe Budden, John Legend, Jonathan Mannion, Kardinal Official, Kenny Burns, Kenny Smith, Kevin Liles, Lee Daniels, Lena Waithe, Lennox Lewis, Letoya Luckett, LL Cool J, Louise Hazel, Mary J. Blige, Maseo, MC Lyte, Michael Ealy, Michael Rapaport, Michelle Wolf, Naomi Campbell, Nile Rodgers, Omar Dorsey, Oneal McKnight, Posdonus, Royale Watkins, Russell Simmons, Sophia Chang, Spice Adams, Spinderella, Stretch Armstrong, Swin Cash, Tank, Tasha Smith, Teddy Riley, Tobe Nwigwe, Zab Judah, and more. Class resumes today at 2pm pst. Please tell your friends. #BrandNice #dnicehomeschool

    A post shared by D-Nice (@dnice) on

    “From my kitchen, I’m able to send positive vibrations to each of you,” Nice wrote. “Thank you for rocking with me.”
    Beloved in the music community since the 1980s when he was a member of the pioneering Bronx hip-hop crew BDP, he also found fame as one of the producers of the anti-violence anthem, “Self Destruction.”
    By Saturday evening, more than50,000people had hopped on the Instagram Live at the same time to groove together.
      There were so many African American celebrities present and commenting that one person jokingly quipped in the comments, “Where are the Obamas?”
      Nice served as the DJ for the after party at the final musical event hosted by President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the White House in 2016.

      Read more:

      Can’t stop, won’t stop!

      But once momma Kourtney Kardashian caught wind of her son’s actions, she swiftly deleted his profile. During her own IG Live on Wednesday, the reality star told Poosh‘s Chief Operating Officer Sarah Howard:

      “He started an Instagram yesterday and didn’t ask us. He doesn’t [have a cellphone]. He has an iPad and a computer for his school. I did delete it because Scott [Disick] and I just felt like… He’s 10!”

      The 40-year-old added:

      “I think there’s an age limit with Instagram. I think it’s… 13.”

      Not only is there an issue with how young he is, but also what he would be exposed to on the app, Kourt explained at the time:

      “I think on Instagram, the thing that really worries me with kids is just comments. People can be so mean. It’s really easy to get consumed with it. I just feel it’s not the time.”

      But it seems like the 10-year-old doesn’t take too kindly to being held back from speaking to the people! While live on his TikTok profile on Thursday, the oldest of Kris Jenner‘s grandkids told his followers his original account “got deleted because I was too young.” Disick added:

      “I went viral. I would’ve had 2.7 mil by now if I kept it up.”

      He also took the time to answer a few questions from fans, though unfortunately nothing as juicy as Kylie’s relationship status was revealed. One commenter said they had seen Mason on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, to which he laughed and replied:

      “Yeah, I’m on that.”

      When another follower asked if he had seen Stormi Webster lately, he said no “’cause corona,” referring to the coronavirus pandemic, but let us know that his momma and aunt Khloé Kardashian are doing “good.”

      Ch-ch-check out what else the eldest Disick had to say (below):

      View this post on Instagram

      i love this kid

      A post shared by Kardashian Clips (@kardashianclips) on

      Later on in the day, the preteen’s second TikTok account disappeared much like his Insta profile. It’s unclear if he was removed from the platform — TikTok’s terms of service state “the platform is only for people 13 years or over,” the same requirement as Instagram — or if his mom and dad booted him off again!

      We’re sure this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Mason online. Kids these days!!

      [Image via Kourtney Kardashian/Khloé Kardashian/Instagram.]

      Related Posts

      Read more:

      I feel like most people would describe me as go-with-the-flow. Most of the time, my texts in a group chat about plans sound like “whatever works for everyone!” and “sounds good to me!”. This isn’t because I don’t care about whatever dinner or trip we’re brainstorming, rather it’s because I just kind of enjoy being along for the ride. Fun to me is just everyone else having fun! (It should be noted that therapists have also told me that I’m extremely codependent, but that’s for another time.)

      This, along with a relocated friend, is how I wound up camping in the fields of Tennessee for an eternity long weekend. This is also how I learned that music festivals, like tank tops and Game of Thrones, just aren’t for me. Both because of interests and my body type.

      It all started in a harmless fashion, someone sending a link to tickets in a group chat saying “omggg let’s go!”. Usually, when things like this happens, what follows is just a symphony of “oh for sure!”’s until no one ever addresses it again. Easy. Except this time, there was an added element: I had a friend who recently moved to Tennessee (a state I only sort of knew existed beforehand), and the ticket link was for Bonnaroo—a music festival in *survey says* Tennessee. This upped the ante, so we all decided to pool our funds together and buy wristbands and camping passes for three days.

      I obviously agreed to go on this adventure with friends, because I always love spending weekends with friends! The dots I forgot to connect, though, were that how I usually love spending those weekends are sitting in a chair in an air-conditioned space with cell reception and a glass of Pinot Noir. Cut to me sitting in between a Walmart bag of tent supplies and an almost equally-sized bag of Doritos. Baby, let the games begin?  

      I don’t know why it didn’t click to me that when you’re camping, it’s actually camping. Despite being told “we’ll be sleeping in a tent,” I feel like my mind just equated a tent to an RV, JoJo style.


      There’s a lot that people don’t tell you about music festivals when they talk about music festivals. I’ve heard about how seeing DJ Panda Bear or whoever on molly was “literally life changing” 800 times, but I’ve never ONCE been told about hammering a tent pole into the ground at 7am with a handle of Svedka because you don’t have a hammer. Once your tent is set up as much as a tent can get set up by the hands of five twenty-somethings from the Tri-State area, you unpack your things and… sit waiting for music to start. Okay, I can get down with chugging PBR and waiting for Chance the Rapper. I think I’m back on the bandwagon… until I see the map of where the music actually is.

      Basically, getting from your campgrounds to where the festival actually is can only be described as the journey you would take on the Oregon Trail. Except instead of contracting Cholera, you just run the risk of ruining every girl named Lindsay’s Instagram photo. After trekking, we made it in to the festival grounds and I immediately was confused: was this a festival about music or a festival of people who love lines? Cause that’s almost exclusively what I saw.

      The crowds of people didn’t seem to mind waiting 25 minutes for vegan hot dogs in the heat, but I’m someone who is always a little sweaty and has minimal patience when it comes to food. I think my main issue was that I lack the *chill* factor that makes music festivals enjoyable for everyone else. I don’t want to smoke in a circle on the dirt, I want to have a dirty martini. Is that too much to ask, outdoors? Speaking of the outdoors, I think the moment I realized that this life wasn’t the life for me was when I filled a jug of water with a hose to pour on myself as “a shower.” Very different from my Sunday ritual of taking a bath with a piece of eucalyptus hanging from the faucet. 

      Despite having my basic rights stripped away from me (air conditioning), I do have to admit that it was a pretty amazing experience to be away from cell service, responsibilities, and the realities of the world for a few days and have nothing to worry about besides being able to get the best spot to cry along to Lorde songs live. After the weekend, I realized two things: not everything is for me and to never insult people who use the phrase “glamping” again, because I think they’re now my family.

      While I quickly realized music festivals weren’t for me, I’m glad I went to test the waters—and water pressure of the hose I used as a shower. It was a fun experience that did make me feel instantly younger—until I woke up hungover in 98 degree heat from four beers and very much felt my age. All that said, will happily take any free VIP tickets from anyone to anything!

      Images: @hannynaibaho / Unsplash; Giphy

      Read more:

      (CNN)Kenny Rogers made his name as a giant of country music in the late 1970s.

      But his remarkable career spanned a range of styles over the decades. It started with the bluesy psychedelics of his ’60s group The First Edition and ranged to the global pop phenomenon “We Are the World” alongside Diana Ross and Michael Jackson in the ’80s.
      Rogers wrote relatively few songs, relying almost entirely on others for his diverse material. His recognizable gravelly voice fit in well with radio-friendly slick hits he and his team turned out, with collaborators who included Dolly Parton, the Bee Gees and Lionel Richie.
        Here’s a look at eight of his defining hits.

        ‘Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)”

        Kenny Rogers had been in the folk group The New Christy Minstrels before he and The First Edition scored with this No. 5 pop tune from 1967. The opening verse was solid late ’60s lingo, man: “I woke up this morning with the sundown shining in / I found my mind in a brown paper bag within / I tripped on a cloud and fell-a eight miles high / I tore my mind on a jagged sky.”

        ‘Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town’

        The group had other pop hits, including this tale of a disabled Vietnam vet who can’t keep his cheating spouse at home. It hit No. 6 in 1969.


        After the group split up, Rogers’ solo breakthrough came in 1977 with this smash hit about country staples cheatin’ and drinkin’. It was his first country No. 1 tune, reached No. 5 on the pop charts and won Rogers the first of three Grammys.

        ‘The Gambler’

        Rogers found his signature song the next year. “The Gambler” was ubiquitous, brought more accolades, and became a popular series of TV movies. Like “Lucille,” it continued another Nashville form, the story song, at its finest, and it featured an unforgettable singalong chorus: “You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em…”

        ‘Coward of the County’

        Rogers stayed close to “The Gambler” style and kept telling tales with “Coward of the County.”


        Rogers scored with several straight-ahead love ballads. Lionel Richie — emerging from the Commodores as a songwriter and soloist — penned this one.

        ‘Islands in the Stream’

        Aussie disco hitmakers the Bee Gees wrote and produced this chart-topping duet for Rogers and his fellow country-pop superstar Dolly Parton.

          ‘We Are the World’

          Music’s biggest singers of 1985 gathered one night to record “We Are the World” for African famine relief. Rogers was the fourth voice heard, after Richie, Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon. Also on hand were Tina Turner, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Diana Ross and more.

          Read more:

          Bachelor Nation, get ready to say farewell to Peter Weber and hello to your new leading lady!

          On Monday, it was officially revealed Clare Crawley will be ABC‘s next Bachelorette!

          The big announcement was made on Good Morning America, just days after popular blogger Reality Steve teased Crawley was being considered for the role. The 38-year-old hairstylist from Sacramento, CA beat rumored former contestants Tayshia Adams, Tia Booth, and Kelsey Weier.

          Read more:

          Image copyright Getty Images

          Primark’s 189 UK stores have closed “until further notice”, as demand drops due to social-distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

          It has already shut stores elsewhere and said it wanted to protect the health of employees and customers.

          The fashion chain’s CEO Paul Marchant said it faces “unprecedented, and frankly unimaginable times”.

          Other High Street retailers, such as John Lewis and Timpson, have already announced closures amid the pandemic.

          A Primark spokesperson said that any staff affected by store closures would receive full pay for their contracted hours for 14 days.

          Meanwhile the John Lewis department store chain will close all of its 50 shops temporarily from Monday for the first time in its 155-year history.

          The online site will still be available, while the group’s 338 Waitrose stores will stay open to deal with a spike in demand for groceries. More than 2,000 John Lewis workers are already working across Waitrose.

          Other retailers have said that they would shut their shops temporarily although government has not yet ordered them to close, unlike restaurants, bars and pubs.

          The chief executive of the Timpson Group posted on social media that the shoe repair firm’s 2,150 stores would shut from Monday.

          Others include:

          • HMV: The British music retailer will close stores temporarily from Sunday
          • Arcadia Group: The group, which includes Topshop and Miss Selfridge, closed all of its stores on Friday until further notice
          • New Look: The clothing store shut its 500 UK stores on Saturday
          • Kurt Geiger: Its 55 shoe shops across the UK and Ireland stopped trading on Saturday
          • River Island: All of its clothing stores across the UK and Ireland are closed until further notice

          Branches of WH Smith, Next and B&Q are among retailers to remain open.

          James Daunt, the boss of Waterstones, said his bookshops provided an “important social resource” and would stay open until forced to close.

          As many UK firms warn of the impact of the pandemic, the city watchdog has asked them not to publish preliminary financial statements that were due in the next few days.

          The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) asked all listed companies to delay plans to publish by at least two weeks.

          Primark stores across the US, France, Spain and Italy have already shut their doors to try to contain the spread of the virus.

          In response to falling demand, the firm has now stopped placing any orders for clothes to be made in the future.

          It also has a large amount of stock in stores, warehouses and in transit that has already been paid for.

          ‘No option’ left

          Mr Marchant said that Primark had been left with “no option but to take this action”.

          He added: “This is profoundly upsetting for me personally and for all of the team… We recognise and are deeply saddened that this will have an effect throughout our entire supply chain.”

          Primark does not have an online sales operation, so it orders and sells vast quantities of clothing through its network of brick-and-mortar shops.

          Image copyright Getty Images

          Mr Marchant called for other countries to support businesses “in the same way that the UK and many European governments are doing.”

          The UK government said this week it will pay the wages of employees unable to work due to the coronavirus pandemic, in a move aimed at protecting people’s jobs.

          It will pay 80% of salary for staff who are kept on by their employer, covering wages of up to £2,500 a month.

          Many retail and hospitality firms have warned the pandemic could see them collapse, wiping out thousands of jobs, as life in the UK is put on hold.

          Tom Ironside, director of business and regulation at the British Retail Consortium, said that shops continue to follow government advice.

          “Stores are reviewing Public Health England advice daily to decide what is best to do for their customers, staff and local communities.”

          He said that although “retailers in non-food areas have seen an unparalleled drop in footfall”, others such as supermarkets have seen continued strong demand.

          Read more:

          imageBROKER/Aditya Singh/imageBROKER/Getty Images

          These 10 Animal Face Filters On Snapchat Will Liven Up Your Story

          Snapchat is an easy way to connect with friends from a distance. There are new Lenses to try all the time, so finding a favorite to change up your Snap game doesn’t take much time at all. If you’re a fan of the animal-themed Lenses, though, these ten animal face filters on Snapchat will put an end to your boredom.

          From the viral cat face filter trend to Snapchat animal Lens creators, there are plenty of choices when it comes to fun Lenses to replace your face with a cute animal. You’ll find some of these Snapchat Lenses in the main Lens Carousel, or from searching through the Lens Explorer tab. Since the Lenses in the Carousel rotate, you may not find an animal face Lenses you remember seeing a couple of weeks ago. The best way to find a bunch of different animal face Lenses is to open up Snapchat, go to the Lens Carousel, and then tap on the smiley face icon on the right. Then from the Lens Explorer tab, you can find specific animal face Lenses by typing your search bar via the magnifying glass at the top of the screen.

          Some of the animal face Lenses on Snapchat replace your entire face with an AR animal, just putting in your eyes and lips, while others are more like an AR face paint.

          1. Snapchat’s Ostrich Face Lens

          The Ostrich Lens from Snapchat changes your voice and makes you look like an ostrich, placing your eyes and lips in to bring some of your personality to the look. Sometimes this appears in Snapchat’s carousel, otherwise, you can find it by searching “ostrich” in the Explorer tab.


          2. The “Frog” Lens by Ramanpreet Singh

          This Lens turns you into a frog, however, it isn’t a voice-changing Lens. TBH, the scale of your lips makes this Lens look hilariously cartoonish, especially if you give a flashy smile.

          Ramanpreet Singh/Snapchat

          3. “Funny fish” Lens by Chaz

          You can find this Lens by Chaz by searching “fish” or “funny fish” in the Lens Explorer tab. The Lens places you under the water as an orange colored tropical fish.


          4. “Dog” Lens by Fahad.en

          This cute pug Lens might just be your new fave choice for dog face Lenses. Your eyes are layered over the pup’s cute brown ones, and the way your mouth shows up on the overlay is nearly perfect.


          5. “Hamster” Lens by M

          This fluffy little gem by creator M changes your voice to a squeaky pitch and is sure to make you laugh.


          6. “The Council” Lens by Robert

          A hilarious take on the council meme, this Snapchat Lens by Robert places your eyes and mouth onto all three of the animals.


          7. Tiger face Lenses by MALSAEED55 and M

          There are a couple of options for tiger face Lenses. The first one is “Tiger” from MALSAEED55, which covers your face in augmented reality tiger stripes like the cat face Lenses. The second one is “TIGER” by M, and features a deep voice changer, falling snow, and puts your eyes and mouth into the tiger image.

          MALSAEED55/Snapchat // M/Snapchat

          8. “Chinchilla Face” Lens by Charlotte Hicks

          This Lens is adorable and hilarious at the same time. The scale of human eyes and lips on the chinchilla is ridiculous, but that’s what makes it funny.

          Charlotte Hicks/Snapchat

          9. Snapchat’s “Talking Giraffe” Lens

          This Lens gives your voice a high pitch and the giraffe moves around like it’s walking or swaying to some unheard music.


          10. The “Talking Suricate” Snapchat Lens

          Meerkats (or suricates) are adorable, so why not use this Lens? The “Talking Suricate” Lens uses your facial features onto this cute little guy, while changing your voice.


          Snapchat’s carousel has a good rotation of animal face Lenses, including the animal ear Lenses like Snapchat’s Dog Lens, so if you haven’t found your favorite yet, keep looking.

          Read more:

          (CNN)Fred Rogers and the Village People may come from very different neighborhoods, but the Library of Congress has brought them together in one place.

          The registry, started in 2000, adds 25 recordings each year. In acknowledgment of the coronavirus, the registry labeled the newest recordings the “Ultimate Stay at Home Playlist.”
          Rogers, the late host of the long-running children’s show on PBS, was honored for his 1973 album, “Mister Rogers Sings 21 Favorite Songs From ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.’ ”
            The Village People got onto the list thanks to their 1987 single, “Y.M.C.A.” The disco anthem is a sing-and-dance-along favorite at weddings, gay pride parades, sporting events and proms across the country.
            “The Chronic,” Dr. Dre’s 1992 album, was included because it is “regarded by many fans and peers to be the most well-produced hip-hop album of all time,” the news release from the Library of Congress said,
            Tina Turner’s 1984 album “Private Dancer” was acknowledged, along with Glen Campbell’s 1968 single “Wichita Lineman.”
              Broadway was represented with the 1964 original cast recording of “Fiddler on the Roof”; classical music with recordings such as the WGBH broadcast of the Boston Symphony on the day of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination; and sports with radio announcer Russ Hodges calling the 1951 National League tiebreaker between the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers.
              To be selected, the recordings need to be at least 10 years old and “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant,” the news release from the Library of Congress said. With the new list, the registry has 550 titles.

              Read more:

              His celestial falsetto and otherworldly sound have bewitched everyone from Stephen Colbert to Solange. Now, his second album is about to send him stratospheric

              On a nippy, drizzly February afternoon in Brooklyn, Moses Sumney is trying to track down some glasses he lost across town. Using an app, he is attempting to convince a stranger named Frank to deliver them to him. It is distracting him. Every time his phone buzzes, he is hoping its a status report. I just want to know if hes actually doing it, or if I have to do it myself like everything else! he blurts out, the last three words crescendoing theatrically. His comment is telling: for the last several years, the 28-year-old singer-songwriter and polymath has become used to doing it all.

              Sumney is preparing to release his highly anticipated second album, gr, which will complete his evolution from highly publicised indie prospect to singular musical frontiersman. His songs actively defy classification, pushing the boundaries of soul, jazz and alt-rock, while maximising a bewitching voice. His debut album, 2017s Aromanticism, an inquisitive reimagining of what lovelessness can mean, was hailed by critics as one of the years best; gr takes things further, offering up Sumneys most immersive music yet. It is also his most uncompromising work, not a double album but one album split in half, each comprising boundary-pushing sounds that exist in the margins.

              As a person, and as a presence, Sumney is the opposite. Tall and chic, he stands out at all times. Today, he is wearing a clear black tank top under a black army jacket, a trenchcoat wrapped round his shoulders. As we take seats for our interview in a nondescript studio office, he quips that the ambience makes it feel like a deposition. He offers to take off the shades hiding his eyes but would rather wear them. He does a lot of gesturing with his hands, which are adorned with gold rings. He speaks clearly and carefully at all times, as if used to being misunderstood.

              A few nights previously, Sumney made his late-night TV debut on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Surrounded by a 10-piece orchestra beneath mood lighting, he delivered a gripping performance of his latest single, Cut Me; the studio crowd, at first unsure what to expect, were won over by his penetrating falsetto. When he shuffled off stage, Colbert couldnt help but exclaim: My son played [Sumney] for me and I thought: What is that voice?!

              Sumney was born in San Bernardino, California, and spent most of his childhood there. The son of Ghanaian pastors, he never felt constricted by organised religion but found a sense of spirituality that informs the songs he makes. When Sumney was 10, the family moved back to Ghana, and he struggled with the transition. I basically didnt do well on any front: socially, academically, spiritually, emotionally, physically, he says. Its a tough time to just transition to this entirely different sort of way of life, especially because children are demonic. Growing up across two drastically different cultures divided the ways in which he self-identified. One of the many things that inspired this album was the realisation that this shift created a sort of statelessness in me, Sumney says. When Im in America, Im the African in America; when Im in Africa Im the American in Africa. So your relationship with a national identity is inherently fractured.

              After listening exclusively to country music for the first 10 years of his life, he found his calling as a singer, but his parents objected. Sumney chose to develop his skills clandestinely. He started writing his first songs when he was 12, on the school bus and in class (My grades were terrible), learning to play guitar from YouTube videos and hiding his songbook under his mattress. He didnt sing publicly until he was a teenager, when his family returned to California and he joined the high-school choir. Throughout the interview Sumney takes himself very seriously, and it is easy to see why: without any external support for his dream, the only way to see it through was with the fuel of extreme self-belief.

              At university in California, Sumney studied creative writing with a focus on poetry, a ruse to throw his parents off the music scent. I could kind of get away with saying I was getting an English degree because my mom was like: Well, you can still be a lawyer, he laughs. While there, he honed his musicianship. I begged the jazz kids at the cafe on campus to play with me, he says. He worked more diligently at the guitar, using a loop pedal so he could be self-sufficient. He learned to do it all.

              The future is green… Moses Sumney. Photograph: Christopher Lane/The Guardian

              Things moved quickly from there. When Sumney released his first EP, Mid-City Island, in 2014, he almost immediately became an indie sensation: playing sold-out shows, opening for Sufjan Stevens, befriending Solange Knowles (he later sang back-up on her song Mad). His haunting, reverbed folk songs quickly enchanted the music scene in a city full of people chasing their big breaks. I was being wined and dined fantastically by record labels and lawyers and A&R people and publishing people, and I would take every meeting because I had no food.

              However, Sumney made the active decision not to sign a record deal, because I wanted creative control. He had a day job for a while, running social media for a pizza chain (My wages were shit, but I got free pizza). Soon, he realised his larger musical vision was paying the price. I was getting quite comfortable. Thats when I was like: no, I just have to suffer. He left not long after, and it was the last job he worked. He put all of his effort into his music, resulting in 2016s Lamentations, an EP of intimate soul hymnals constructed round lightly fingered riffs. He finally released a single with Terrible Records, co-founded by Grizzly Bears Chris Taylor, and did shows with art-rock band Dirty Projectors before finally signing with current label home Jagjaguwar in January 2017.

              Sumneys sound is always shifting, and there has been some debate over where to place his music along the spectrum. It is his supernal voice that disarms listeners, that sends a tingle down the spine, but more than anything else his music is defined by its unwillingness to be categorised. As a black musician performing in many predominantly white spaces, Sumney often, wrongly, gets classified as R&B, which he rejects. I definitely rage against that, he says. I have done so, so much and it still happens. My music is just not R&B music, and thats fine. I love R&B and I think there are elements of it in the music, and on this record I went even closer to it than I have in the past. But its very obviously racist when people call me an R&B act.

              His work, he says, is difficult to define because its all over the place. When something exists that cannot so easily be categorised, people will still try to categorise it. That practice is a deep cultural flaw. He adds, somewhat flippantly, reclining in a chair that isnt built for it: I dont really care any more what people need to say in order to define me. Because the definition isnt for me its about me, but its for them. Its for their understanding. (For what its worth, he defines his sound as an amalgamation of soul, jazz, folk and experimental indie rock.)

              Soul? Jazz? Folk? Sumney at Coachella 2018. Photograph: Rich Fury/Getty

              This blurring of borders also extends into how he thinks about creating. His debut album Aromanticism, which he dubbed lovelessness as a sonic dreamscape, was a blatant pivot away from traditional songcraft about romantic love. In a 2017 Tumblr post, Sumney explained that the concept album sought to interrogate the idea that romance as personified by a destined companionship or inevitable coexistence is necessary. Instead of ballads, he sang about the absence of intimacy. The songs arent about seeking closeness but about feeling an irreconcilable distance, as demonstrated by one poignant lyric on Doomed: Am I vital / If my heart is idle?

              Gr is even less conventional in nature. The album, which Sumney worked on with musicians such as Oneohtrix Point Never, Thundercat and Adult Jazz, explores displacement from absolutes. Voiceover work from writers Taiye Selasi and Michael Chabon and actors Ezra Miller and Michaela Coel directs the experience. Greyness is a metaphor for being in between extremes, to having an identity on any scale whether it be sonic or romantic or national that is neither one thing nor the other. I wanted to really claim that space and name that space. Its the void. Its nothingness. And nothingness, to me, is not just an absence; its its own presence.

              This compulsion to wade through grey areas is inherent to me, Sumney says. Its not really something I have to try to do; its my experience. But I also consider myself a little bit of a social scientist in a way. One of the many things I would have loved to study further is sociology: the relationship between sociology and the personal, and how we internalise our socialisation.

              It has been more than an hour now and Moses Sumney still hasnt received confirmation on the status of his forgotten specs. Whens my friend going to bring my glasses? he jokingly sings in a playful cadence. Before he can get an answer, members of his team come rushing in to whisk him away into the photoshoot he is already behind schedule for. He sings his response, with the bravado of someone in a Broadway musical: Here I come!

              And then he vanishes, his black coat whizzing behind him.

              Moses Sumneys gr: Part 1 is out now, with Part 2 out on 15 May

              Read more: