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NYSE Trading Floor Reopens; Danny Meyer is Interviewed about Reopening Restaurants; 10 Killed in Chicago over Holiday Weekend; U.S. Moves up Travel Ban from Brazil; New Campaign for Covid-19 Survivor Plasma. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired May 26, 2020 - 09:30   ET




POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Look at that. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Air high fives there, as you can see. It's a big day here for confidence. A big day, Jim, for New York to have traders back.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, you noticed he was wearing a mask, as were others up there on the stage.


SCIUTTO: Traders, of course, will have to do the same. And they have some very strict guidelines to follow. They even have to sign a liability waiver.

CNN business correspondent Alison Kosik at the exchange this morning.

So, Alison, tell us what they have to do to keep safe.


You know, this is a day that is anything but business as usual as those strict social distancing measures are going to be enforced. Long before the traders get here to the New York Stock Exchange, in this phase one of reopening, they are not permitted to take public transportation. Once here, they, of course, have to wear face masks and they will have their temperatures checked.

Once on the floor, handshaking is banned. So is eating on the floor. Now traders have to actually make an appointment on when to eat in the cafeteria at the New York Stock Exchange, of course properly social distance. There is also Plexiglas on the floor as well, helping traders stay six feet apart as well.

Now, the New York Stock Exchange, is reopening, not only confronted those health and safety issues, it also confronted legal issues. When you walk through the door, anybody entering the building acknowledges that if they do get sick with Covid-19 they will not sue the NYSE and they acknowledge that they are walking into possible risks. So we see the NYSE sort of weighing both of those issues as it makes this decision to open. This historic day, of course, Poppy and Jim, a lot of symbolism here. The NYSE, of course, standing for capitalism, the economy, and confidence.

Back to you.

SCIUTTO: And health safety as well it seems.


SCIUTTO: Alison Kosik there. Thanks very much.

HARLOW: All right, we wish them a lot of luck today.

Without a vaccine, can restaurants open safely? It is a question restaurateur Danny Meyer has been asking. Over the weekend, he just started to welcome some business, of course not sit down business. He is the founder of Union Square Hospitality Group and Shake Shack. He joins me now.

Danny, I really wanted your voice on this, so thank you so much.

We talked at the beginning - you were on the podcast at the beginning of this, oh, it was three months ago or so, and you had just laid off 2,000 of your employees, which is just unimaginable. This weekend, you started a little bit of business. What can you share?

DANNY MEYER, FOUNDER & CEO, UNION SQUARE HOSPITALITY GROUP: Well, we dipped our toe in the water. And, you know, Poppy, this is really about regaining competence and morale of our team and of our guests. So we're still not able to welcome people into our restaurants, but our very, very first fore into curbside pick-up was this weekend with daily provisions. And we did breakfast service for three days with breakfast sandwiches and crullers and coffee. And so a tiny menu, but, boy, the folks came out and it felt good for our staff to be back.

HARLOW: Yes, I'm sure it did. I'm sure just for morale, too.

Look, you said something that certainly struck my attention and got a lot of people - their ears to perk up when you said just a week or two ago that full service restaurants probably will not be open, in your words, for a very long time, probably not until there's a vaccine.

Is that - is that what we're looking at, you're not going to open any of your, you know, 19 restaurants until there's a vaccine for people to sit down?

MEYER: Well, first of all, let's just understand that I'm looking at life through the glasses of New York City, which has, unfortunately, been the coronavirus capital of the country. And I think you're going to see things happen way, way before there's a vaccine in other parts of the country. And, in fact, you already are. I saw some scenes from Galatoire's (ph) in New Orleans, which kind of made me long for going back there.

But I think that when I talked about the vaccine, I didn't mean that we would wait until there was a vaccine to open. I think it's going to take a number of things for consumers to regain their confidence to go into restaurants.


MEYER: And I think it may be some type of treatment. It may be a vaccine. It may be testing of your entire staff. It may be some type of health pass where you know that everybody else who's dining there has gone through the same scrutiny you've gone through.


MEYER: It's going to take confidence. And once we have that demand and once we know it's safe, we will open our doors.

HARLOW: Danny, of the -- you know, of the, what, between 11 and 15 million people, depending on how you count it, that rely on the restaurant sector and hospitality for work, 8 million are unemployed. And you've talked about a future of restaurants where say every other table is gone. I mean, you're already working on such thin margins, even in fine dining.


I wonder if you think all those jobs will ever come back.

MEYER: I think they ultimately will come back. You know, if you just study what happened after the Spanish Flu, when we knew a whole lot less than we know now, I know they will come back, but I do think it's going to be a bit of a -- of a tough road.

This is not going to be an immediate light switch where all of a sudden everybody feels safe coming back to dine. And restaurants are going to have to gradually up their staff levels in accordance to how many people are dining there.

HARLOW: Yes. You -- obviously Shake Shack made a lot of headlines. We had the CEO, Randy Garutti, on about a month ago when you guys gave back the PPP loan money, the $10 million you had taken, because a bunch of folks didn't get it. Small businesses didn't get it in the first tranche and you guys did. And you guys had a balance sheet where you didn't end up needing it. You gave it back.

Put -- put all of that side, where we are a month later. The CEO of Best Western Hotels told me essentially on this show, PPP doesn't work for hotels because you can't bring people back to work.

Does the PPP program, Danny, really even work for restaurants when almost all of yours are closed, so you can't even bring people back?

MEYER: Yes, not -- not yet. Not yet it doesn't. And we're really, really hoping that policymakers have gotten the message that this is actually something that will backfire on the hospitality industry unless they extend the forgivable date to at least 24 weeks and not eight weeks. In order to have those loans be forgiven, you have to have hired back three-quarters of your staff by June. That just won't happen.

HARLOW: Yes, it won't.

Finally, you have also been named the co-chair of the Coalition for New York City Hospitality, Tourism and Recovery. What does that mean in terms of your outlook for New York City, right? I mean so many things, restaurants closed, Broadway closed, museums closes, you name it. What is New York City facing, do you thing, Danny, in terms of comeback?

MEYER: Well, it's going to be a tough road ahead and I think that a lot of the people who are on that committee are the same people, and I was on it right after 9/11. We realized that New York City depends upon gathering people for cultural activities, museums, Broadway, restaurants, sights. And until -- and unless we can all align and come back and bring New Yorkers back even first before tourists, it's going to be a long road ahead. So, it's an understanding that we've got to work together and that this matters a lot. It's a lot of jobs and it's the vitality of our country.

HARLOW: It certainly is. Danny Meyer, good luck to you guys. Congrats on -- on this weekend, getting a little bit open. And good luck. And thanks for being a voice.

MEYER: It's -- it's my (INAUDIBLE). Thank you, Poppy.

HARLOW: You got it.


SCIUTTO: Yes, big questions there going forward.

Still ahead this hour, the White House is shutting down travel from Brazil two days earlier than previously announced. This as cases and deaths soar in that country, even as their president denies the risks. We're going to take you there live.



SCIUTTO: Despite the stay-at-home orders, Chicago saw its deadliest Memorial Day weekend in years from gun violence.

HARLOW: Ryan Young joins us this morning from Chicago.

This deadly weekend comes despite a lot of progress, frankly, on this front that had been made in Chicago.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, guys. I've been covering, look, the violence here in this area for over five years and we've seen one of the deadliest weekends that we've seen on Memorial Day. Look, this is usually the time when we start seeing the violence sort of spike in the city because we're getting closer to summer? Ten people were killed over this weekend, 49 shot. Those are big numbers. And, of course, this is happening during a time when there was a stay- at-home order. The numbers have been spiking with Covid-19. But despite that, you had those large numbers of people being shot.

We do know there is new leadership here at the Chicago Police Department. A new superintendent just started. They are trying to change the way the department does some policing. We have seen some organizational changes as well. But when you think about this, when you see the number goes down over the last five years, this spike is something that's concerning to a lot of people because obviously with people supposed to be staying home, a big storm on Saturday, there was still an increase in shootings. And so something that we'll have to watch throughout the rest of the summer.


SCIUTTO: No question. So, yes, sad to see that back tracking.

Ryan Young in Chicago, thanks very much.

Now to the latest on the White House's ban on travelers from Brazil. It will now begin tonight, that's two days earlier than the White House had initially announced. That means anyone who's been in Brazil, in the previous 14 days, cannot enter the U.S. The ban pushed up as coronavirus cases keeps surging there. Yesterday, Brazil recorded more than 11,000 new cases, that's in one day, and 800 deaths in those 24 hours. In all, nearly 24,000 Brazilians have died so far.

HARLOW: Despite those numbers, the country's president doesn't support lockdowns or quarantines and is being accused of not taking this pandemic seriously. I think that's very clear if you just listen to his words.

Let's go to our senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh, who joins us from Sao Paulo.

Hi, Nick.


It's interesting to see whether or not this expediting of the U.S. travel ban relates to possibly the lessons learned about what happens if you tell people they can't travel to a place at a certain date, everyone rushes to try and do it before that date and possibly brings the infection and the surge with them as well. That could be the logic here. It could also be the worsening numbers, frankly, because, yes, 11,000 cases in the last 24 hour reported period isn't as bad as the 20,000 a day we were seeing at the weekend.


But this isn't really the full picture. And I hate to do down a health care system that's doing its utmost and in very difficult circumstances, but they simply don't have the testing capacity of the only country in the world with more cases confirmed than them and that's the U.S. So these numbers don't present the whole picture. And the other big problem here, of course, is the mixed messaging.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a government which initially played this down, called it a little flu. They've since moderated their rhetoric a little bit to say that the fight against it is a war. But they're putting the economy first. And everything they do and say scorning the governors. And, in fact, in a cabinet video leased by the supreme court that was essentially recorded in private, you could hear the president talk about the governors of Sao Paulo and Rio and the mayor of a town called Manaus that's been particularly heavily hit and had to dig mass graves, he referred to them as pieces of excrement, exceptionally foul language.

Manaus, we've just been in, in fact. And it's extraordinary to see the cemetery there. And it gives you an idea really as to possibly the inaccuracy of some of the numbers or simply how people just don't know how widespread the virus is. In the graveyard there, about a fifth of the 1,500 fresh graves from the pandemic era seemed to be positive confirmed cases we were told and about four-fifths are people who they think may have had the disease. So a lot of this is about symptoms and not having a test to be absolutely sure that someone has the disease.

None of that will unfortunately change what's coming down the road here, which is worsening numbers, most likely, and a peak certainly here in Sao Paulo, the biggest city with the most number of cases, which is supposed to be here in the next week or two. Regardless of what the government says about the economy being the priority, this is still going to happen.

Jim. Poppy.

HARLOW: Wow, I think those pictures of those graveyards just tells such a -- oh, such a -- such a sad story.

Nick, thank you for that reporting.

Blood plasma from coronavirus survivors may hold the key to potentially life-saving therapies. Coming up, an actual campaign to get survivors to donate their plasma and do so quickly is ahead.



HARLOW: Well, there is a growing push for coronavirus survivors to think about donating their plasma after a study found the plasma from recovered patients had helped those still fighting the virus. Those results, I should note, are preliminary, but they are showing promise.

SCIUTTO: The Fight Is In Us is a national campaign just launching this morning to get coronavirus survivors to donate and help the development of potentially life-saving therapies.

Joining us now is Diana Berrent. She's a Covid-19 survivor and the founder of Survivor Corps.

Diana, it's so good to have you on and we appreciate the work you're doing here to try to take, you know, take something from what you went through to give back.

Tell us how this would work and where the effort stands right now.

DIANA BERRENT, COVID-19 SURVIVOR: Well, thank you so much for having me on.

So what we are trying to do is we are mobilizing an army of survivors. So people like me who caught Covid, who are unlucky enough to have had the virus, but were lucky enough to come through the other side, we now have superpowers in our blood in the form of our antibodies that we can now share with both patients and with the scientific community in their effort to come up with a treatment.

So we have actually issued a call to arms, literally a call to arms, because inside the arm of every Covid-19 survivor are the antibodies that will lead us to a treatment towards a cure, towards an end of this crisis. So I believe that it is every survivor's moral obligation to give back in whatever way, shape and form they can. So we have put together a one-stop shop at which will lead you to The Fight Within Us, which is an incredible organization -- a co -- an unprecedented coalition of organizations from Microsoft, the Mayo Clinic and organizations like us, grassroots organizations like Survivor Corps, all coming together in an unprecedented effort to make sure that every survivor has an opportunity to donate.

HARLOW: Bravo to you for doing this. And we're just so glad you're better and you look perfectly healthy. But, I mean, you went through it.


HARLOW: You're young, fit and you still had to quarantine from your children and your husband for 18 days.


HARLOW: I mean you know what this is like.

I wonder if you could talk to or speak to a little bit of the stigma, the sort of survivor stigma that some people who have had Covid-19 are facing.

BERRENT: That is -- it is the real thing, which I find to be just so strange given the fact that it is literally the most contagious airborne virus we have encountered, for there to be a stigma attached to that. What I'm seeing, though, which is beautiful, on our Survivor Corps group on FaceBook, which it's an open group, everyone can join, what we are seeing now are people posting their donation selfies literally as a badge of honor. And if you scroll through the FaceBook group, you see them over and over again with hundreds and thousands of likes and accolades from other member of the group.

And so I think that that donation, that process of donation and whether it's donating plasma or participating in clinical studies, there are so many ways that we, as survivors, can use these superpowers to give back, that we're able to change that stigma because we are the ones who will lead the scientific and -- scientific, medical and academic community to the answers that they need. So many of the mysteries to this virus can be answered with our antibodies.


SCIUTTO: Well, I love that phrase, the fight is in us, and describing them as superpowers because medically, you know, that's true, this -- that could be -- the secret could be coursing through your veins right now.

BERRENT: Exactly. There's a reason -- there's a reason why we call them superheroes son Survivor Corps.

SCIUTTO: Diana Berrent, thanks so much to you. We're glad to see you happy and healthy.

BERRENT: Anyone who donates is a superhero.

SCIUTTO: Well, thanks so much to you and best of luck to your family and that effort.

BERRENT: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Still coming up in this broadcast, officials in the state of Missouri are calling on people who attended this packed pool party now to self-quarantine. One official calling this, quote, reckless behavior. We're going to speak with that health official from Missouri coming up.