The economy is starting to feel the deeper effects of COVID-19

iStock/Gwengoat(NEW YORK) — Businesses entering their second week of closure across America are starting to feel the deeper effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.  GAP, which is one of the nation’s largest retail chains, announced Monday it will furlough the majority of its North American workforce. 

The decision to furlough employees comes as shopping declines across the nation, with clothing sales dropping significantly since the start of the outbreak.  

Workers will continue to receive benefits during the furlough and corporate leaders will take a pay cut.

Sonia Syngal, the president and CEO of Gap Inc., announced “We are doing everything we can to provide support during this time, and we are intensely focused on welcoming back our store teams and customers as soon as we are able.”

Macy’s and Khol’s announced similar measures on Monday.  The decision to furlough employees follows the announcement made by Nordstrom last week, a decision that affected 80 percent of its workforce.

This comes as President Donald Trump announced on Sunday that he will expand the nation’s social distancing guidelines to April 30 because “The modeling estimates that the peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks.”

This means that large public gatherings will be banned, travel restrictions will remain in place, and closures will still affect schools and businesses.

Despite retail stores contracting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the stock markets had a slight rebound on Monday following weeks of declines.  

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 690 points, which is slightly above three percent.  The S&P 500 gained 3.3 percent while the Nasdaq rebounded 3.6 percent. 

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