Thoughts on the Coronavirus Pandemic: These are Extraordinary Times
By: Scott Schenkel, Interim CEO
The coronavirus pandemic is top of mind for much of the world, including our customers, employees and community. Our priority is the safety and well-being of our team and customers. Like you, we have been closely monitoring COVID-19 as it continues to develop and we are making important decisions based on the advice of global and local healthcare authorities. These are truly extraordinary times with uncharted circumstances.
The past few weeks also have reminded us of what makes eBay so special — the power of our collective community. It was true 25 years ago when our founder, Pierre, pioneered ecommerce under the notion that people are basically good. And it is still true today.
We are humbled as we see both our seller and employee communities around the world galvanizing to help one another beyond our platform.
Within their physical communities and online, we’ve seen sellers offer encouragement, business tips and even supplies. Longtime eBay seller Laurie Wong of Reflections of Trinity, who has always demonstrated a commitment to her community, is supporting local children. She is working with her local government and school district to give lunches to kids affected by school closures in Powder Springs, Georgia. She’s already distributed more than 500 boxes of groceries.
In the United Kingdom, we’ve also heard from sellers like Mark Brown, of the Editors Keys store, who are lending a helping hand to support neighborhood businesses. Mark and his staff have shared they're supporting restaurants and cafes by buying vouchers for a future meal to enjoy later down the line, helping those businesses relieve cash pressure.
In South Korea, our employees have rallied together to donate approximately $84,000 worth of hand sanitizers and masks to paramedics, caretakers and others in one of the most impacted areas, the Daegu-Gyeongbuk region. Our Korean team also has collected thousands of sanitary items to donate to local hospitals and residents.
How We’re Supporting Our Customers and Employees Around the World
We are a human company where patience, understanding and empathy guide the approach to how we work. This moment is no different. We’re committed to supporting each other and making sure that we deliver for our customers around the world. With that, here are some steps on how we are keeping the safety and well-being of our team and customers our top priority:
For our sellers: We’re reaching out to the millions of sellers who depend on our platform with guidance and to see how we can help. We also remain in close contact with our service carriers and will extend seller protections should services become interrupted. Sellers can find more information in our community center.
For our buyers: We understand that buyers are seeking important resources and supplies during this time. On our marketplace, we have been taking significant measures to block or quickly remove items that make false health claims or are in violation of price gouging rules. This is to comply with regulatory restrictions and protect consumers from unfair pricing.
For our employees: In an effort to protect our employees worldwide throughout this event, we’ve asked many to work remotely from home, following guidance from local health and government authorities. Our contract workers, who help keep our business running every day, will continue to be paid during this time. We also made the decision to restrict non-essential international travel and more recently domestic business travel for the time being, and we issued protective measures to restrict events and visitors at our offices.
For our community: Through the eBay Foundation, we are investing into our community to support small businesses during this time, as well as the Bay Area’s broader COVID-19 response efforts. We’re proud to support Alice, the Opportunity Fund and Small Business Majority, who are committed to helping underrepresented small business owners get the critical resources and funds they need. We are also supporting the Silicon Valley Community Fund’s COVID-19 Regional Response Fund to support low-income individuals and families who are being most severely affected and to SVCF's Regional Nonprofit Emergency Fund, which supports leading Bay Area organizations in addressing COVID-19 related challenges, including distance learning needs and housing insecurity. These are pooled funds that provide flexibility to address needs as they continue to evolve.
We hope that everyone stays safe and healthy during this time.