Trump to meet Waffle House, Wynn, Toyota executives on economy


President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with supply chain distributors in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 29, 2020.

Al Drago | Reuters

Executives from Wynn Resorts, Hilton, Toyota North America and Waffle House are among those meeting with President Donald Trump on Wednesday to discuss reopening the U.S., according to people familiar with the matter.

The people, who requested anonymity because the list of attendees is not yet public, said other executives will be in attendance as well. 

Trump has been soliciting feedback from a wide range of executives on when and how to reopen businesses that have shuttered their doors amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesman for Toyota confirmed the company’s attendance at the meeting Wednesday.  

“Toyota announced its intention to ramp up its North American manufacturing operations in May. As a result, Toyota was invited to the White House to be part of a discussion highlighting a group of companies that are ramping up their operations,” the spokesman said. 

“While we are eager to restart our manufacturing operations, we will do so in compliance with federal health and safety guidelines, and local and state ordinances where our facilities are located. The health and safety of our employees and stakeholders remain a top priority and we have implemented new protocols at all of our North American manufacturing plants to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

A spokesman for Hilton said he could “confirm that Hilton representatives are planning to be at the White House today.” He directed CNBC to a release earlier this week outlining the chain’s plans for an “industry-defining standard of cleanliness and disinfection in Hilton properties around the world.”

A spokesperson for Waffle House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The restaurant chain is based in Georgia. It has already begun to reopen hundreds of restaurants in its home state, where GOP Gov. Brian Kemp has called on businesses to restart operations. 

“The role we’re trying to play right now is to help the country and help ourselves figure out how to deal with the virus being with us for some time and how to get our businesses prepared to provide jobs and opportunities for our people,” Waffle House CEO Walt Ehmer told CNBC on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for Wynn also did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The chain earlier told the Las Vegas Review-Journal it is “accepting reservations beginning Memorial Day weekend,” by which point the casino-hotel company “can have all of our protective guest and employee measures in place.”

Restaurants and hotels have been among the industries hardest hit by the shutdown and will be on the front lines of any plans to reopen. The auto industry has been battered as companies have been forced to stop production in order to protect workers. 

Earlier this month, the Trump administration laid out guidelines and timelines for the country to allow employees to start returning to work – but the decision will ultimately be made by state governors.

Vice President Mike Pence said this past Thursday that 16 states had unveiled “formal reopening plans” to lift coronavirus restrictions. 

Georgia is among the states that has already begun to open up business, starting with salons, gyms and tattoo parlors and followed by restaurants and movie theaters on Monday.

— CNBC’s Mike Wayland and Amelia Lucas contributed to this report. 


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