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COVID-19

Here’s what to read and stream for free during the COVID-19 pandemic

Janet Nguyen Mar 20, 2020
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With businesses, theaters, libraries and event spaces across the U.S. shuttering in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, many organizations have decided to make their content more accessible to those in self-isolation. 

As you’re trying to decide what to watch or read while you’re staying home, we’ve compiled a list of places where you can access free TV shows, books, movies, concerts and more.

What you can read:

JSTOR

JSTOR, a digital library that normally requires a subscription, has announced that 6,000 of its ebooks and more than 150 journals will be freely available to the public.

Scribd

This online library, containing ebooks, audiobooks and magazine articles, is making all of its content accessible for free for 30 days.

Project Muse

Through this online database, a large number of publishers are also making their scholarly content temporarily available. They include the Music Library Association, which has articles on music history; the National Bureau of Asian Research; and the University of California Press.

What you can stream or listen to:

HBO Now and HBO Go

HBO is making 500 hours of programming available to those without subscriptions starting on Friday, April 3. Some of the shows include “Succession,” “The Wire” and “Six Feet Under,” while movies include “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” and  “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”

National Theatre Live 

The National Theatre in London will begin broadcasting a play every Thursday on its YouTube channel, starting April 2 at 2 p.m. Eastern. The videos will be available to stream a week after they launch. The first production slated to air is Richard Bean’s “One Man, Two Guvnors,” starring James Corden, followed by adaptations of Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre” and Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island.”

Kanopy

Kanopy lets you stream more than 30,000 documentaries, classic and indie films — including popular movies of recent years like “Moonlight” and “Lady Bird.” This content is available to those with a public library card or a university login.

Monterey Bay Aquarium live cams

Sea otters, sharks and penguins. Need we say more?

The Metropolitan Opera

New York’s Metropolitan Opera House will broadcast events as part of its “Live in HD” series. They’ll start at 7:30 p.m. ET and be available on the homepage, metopera.org, for 20 hours. Next week: “Wagner Week,” with five days of performance of the 19th-century German composer’s work.

Sling TV 

This online service, owned by Dish Network, is making a some of its content available for free. Selections include ABC News Live and shows like “Shameless” and “3rd Rock from the Sun.”

Marketplace podcasts

Oh, hi. Whether you want to learn more about the coronavirus and the economy, or *anything but*, we’ve got a list of episodes for you to stream.

How organizations are trying to make your life easier:

Netflix Party: a Google Chrome extension

Movie night doesn’t have to be in person anymore. This extension allows you to watch Netflix with friends and family from afar.

Penguin Random House open license

By creating a temporary online license, Penguin Random House is giving teachers, librarians and booksellers permission to create story time and read-aloud videos and live events, using their books. 

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

It’s still the question on everyone’s minds: What’s going on with extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

The $600-a-week payments have ended, officially, as of July 31. For now, there is no additional federal pandemic unemployment assistance. House Democrats want to renew the $600 payments. Senate Republicans have proposed giving the unemployed 70% of their most recent salary by this October, when state unemployment offices have had time to reconfigure their computer systems to do those calculations. Until then, jobless workers would just get another $200. But, nothing has been agreed upon yet.

What’s the latest on evictions?

For millions of Americans, things are looking grim. Unemployment is high, and pandemic eviction moratoriums have expired in states across the country. And as many people already know, eviction is something that can haunt a person’s life for years. For instance, getting evicted can make it hard to rent again. And that can lead to spiraling poverty.

Which retailers are requiring that people wear masks when shopping? And how are they enforcing those rules?

Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, CVS, Home Depot, Costco — they all have policies that say shoppers are required to wear a mask. When an employee confronts a customer who refuses, the interaction can spin out of control, so many of these retailers are telling their workers to not enforce these mandates. But, just having them will actually get more people to wear masks.

You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.

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