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More than half of US states will relax lockdowns by the end of the week

Published on 30/04/20 at 11:35am
Photo by Gage Skidmore

Nearly half of US states will have their ‘stay-at-home’ orders expire this week, paving the way for much of the US to relax its lockdowns.

Governors have begun to announce phased reopenings with Florida being one of the most prominent. Most counties will be included in relaxing the restrictions except for Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach. Republican Governor Ron DeSantis said: “These counties have seen the lion share of the pandemic, but they are trending in a positive direction. We are working with them and I do believe they will be able to move to phase one very soon.”

Florida will let restaurants and retail shops open to customers at reduced capacity.

Texas will also not renew its stay-at-home order. Beginning Friday, bars, restaurants, retail stores and move theatres can open with occupancy limited to 25%, which will expand to 50% on 18 May. Governor Greg Abbott said on easing the restrictions that: “We’re not just going to open up and hope for the best. Opening Texas must occur in phases.”

The end for COVID-19 does not seem close in the US. Currently there are over 1 million cases of the virus and at least 61,669 deaths.

Not all states are going ahead with reopening on Friday. Governor Doug Ducey extended the stay-at-home order until at least 15 May, while California Govenor Gavin Newsom said that reopening schools and businesses is weeks away.

However, despite multiple states reopening, 210 million Americans will still live in regions with no announced date for easing the lockdown.

The reopening of certain parts of the country will serve as a case study for the states that are holding off. Many fear the second wave that has hit Singapore could manifest in the US. Singapore tackled the virus far more effectively than the US has managed too at this point. Outbreaks at crowded workers dormitories have seen the small city state face a new 1,111 cases of COVID-19 taking its total to 9,125. It has since extended its lockdown by another 4 weeks.

Cases and deaths are still rising across the US, and the amount of testing varies across different states. Much of Europe has been in lockdown for longer than the US, with the UK not having any date for reducing its restrictions. France, Spain and Italy have had even stricter measures that they are partially relaxing this month.

Conor Kavanagh

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