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  • America reopening: Dozens of states including Michigan, Ohio ease coronavirus restrictions this week  By Stephen Sorace

    Among the next wave of businesses to reopen in the state, Gov. Jim Justice allowed gyms and fitness centers, along with drive-in movie theaters, to resume services Monday.

    Insight from Michael Jarrouj, owner of The Olive Tree Cafe in South Charleston, West Virginia; Oliver Badgio, chief brand officer at Steak 44 in Phoenix, Arizona and Scott Middleton, founder of The Grand in Columbia, South Carolina. 

    The U.S. is continuing its gradual reopening this week, with more than a dozen states easing strict lockdown measures that shuttered businesses and brought the daily lives of millions of Americans to a halt for more than a month as part of a critical tradeoff to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

    States across the country believe they have “flattened the curve” of infections enough to phase in their economies under new health guidelines and restrictions to protect citizens from the COVID-19 virus.

    The U.S. on Sunday recorded 731 virus-related fatalities -- its lowest daily number of deaths since March 29 and the first time under 1,000 deaths were reported in 42 days. As of Monday morning, there were more than 1.3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 79,000 deaths in the U.S.

    The moves to reopen come as U.S. employers cut 20.5 million jobs in April, a record-shattering number that pushed unemployment to 14.7 percent, the highest level since the Great Depression. Several states who have not given timelines for reopening have faced growing unrest.

    However, dozens of states have already begun lifting restrictions to varying degrees over the past weeks.

    The following states are either lifting measures for the first time or continuing their phased roadmap to reopening.

    Alabama

    Restaurants, bars, and breweries could reopen Monday with limited seating at tables, which must be placed at least six feet apart, and additional sanitation rules.

    Barbershops, hair salons, and other close-contact service providers resumed operations under similar social distancing and sanitation guidelines.

    Gyms and fitness centers can also reopen with social distancing, although certain athletic activities will remain banned.

    A ban on gatherings over 10 people was lifted, although six feet of distance is still required between people who don’t live in the same household.

    Beaches reopened with no ban on gatherings but required six feet of social distancing between people.

    Arizona

    Restaurants and coffee shops reopened Monday with new social distancing measures.

    Last week, retail businesses began reopening, and barbershops and cosmetologists resumed appointments under new health guidelines that required staff and customers to wear masks.

    Gov. Doug Ducey last month extended the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” executive order until May 15.

    Arkansas

    Restaurants may reopen for dine-in services at 33 percent capacity Monday under new health requirements. Staff must wear masks and gloves, which must be changed between each customer or task. Patrons must wear masks until the food is served. Tables must be set at least 10 feet apart.

    On Friday, state parks are expected to reopen cabins, lodges and RV rentals to state residents.

    While no statewide stay-at-home order was imposed, Gov. Asa Hutchinson had issued restrictions that limited businesses and outdoor activities.

    Florida

    Gov. Ron DeSantis allowed barbershops, hair salons, and nail salons to reopen in all counties currently in Phase 1 of the state’s “Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step” plan.

    All counties except Broward and Miami-Dade were in Phase 1 as of Monday. The remaining two counties were expected to begin reopening May 18.

    Indiana

    Under Gov. Eric Holcomb’s “Back on Track Indiana” plan, restaurants could reopen Monday at 50 percent capacity. Bar seating will remain closed and no live entertainment is permitted.

    Hair salons, barbershops, and tattoo parlors resumed appointment-only services. Staff must wear masks and workstations must meet social distancing and sanitation guidelines.

    Kentucky

    Gov. Andy Beshear announced that manufacturing, distribution, and supply chain businesses will begin opening Monday. Office-based businesses could reopen at 50 percent capacity.

    Construction vehicle or vessel dealerships can resume operations. Pet care, grooming and boarding, and photography businesses could also resume services.

    Horse racing is allowed, although no fans will be permitted.

    Other shops such as barbers, salons, and retailers were expected to open later this month.

    Maine

    Gov. Janet Mills allowed fitness and exercise gyms to reopen statewide on Monday for outside classes of 10 or less and one-on-one sessions indoors.

    Retail stores in 12 counties could also reopen with limited capacity and new cleaning regulations.

    Michigan auto manufacturing plants to reopen; reaction from Rep. Dan Kildee, House chief deputy whip.

    Michigan

    Michigan’s manufacturing workers are allowed to return to work Monday. Workers must wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines.

    Workers must be screened daily before entering any facilities, which includes having their temperatures taken along with filling out a questionnaire covering symptoms and contact to those with possible coronavirus infections.

    Minnesota

    Elective surgeries could resume Monday.

    Last week, Gov. Tim Walz on Monday allowed retail businesses and other non-critical businesses to begin offering curbside pick-up with restrictions. Employees and customers should continue wearing protective equipment and follow social distancing guidelines.

    Mississippi now allowing dine-in restaurants, parks to reopen as well as outdoor gatherings of 20 people.

    Mississippi

    Hair salons, barbershops and gyms may begin reopening Monday with health restrictions, including social distancing and sanitary measures.

    Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves began reopening the state late last month, with most retailers allowed to operate at 50 percent reduced capacity.

    Montana

    Fitness studios, gyms, and gym pools can reopen Friday at 50 percent capacity. Museums and theaters can also reopen with limited occupancy.

    New Hampshire

    Retail stores, drive-in movie theaters, golf courses, barbershops, and hair salons reopened Monday under Gov. Chris Sununu’s guidelines to a phased reopening.

    The governor’s stay-at-home order expires May 31.

    Ohio

    Retail stores may reopen Tuesday with a limit of 10 customers at a time.

    On Friday, hair salons, barbershops, days spas, and nail salons are expected to reopen with new social distancing and sanitation rules. Restaurants are also expected to reopen Friday for outside dining, and on May 21 for indoor dining.

    Customers of some establishments may need to wait in their cars until their appointments or reservations.

    Oklahoma

    Funerals and weddings can resume Friday with social distancing measures.

    Organized sports and bars can also resume operations with similar health and safety measures.

    Oregon

    Retail stores that were previously closed, like furniture stores, art galleries, jewelry shops, and boutiques, can resume operations Friday under the state’s new health guidelines.

    Childcare, summer school, camps, and youth programs can also reopen with limitations and new guidelines.

    South Carolina

    Restaurants reopened Monday with limited dine-in services. No more than 50 percent occupancy is allowed, and tables must be spread six to eight feet apart.

    Last week, restaurants resumed outdoor dining service, with a table limit of no more than eight people.

    West Virginia

    Among the next wave of businesses to reopen in the state, Gov. Jim Justice allowed gyms and fitness centers, along with drive-in movie theaters, to resume services Monday.

     

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