COVID-19 Updates: Southerners are Ready to Get Back to Work

Summary of Coronavirus Live Updates: Southern States Move to Reopen as Outbreak Continues to Spread in Parts of U.S. published in New York Times, April 20, 2020.

A number of states including South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee have eased restrictions by allowing various small business to reopen, despite the outbreak worsening in some parts of the U.S. Many of these businesses include many retail shops such as department stores and flea markets as well as gyms, hair and nail salons, and tattoo parlors. Next Monday, Georgia residents will be able to dine at restaurants and go to the movies. Most Tennessee businesses will be able to reopen on May 1, one day after the stay-at-home order expires.

President Trump has been very vocal about advising states to start reopening businesses to hopefully trigger economic recovery, although the ultimate decision is left to the states. He envisions U.S. citizens to gradually return to work and school in an "Opening Up America Again (OUAA)" plan that is laid out in three phases.

Phase One: Restaurants, movie theaters, sporting venues, places of worship and gyms can reopen if they observe strict social distancing. Phase Two: Schools, organized youth activities (like camps), parks, outdoor recreational areas, shopping centers, restaurants, movie theaters, and other large venues can reopen so long as moderate social distancing is respected. Nonessential travel can also resume. Phase Three: Public interactions can once again take place, unrestricted staffing of workplaces can resume, and large public venues can operate under social distancing rules. Visits to senior centers and hospitals can resume. Ohio became the new coronavirus hotspot after at least 1,828 inmates (almost three-quarters of the prison population) had tested positive. Roughly 1 in 5 confirmed cases in Ohio state are linked to the state’s prison system. The outbreak has begun to level off in some parts of the U.S. For example, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that 478 more people died in New York, making this the lowest single-day death toll in roughly two weeks. However, the virus continues to grow in some states and regions, particularly in Massachusetts where the total number of confirmed cases is now over 38,000 and the death toll is over 1,700.

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Taylor Weyeneth is Editor-in-Chief at DC Intervention, is the former deputy chief of staff to the White House drug policy office and is the managing director of 20K Strategies, a political operations and public policy strategy firm. He is a thought leader for addiction, mental health, and workforce development.

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