Four States Announce “Re-Open” Plans
The governors of Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina are rolling out plans to “re-open” their states from the quarantines and stay-in-place restrictions stemming from the Coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to Georgia, the governors of Texas, Tennessee, and South Carolina have also announced plans to allow some businesses to open their doors in the next couple weeks.
On Monday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said he would not be extending the state’s stay-at-home order, which expires April 30, and that some businesses will be allowed to open as early as next Monday. The vast majority of businesses in 89 counties will be permitted to resume operations on May 1, Lee said.
“For the good of our state, social distancing must continue, but our economic shutdown cannot,” Lee said.
In South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order to reopen public beaches and allow some retail businesses — such as furniture stores, florists, flea markets, and department stores — to reopen beginning Monday as long as they follow social distancing measures that include limiting the number of customers inside to five people per 1,000 square feet of retail space.
And last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced plans to allow some retail businesses to reopen this Friday, though he said schools would stay closed for the rest of the academic year.
“We have demonstrated that we can corral the coronavirus,” Abbott said, according to the Texas Tribune.
But even as the governors said they were following the White House criteria in making their decision to proceed with a phased-reopening of the economy, few states are actually seeing a declining trajectory of new cases of COVID-19, even though social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders have helped flatten the curve.
Under the president’s guidelines, states should also see a decline in reports of symptoms that might represent undiagnosed COVID-19 for 14 days, and hospitals should have enough capacity to handle cases without operating in crisis mode as well as a “robust testing program” for health care workers.