It's May 1 and the rent's due for tens of millions without any sort of fallback protections, as the number of unemployment claims has now hit 30 million over the last six weeks, and millions more unemployed are going uncounted because of overloaded systems. Against this backdrop, Florida is reopening businesses and beaches on Monday as the state records its highest number of COVID-19 deaths to date.
Florida will reopen certain businesses throughout much of the state on Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said.
"We will get Florida back on its feet by using an approach that is safe, smart, and step by step," DeSantis said on Wednesday.
DeSantis said restaurants and retail spaces could let customers inside, but only at 25% capacity, and people must adhere to social distancing guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Restaurants can offer outdoor seating if tables are 6 feet apart.
"Outdoor transmission, as far as we've seen, has been more difficult than the indoor climate controlled transition," the governor said, adding that medical officials recommended the outdoor seating change.
Movie theaters can't reopen yet.
"I just think it's practically difficult to do the social distancing," the governor said. "Indoor environments I think are more likely for transmission, so even though you could have done that on phase one, I think prudence dictates that we go a little slow on that."
Bars, fitness centers and places that offer personal services, likes hair styling, also will open later.
People can schedule non-urgent surgeries again, he said, though it depends on a hospital's ability to handle surges in cases and availability of protective equipment.
Schools will continue to hold online classes, he said.
DeSantis said the new measures he announced would not include three of the counties hit hardest by coronavirus. They are Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, which account for about 6.2 million of Florida's residents, according to US Census data.
Texas too is opening up businesses and public areas starting today, and yes, that state just hit a new high in recorded COVID-19 deaths as well.
Texas reported 50 more COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, the most in any one day since the state reported its first deaths in mid-March.
The state also reported it had added more than 1,000 new positive cases of COVID-19, the biggest one-day increase in infections since April 10.
The numbers came out less than 9 hours before Gov. Greg Abbott was set to lift restrictions on many businesses, allowing malls, movie theaters, retail stores and restaurants to begin operating at 12:01 a.m. Friday. Those types of businesses can only operate at 25 percent of their maximum capacity for the next two weeks under Abbott’s phased re-opening plan. After that, if things are going well, Abbott has said those places can go to 50 percent occupancy.
Abbott’s statewide stay-at-home order expires at the end of Thursday.
Georgia makes three Southern red states.
Gov. Brian Kemp will lift a statewide shelter-in-place order for most of Georgia’s 10.6 million residents starting Friday as he continues to roll back coronavirus restrictions, though he urged Georgians to stay at home when possible to contain the pandemic.
The order requires elderly and “medically fragile” residents to shelter in place until June 12, and it calls for businesses to follow existing restrictions through May 13 in order to remain open.
But Kemp told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that it was time to lift other measures to help revive Georgia’s tattered economy, emphasizing that an increase in testing and greater hospital capacity factored into his decision.
“What we’ve done has worked,” Kemp said in the interview. “It’s given us time to build our hospital infrastructure capacity, get ventilators and ramp up testing. That’s what really drove our decision.”
Democrats and others criticized the move, warning that Kemp’s decision risks spreading a disease that’s already killed more than 1,100 Georgians. Some offered a reminder that President Donald Trump was “totally” opposed to Kemp’s earlier steps.
Pushing back, Kemp said Georgians “can have confidence even if they disagree” with him that he’s relying on advice from health experts to arrive at his decision.
In all three states millions of people, and tens of millions more in the weeks ahead as more states "reopen" like Ohio and Kentucky, must now face the choice of returning to work during an ongoing pandemic or losing unemployment. For some of them there is no choice.
Somebody still has to take care of the kids.
As of this writing, 43 states have closed schools through the end of the academic year. That list does not include New York state, where Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio continue to joust over the issue. But if you are a tri-state area resident who expects to send your kid to school before the fall, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.
For most families, there is no child care without school. In America, school is pretty much the only free or subsidized child care our government provides. Without reliable, affordable, and Covid-free child care, going back to work is simply not an option for many parents.
The school closings only deepen a reoccurring problem most parents face: the summer. In a society that has decided to outsource child care responsibilities to the school system, the fact that this system goes on an annual months-long holiday is already a nightmare for working parents.
Now, the coronavirus pandemic is blowing apart the kinds of summer child care relief that parents rely on. Summer school is not happening. Summer camp is not happening. Summer youth sports leagues are not happening. The coronavirus makes it dangerous to dump your little disease vectors with their grandparents. Where the hell are parents supposed to put their kids during long summer days when they’re supposed to go back to work?
Don't know, don't care. Work's open, daycares aren't. Go to work, wear your mask, pray you don't get sick, cause if you do, you get fired. Rent's due, serfs. Get to work or you're all out on the streets.
Or maybe, maybe it's time for a general strike.