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U.S. states slowly reopen after coronavirus lockdowns — some now permit visits to nursing homes

U.S. states all have their own definition of ‘reopening’

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By Silvia Ascarelli, MarketWatch


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Most people still have to visit through the window, if at all.

Some U.S. states are beginning to once again allow visits to nursing home residents, around three months after they were halted to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, but the visits are often outside and always with social distancing.

West Virginia on Wednesday said visitation by appointment can begin June 17 , if the nursing home has had no cases of COVID-19 for at least the past 14 days.

Massachusetts and Indiana , for example, already allow visits, only outside, and Ohio this week began allowing visits in assisted-living and intermediate-care facilities. In many other states, families often resort to visits through windows.

Reopening hard-hit nursing homes is one of the biggest challenges facing health officials, along with reopening schools in the fall.

At least a quarter of the country’s coronavirus death toll is nursing home residents, according to data compiled by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 60,000 cases of illness have been reported, and nearly 26,000 of those residents died.

Read: Why some nursing homes did better in protecting residents from coronavirus

States otherwise have generally allowed many businesses to reopen, each at their own pace. The New York area, the part of the U.S. hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak, has been among the slowest, but even there, many more will be open within the next week.

In New York state, all but New York City is now in the state’s “phase 2,” where offices, outdoor dining, in-store retail, barbershops and hair salons, among other businesses, are allowed to resume. In New York City, restaurants can only offer takeout and delivery

In New Jersey, outdoor dining and in-store shopping will be allowed on June 15, with restrictions. Already, outdoor gatherings of 100 people are now allowed; indoor gatherings can be 50 people if that equals no more than 25% of a building’s capacity.

Connecticut will allow indoor dining and recreation, personal services like nail salons, hotels and amusement parks, among other businesses, to reopen on June 17 , also with restrictions. Gov. Ned Lamont says about 95% of the state’s economy will then be in business.

Read: Fauci calls pandemic his ‘worst nightmare,’ warns ‘it isn’t over yet’

That puts even more focus on how quickly consumers will resume their old lives — or whether they remain restrained in their spending.

Read: See how quickly the coronavirus can spread in a restaurant in this stomach-churning black light video

Delta Air Lines /zigman2/quotes/200327741/composite DAL +0.37%   said it has added 100 flights to its domestic schedule in June, and plans to add more in September. Data from the Transportation Security Administration show the number of people flying continues to rise, but the recent high of 430,414 is well below early June levels of last year that topped 2.6 million on some days.

Gap /zigman2/quotes/206554267/composite GPS +3.00%  said reopened stores are already generating 70% or more of last year’s sales. Planet Fitness /zigman2/quotes/203234487/composite PLNT -0.60% has said that among gyms that are back in business, membership levels and visits are consistent with last year.

But CBL & Associates Properties, which owns 63 malls, warned of “substantial doubt that it will continue to operate as a going concern.” Movie theater operator AMC Entertainment Holdings /zigman2/quotes/200235402/composite AMC +14.73% warned Wednesday that “substantial doubt exists about our ability to continue as a going concern for a reasonable period.”

Among theme parks, SeaWorld Entertainment /zigman2/quotes/210357674/composite SEAS +2.73% has said it will reopen two Tampa-area theme parks on June 11. Universal has already reopened in Orlando.

Read: How to deal with coronavirus risks in a public bathroom

See: More consumers are willing to head back to stores than to dine out at restaurants, S&P Global finds

Also: Restaurant bookings have fully recovered in Germany in a sign that activity rebounds quickly as lockdowns ease

As has been the case since reopening measures began more than a month ago, states are developing their own rules on everything from what can open and under what capacity constraints to the size of gatherings to when face coverings are required. Both Maine and Alaska are waiving its 14-day quarantine rule for visitors if they can show they have been tested for coronavirus.

Read: How to stay safe from coronavirus in a public bathroom

With other states much further along in easing restrictions than New York’s tri-state area, some of the millions of people laid off since mid-March have been rehired, although the unemployment rate remains in double digits. The U.S. reported an unexpected drop in the unemployment rate for May, the first full month in which states began reopening their economies. Amid other signs that the economy is starting to dig itself out of a deep hole, the Institute for Supply Management’s services-focused survey of nonmanufacturing companies rose to 45.4% in May from 41.8% in April and a separate report showed faint signs of revival for manufacturing.

Read: Idaho could offer $1,500 bonus to people who return to work

Still unclear is how schools will reopen in the fall.

Here’s what some states have announced:

New York: Almost all of the state is now in “phase 2,” where outdoor dining, in-store retail, barbershops and hair salons can reopen; Long Island is the latest, doing so on June 10. Only New York City is in “phase 1,” where “low-risk” businesses like construction and manufacturing could reopen on June 8. Retailers can offer curbside pickup. New York City may reach “phase 2” in early July, its mayor says. Dentists across the state were allowed to reopen on June 1 . Summer day camps can reopen statewide on June 29 .

Ohio: Zoos, outdoor playgrounds, museums and indoor movie theaters, among other businesses, will reopen June 10 . Amusement parks and casinos reopen June 19. Indoor dining in restaurants was allowed to resume May 21 , with restrictions, less than a week after restaurants and bars were allowed to reopen outside. Offices, warehouses, manufacturers and construction companies reopened May 4 . Retailers and service businesses could reopen on May 12 . Hair and nail salons reopened on May 15 .

California: Counties can allow wineries, movie theaters, gyms, hotels, campground and some other businesses to reopen beginning June 12 as part of “stage 3” in its reopening plan. Hair salons and dine-in restaurants are already open in some parts of the state. In “ stage 2 ,” retails businesses, offices and child care, among others, were allowed to reopen with restrictions

Maine: The state is moving up the reopening for bars and tasting rooms in 13 rural counties to June 12, from July 1, though they are limited to outdoor service. Gyms also can reopen then. This does not include the three southernmost counties where most people live. Barber shops, hair salons and pet groomers reopened as of May 1 , as well as drive-in movie theaters, car dealers and outdoor recreation. Limited drive-in, stay-in-your-vehicle religious services are allowed. Retailers and restaurants in more rural, counties began reopening on May 8 , and the three southern counties followed on June 1. Campsites opened to Maine residents for Memorial Day weekend. All those coming to the state must quarantine for 14 days.

Indiana: Most of the state is moving to “phase 4” of its reopening plan on June 12 , two days ahead of schedule. Bars, amusement parks, movie theaters, museums and large venues, among other businesses, can open with restrictions, and offices can be staffed at full capacity. Gatherings of up to 250 people will be allowed, up from 100 people beginning May 22, when the state moved to the next phase of its reopening plan in all but three counties . Capacity limits on retail stores, which had begun to reopen on May 4 , will be lifted on June 12. Restaurants, gyms, swimming pools and campgrounds have already opened with restrictions. Recreational sports practices can begin.

Michigan: Hair and nail salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors and other personal-care businesses can begin reopening June 15 . Nonessential medical procedures resumed May 29. Retailers, including those inside malls , could begin reopening on May 26 by appointment only . Bars and restaurants in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula regions — 7.5% of the state’s population — could reopen May 22 at 50% capacity and with other restrictions. Manufacturers were allowed to reopen on May 11 after certain safety measures have been put in place. Real-estate showings have resumed. Boating and golf also are allowed. Gyms and movie theaters remain closed.

New Jersey: Outdoor bar seating has been added to businesses that can reopen on June 15 . The list already includes outdoor dining and indoor shopping at nonessential retail stores, with restrictions (curbside pickup was allowed as of May 18 ). Child-care services have already been allowed to reopen that day. Salons and barber shops can follow on June 22. Pools also can open then. Outdoor sports practice will be allowed as on June 22, and day camps can reopen on July 6. Amusement parks and arcades remain closed. Outdoor gatherings can now be 100 people , indoor gatherings can be 25 people, and the stay-at-home order has been lifted. The Jersey Shore beaches reopened on May 22, with local governments deciding how many people are allowed at a time.

Connecticut: The state’s “phase 2” takes effect June 17 and will mean 95% of the economy is open, according to the governor. Indoor dining and shopping will be allowed with restrictions, and hotels can reopen, among other businesses. Outdoor restaurant seating resumed on May 20 , with limits. Offices and retailers also could reopen then, as could campsites plus outdoor areas in zoos and museums. Summer camps will reopen June 29. State campgrounds open July 8. Anyone traveling to the state should continue to self-quarantine for 14 days .

Minnesota: The state moved into its “phase 3” on June 1 0. Restaurants and bars could open for indoor service with restrictions, and movie theaters, gyms and pools also were allowed to open.

Massachusetts: In-store shopping and outdoor restaurant dining were allowed to resume on June 8 as the state moved to “phase 2” of its reopening plan. Child-care facilities and day camps and pools, among other businesses, were also allowed to open with restrictions. Nursing home visits were allowed beginning June 3 . Boston office spaces were allowed to open on June 1. Manufacturing, construction, houses of worship and some medical treatments were allowed to reopen on May 18 with restrictions. On May 25 , hair salons, curbside pickup for retailers, office spaces outside Boston and some recreation, including beaches, could resume.

Washington: Seattle-area restaurants could begin offering limited indoor dining on June 5 . Retailers, hair and nail saloons, tattoo parlors and some other businesses also were allowed to reopen with restrictions in what is called a “modified phase 1”. The state moved to reopening on a county-by-county basis on June 1 , and 34 of 39 counties have permission to reopen in some way. Dentists reopened on May 18 . Elective medical procedures also are allowed.

Read: Here’s why you should still wear a face mask in church

Texas: The state moved into its “phase 3” on June 3 , which allowed more businesses to operate at 50% capacity and allowed some amusement parks to open. Restaurants, which were first allowed to offer indoor searing on May 1, can move up to 75% capacity on June 12. Bowling alleys, bingo halls, rodeos and some other recreational options were allowed to reopen on May 22.Child care, tattoo parlors, gyms, offices and some other businesses were allowed to reopen May 18. Day camps, overnight youth camps and pro sports minus the fans could start up on May 31. All retail stores, malls, movie theaters, libraries and museums reopened on May 1, and hair and nail salons were allowed to reopen May 8.

Florida: Indoor bars, movie theaters, concert halls and arcades could open on June 5 at 50% capacity and with other restrictions across most of the state (Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, the state’s most populous and where the most coronavirus cases have been reported are not included). Tattoo parlors and tanning salons also can reopen, and capacity limits will be lifted on other businesses, including restaurants and retailers. Theme parks are beginning to reopen; Universal Orlando is the first major one to open its doors.

The Florida Keys lifted checkpoints keeping out visitors on June 1 , and hotels there are now allowed to open at 50% capacity.

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