By Shanee Goldman ‘23, Staff Writer
Just over three months after the first case of COVID-19 was detected in the U.S., some parts of America are gradually beginning to reopen. On April 24, Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia allowed self-care facilities and gyms to resume business, although there are over 28,000 reported coronavirus cases in his state. Soon after, on April 27, restaurants and theatres reopened with limited social-distancing rules in place.
The process of reopening is not limited to Georgia. Florida, which has seen nearly 37,000 cases and about 1,400 deaths from COVID-19 as of May 4, began to lift some of the restrictions too. Governor of Florida Ron Destantis has reopened parks and beaches. Southeast Florida, including counties such as Palm Beach and Broward which have been hit harder by the coronavirus than any other counties in the state, is set on reopening as well, but at a slower rate.
Beginning on May 1, Colorado allowed clothing stores and barber shops to open. Governor Jared Polis asked that people maintain social distancing and that the most vulnerable citizens continue to stay home to ensure safety. Most states that are reopening are doing so to allow in-person recreational activities and doctors’ appointments.
However, despite many protests, religious gatherings are still prohibited in many states, due to the health risk posed by having so many people in one place.
Israel, one of the first countries to order quarantine, had not reported any cases for four consecutive days as of May 3. Israeli schools have since reopened for the first time in seven weeks, with grades first through third and eleventh and twelfth returning to school and the rest being scheduled to go back later this month. However, like other places beginning to reverse the lockdown, Israel is still taking health measures. Classes have been divided into smaller groups and teachers over the age of 65 as well as those with preexisting health conditions are not authorized to return to work. Still, many districts are apprehensive due to the unclear guidelines set by the Education Ministry. Some schools have chosen not to reopen out of fear that children will get sick.
Because everybody is so eager to resume normal life, many refuse to accept that cases must be declining for at least two weeks before states are safe to reopen. States known as “hotspots” of the virus are watching other areas closely to see if it is worth reopening the economy or whether it puts too many people at risk. If reopening causes another spike in cases, these decisions might set us back and extend the lockdown.