Business, Government Operate Under New Rules, Market Rallies
The outbreak of the coronavirus has dealt a shock to the global economy with unprecedented speed. Following are developments Monday related to national and global response, the work place and the spread of the virus.
DAY AFTER: States are trying to figure out the safest way to restart their economies despite conflicting guidance out from Washington. The same goes for companies.
— When Apple begins opening stores in the U.S., it will be handing out masks that will be mandatory to customers who don’t have one, doing temperature checks and limiting the number people inside.
Deep cleanings will occur at stores throughout the day. Stores will also have curbside drop off and pickup available. Apple has reopened nearly 100 stores worldwide.
— The Children’s Place plans to reopen stores in 10 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Utah. More than 40% of U.S. stores are in areas where they are unauthorized to open again.
Workers will be wearing masks and customers will be encouraged to do so. Fitting rooms, bathrooms and water fountains in stores will remain closed and returned items will not be returned for display for 24 hours.
TRAVEL & LEISURE: Tourist destinations are beginning to release reopening dates, but there will be new rules in place governing activities and the number of people allowed.
— The Florida Keys will reopen to tourists on June 1, more than two months after the island chain put up check points to limit outsiders. Those will be removed next month, according to Monroe County Emergency Management. Hotels and other lodging establishments will be allowed to reopen at 50% occupancy. The businesses must implement sanitation stations and follow the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s cleaning guidelines for COVID-19.
— New Hampshire restaurants were allowed to begin serving customers for outdoor dining on Monday.
— Ryanair is cutting around 3,000 jobs and is looking at pulling out of a number of airports in Europe. The budget Irish carrier cut the number of passengers it expects to fly this year from 154 million, too 100 million last week. It cut that again Monday to about 80 million.
GOVERNMENTS & CENTRAL BANKS: Dozens of economies are either heading for a recession, or area already there. On Monday, that designation become official in Japan. Countries are trying to general economic activity with new parameters.
— Greece reopened the Acropolis in Athens and other ancient sites Monday, along with high schools, shopping malls, and leisure travel. There is some urgency. The EU Commission warned that Greece is likely to suffer the worst recession in the EU bloc this year.
— Ireland is taking its first steps out of lockdown, with some stores reopening and outdoor work resuming. Garden centers, hardware stores and opticians are among the businesses being allowed to open Monday.
— Scotland could begin easing its lockdown measures by the end of the month. The country has clashed with London over the lifting of restrictions. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Monday that if progress is made in reducing the spread of the coronavirus, Scots may be allowed to meet people in other households, and some sporting events may be permitted.
— Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan eased lockdown restrictions Monday. In Kazakhstan’s capital, some mosques, markets cafes and restaurants reopened Monday. In Azerbaijan, cafes and restaurants reopened in the capital, Baku, and four others cities.
— Thousands of people in Bosnia who lost their jobs over the past two months have been blocked by cumbersome and lengthy application procedures from accessing unemployment benefits they had been promised by the government. According to incomplete official statistics, over 30,000 people have lost their jobs in Bosnia since March.
Experts warn that many of those jobs will be lost for good, dealing a heavy blow to the country of some 3.5 million people where nearly 40% of the labor force had been unemployed prior to the pandemic.
MARKETS: After suffering the sharpest sell-off since mid-March, when the virus spread rapidly in the U.S., Wall Street and global markets appear to be bouncing back.
— U.S. markets rebounded Monday from losses last week after the head of the U.S. Federal Reserve expressed optimism that the American economy might start to recover this year.
HOPE RALLY: — Shares of the pharmaceutical company Moderna surged 25%, and U.S. markets surged higher, after it said Monday that early data from testing of its coronavirus vaccine shows that it helped create immune responses that might help prevent against infection. The company also deemed the vaccine “generally safe and well tolerated” by the individuals that took it.