French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said that nonessential merchants could open again beginning May 11, but they will be able to require that customers wear masks, Reuters reported. Philippe also said per the report that limitations would remain for train travel of long distances and that Paris metro service would be bolstered to let individuals get to their jobs while still following social distancing. But he noted that individuals should keep working from home, when feasible, even after May 11, the day scheduled for a gradual relaxation of lockdown procedures.
And merchants in Germany aimed to convince the government to allow all shops to have regular operations beginning on May 4, Reuters reported. The HDE, which is a national organization of retailers, had panned the decision only to let smaller shops open again. It claimed the move wasn’t fair for larger chains and unclear for shoppers while noting that small and large stores could adhere to the rules. Shops with a maximum of 800 square meters could reopen last week in addition to bookstores, bicycle shops, and car dealers, assuming they follow stringent hygiene and social distancing procedures.
In other news, visits to retail shops in the United States rose last week amid the relaxation of limitations put into place to combat COVID-19 in select states, Reuters reported, noting cell phone information assembled by Unacast. Those in the U.S. made over 103 million stops at retail locations throughout the country on April 25, which was higher than 86 million on the Friday before (yet 20 percent under the previous year.) Unacast, for its part, maps cell phone location information collected via applications and relates it to a broad scope of travel facilities, stores, and consumer-facing retail outlets.
On another note, the government of Spain put forward a multi-phase plan to take away one of the most stringent COVID-19 lockdowns on the continent, Reuters reported. Pedro Sanchez, the country’s prime minister, noted that the relaxation of measures would commence May 4 and be different between provinces. Sanchez said, according to the report, “We are starting to glimpse an outcome that will be a reward for the huge collective effort made over the past weeks.” Eateries can begin opening terraces at a maximum of 30 percent of their capacity over the first phase. Remote work, however, will be advised when it’s an option.
And New York Governor Andrew Cuomo referred to the possibility of New York City and the downstate region opening again in two weeks as a “miracle,” Bloomberg reported. The state has been “on pause” as of March 22. Companies have been closed by an order that ends on May 15, with the governor saying reopenings and re-closings would depend on the information on hand. And, for the first time, New Jersey registered a greater rise in COVID-19 deaths than the Empire State.