Texas, Ohio and New York are among the states joining Georgia over the next several weeks in reopening parts of their operations during the coronavirus pandemic, according to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
The states are making these moves as the cases of COVID-19 in the country near 1 million, WSJ reported. Worldwide, the number of cases has surged to over 3 million, with over 210,000 deaths, Johns Hopkins University data said.
Texas, in particular, has plans to reopen a sweeping number of establishments, including retail stores, restaurants, malls, museums and libraries. Gov. Greg Abbott said it's "time to start a new course," WSJ reported.
Mississippi, Tennessee and Colorado are also among the ranks of states hungry to reopen for business, all of them anxious to welcome customers back to various businesses in the hopes of strengthening the emaciated economy since the virus forced closures nationwide in March.
Health officials have cautioned against the reopenings.
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has begun outlining a plan for phasing in a reopening, despite New York’s status as one of states with the country’s highest rates of infections. His guidelines are based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines that allow reopenings after 14 straight days without an increase in infections.
Cuomo said he would likely be expanding lockdown orders in the hardest-hit areas of the state that are set to expire in mid-May, though.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a plan this week to hire 1,000 contact tracers to help fight the virus. Contact tracing entails interviewing infected people to find out who they’ve been in contact with and where they’ve been, in the hopes of getting those people to self-isolate and slow the virus’s spread, according to The Hill.
In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy said he would have to see the number of new cases fall for 14 days, along with much more testing and adding new areas to isolate patients, according to Bloomberg. He said the risk of rushing reopening was too great to approach with anything other than caution.
“For us to rush ahead of either Pennsylvania or New York, or any of our other four state partners — or vice versa — would risk returning our entire region back into lockdown mode,” he told WSJ.
Murphy said the idea was to only “have to do this once.”
In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp went ahead with plans to reopen several sectors of the economy, including hair salons, bowling alleys, tattoo shops and more, on Friday (April 24). Kemp defended his plan from detractors, including President Donald Trump, by saying he wanted to protect the lives and also livelihoods of his state’s residents.