Apr 24, 2020 - Health

Southern states plunge into coronavirus reopenings

Joe Farley wears a mask as he gets a haircut at the just reopened Salon À la Mode in Dallas. Photo: LM Otero/AP

Multiple states are preparing to plunge into the unknown with partial coronavirus reopenings for non-essential businesses, and Georgia and Oklahoma will lead the way.

Why it matters: We have no idea how this will go, but experts emphasize that prematurely lifting the lockdowns could create a surge in new cases.

Between the lines: Some of these states are loosening their rules for the benefit of rural areas, while letting urban mayors keep tighter rules in place.

  • Governors have watched their economies go off the cliff, with no idea of if or when the federal government will step in to help city and state governments.

In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp's plan allows gyms, bowling alleys, nail salons and hairdressers to open Friday. Movie theaters and restaurants can open on Monday.

  • "Democratic mayors in Atlanta, Savannah and Albany, which had one of the worst outbreaks in the U.S., have complained about the order itself and the fact that they didn't know it was coming," Bloomberg reports.
  • Trump tweeted his lukewarm disapproval: "Spas, beauty salons, tattoo parlors, & barber shops should take a little slower path, but I told the Governor to do what is right for the great people of Georgia (& USA)!"

In Oklahoma, Gov. Kevin Stitt authorized personal-care businesses to open reports.

  • Some of the state's largest cities, including Norman, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, won't be lifting their bans until at least the end of the month.

In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott is preparing to roll out partial reopenings for restaurants and hair salons.

  • We're gonna be making an announcement opening so many different types of businesses, where you're gonna be able to go to a hair salon, you're gonna be able to go to any type of retail establishment you want to go to — different things like that," he told a Lubbock radio host on Wednesday.

Go deeper

Jun 3, 2020 - Health

DeSantis says Florida bars and clubs can reopen this week

Outdoor restaurant in Fort Lauderdale on May 18. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday that bars and clubs will be allowed to reopen on Friday, as the state continues to scale down restrictions it put in place because of the coronavirus, WCTV reports.

Why it matters: DeSantis ordered bars and clubs to close in mid-March as one of the first actions the state took to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Updated 11 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The Department of Health and Human Services moved on Thursday to require that an individual's race, ethnicity, age and sex be submitted to the agency with novel coronavirus test results.

Why it matters: Some cities and states have reported the virus is killing black people at disproportionately high rates. There are gaps in the national picture of how many people of color are affected, since the data has not been a requirement for states to collect or disclose.

Cities' budget woes worsen with increased social unrest

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Cities were already furloughing workers and considering cutting back essential services — including public safety — because of the dramatic drops in the local tax revenue that funds them. Now they're also dealing with turmoil in their streets.

Why it matters: "Unfortunately, the increasing levels of social unrest across the country reallocated efforts and scarce resources away from the former focus of getting state, regional and local economies back to some semblance of normalcy," per Tom Kozlik, head of municipal strategy and credit at HilltopSecurities.