Some Coronavirus Reopenings Delayed Because Of Protests; Chicago, Philadelphia Reconsider
The nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd have delayed the reopenings of places shut down by coronavirus fears—from Miami beaches to Minnesota’s Mall of America—while Chicago and Philadelphia are considering slowing reopening efforts planned for this week.
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Beaches in Miami-Dade County were scheduled to reopen on Monday, but the closure there will now stay in effect indefinitely, Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced this weekend, after protests in the area gave way to rioting and looting, while the Mall of America in Minnesota and the upscale South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California have also called off planned reopenings.
In Philadelphia—the site of widespread looting over the weekend—the city’s Nasdaq floor was supposed to reopen Monday, but that has also been pushed back without a clear reopening date, with Nasdaq reportedly reviewing the situation “on a daily basis.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has indicated the unrest might mean Philadelphia’s planned move to a “yellow phase” of lessened restrictions at the end of this week, which would lift the stay-at-home order and allow restaurants to resume some dine-in service, might have to be delayed.
In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said on Monday that the city has not decided whether it will go forward with entering Phase 3 of its reopening on Wednesday, which would allow for barbershops, offices and retail businesses, among others, to reopen.
The mass protests seen across the U.S., which has had the most coronavirus infections of any country in the world, has raised concerns among health officials that the demonstrators could aid in sparking a second wave of infections.
That concern has led officials in cities like Chicago and Atlanta to ask that anyone who was out protesting to go into a voluntary 14-day self-quarantine.
Sunday marked the seventh day of widespread protests following the death of Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin held his knee to Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, which was captured on video. The protests, many of which seem to have thousands of people violating recommended social distancing guidelines, comes as much of the nation has seen a drop in coronavirus cases, which health officials in large part attribute to following social distancing measures. Most of the protesters have been pictured wearing masks, though.
The protests come as health officials were already concerned about scenes that appeared over Memorial Day weekend that showed massive crowds—some even larger than in normal years—in popular vacation spots.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Health experts have said the effects of a large gathering potentially causing spread wouldn’t be reflected in coronavirus data for two weeks, since there is usually a lag in symptoms showing up and tests being reported.
Will Protests Set Off a Second Viral Wave? (The New York Times)