While many countries around the world are starting to slowly reopen their borders to tourists from specific countries only, states across America have seen tougher measures brought in to stop the spread of covid-19.
The latest news that at least 29 states have seen cases of coronavirus increase has seen governors who had once encouraged tourism to their areas now start clamping down on businesses who are appearing to flout the rules.
Since covid-19 first appeared in December 2019 cases have increased to nearly 9.5 million cases, with America having around 2.5 million of those cases and heading towards 125,000 fatalities. Numbers of confirmed cases have continued to increase although President Donald Trump has continued to claim that the higher number of cases is due to the increased number of testing, posting on Twitter “It makes it look like we have more cases, especially proportionally, than other countries.”
This week California has seen the number of citizens going into hospital increase with 3,700 admitted and over 5,000 positive coronavirus results in one day alone. However it is worth noting that ‘superspreaders’ are starting to be blamed for spreading the virus, including one person who infected twelve people at a large family gathering as well as an infection surge amongst prisoners in the San Quentin prison.
Despite being one of the first states to re-open, Texas has also seen a spike in new cases with more than 4,000 cases being reported each day, an increase of 169% compared to two weeks ago. This has led to Governor Greg Abbott tightening restrictions in the area again and advising residents to stay home where possible stating, “We want to make sure that everyone reinforces the best safe practices of wearing a mask, hand sanitization, maintaining safe distance, but importantly, because the spread is so rampant right now, there’s never a reason for you to have to leave your home.” He continued to reiterate the need to stay home saying, “Unless you do need to go out, the safest place for you is at your home.”
Another state to see a significant increase in the number of daily cases of the virus is Florida who has seen figures jump to around 3,300 cases a day, an increase of 173% in the last two weeks. Governor Ron DeSantis has courted some controversy with his comments after he blamed the surge on groups of ‘overwhelmingly Hispanic’ farmworkers, citing the poor working and living conditions they may experience saying, “Some of these guys go to work in a school bus, and they are all just packed there like sardines, going across Palm Beach County or some of these other places, and there’s all these opportunities to have transmission.”
Since those comments it appears that several bars and restaurants in the state have not been complying with a 50 per cent occupancy order and steps are being taken to hand any establishments caught violating the order a warning. The announcement came after Knight’s Pub in Orlando was shut down following the news that 13 of their employees had received positive results for coronavirus alongside revelations that the pub had been at almost full capacity just before the staff became ill.
DeSantis announced, “If they’re operating at 55 percent OK give them a warning tell them hey 50. But if you go in and it’s just like mayhem like Dance Party USA and it’s packed to the rafters. That’s just cut and dry and that’s not just an innocent mistake.”
DeSantis went on to warn businesses that if they break state rules they would receive a visit from “the grim reaper for business licenses” Halsey Beshears, the Secretary for the Department of Business and Professional Regulations.
In New Jersey, images of bars and restaurants that appeared to be over the capacity limit have been circulating on social media, prompting Governor Phil Murphy to comment, “Folks should know that we can’t look the other way on this. Can you blame people for coming out and letting their hair down a little bit? … But we are going to have to tighten up.”
With the state having the third highest number of confirmed cases – at the time of writing they have had 169,734 positive coronavirus cases with 13,025 fatalities – it is clear to see why people are feeling the urge to get out now that stay-at-home orders have been lifted, however establishments such as the Tashmoo Bar & Restaurant in Morristown – who had their outdoor dining license revoked following an evening of overcrowding – must do more to stop a second spike of the virus.
A further seven states – Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee – have seen an all-time high of either daily new cases of coronavirus or hospitalizations while it was reported that nationwide a further 1,200 people lost their lives to the virus in just two day this week.