Covid-19 Reopening

Politics • European • France
"Freedom will become the rule, bans the exception", France's PM Philippe on lockdown easing

Restaurants and bars will reopen in all of France's green areas where the spread of the virus has slowed. In Paris, still an orange area, eateries are only allowed to reopen outside terraces. Édouard Philippe said, "Freedom will become the rule, bans the exception". Travel bans will also be lifted as of June 2nd.

Politics • African
Places of worship allowed to reopen in South Africa as of June 1st, restaurants must stay closed
St. Bartholomew's Church, in Market Street Grahamstown, South Africa
St. Bartholomew's Church, in Market Street Grahamstown, South Africa Credit: Waynejayes / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

With South Africa entering lockdown level 3, places of worships will be allowed to reopen their doors to worshipers as of June 1st. Restaurants and other eateries must remain closed. The Restaurant Association of South Africa is demanding an explanation from the government on the reasoning for this decision. Restaurant owners claim they can not sustain their business on deliveries and pick-ups alone.

Politics • European • United Kingdom
Aldi UK to Implement Entrance Traffic Light System Nationwide
ALDI store in Moreton-in-Marsh, England
ALDI store in Moreton-in-Marsh, England Credit: ALDI Press Centre

In a statement made this week, Aldi UK has announced the implementation of a traffic light system to control the numbers of customers in its stores. The system is being installed nationwide this week, which also features priority access for health care workers.

Politics • African
South African schools reopen as of June 1st
Trafalgar High School, Cape Town, South Africa
Trafalgar High School, Cape Town, South Africa Credit: HelenOnline / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Starting with Grades 7 and 12 and small schools, the reopening process of the educational sector has started in South Africa. Minister Angie Motshekga urged schools to follow safety protocols which will be provided to students, teachers and other staff. The National Coronavirus Command Council and Cabinet is also working with the Department of Social Development to help with "the needs of learners with disabilities and those in special schools [...] to ensure that no child is compromised".

Politics • American • US
Californian Houses of worship to reopen at lesser capacity

California announced the reopening of houses of worship at a limited capacity on Monday. Churches, mosques, synagogues and other religious houses have to keep up with social distancing guidelines, take guests' temperatures and encourage visitors to wear facial masks and to not share items like prayer books.

Politics • European • United Kingdom
Reopening Guidance for UK Retailers Released
Soho's Original Bookshop in London, UK
Soho's Original Bookshop in London, UK Credit:í Nayla

Under a newly released guidance, UK shops and retailers can begin to reopen if businesses are made Covid-19 secure. The guidance is "detailing the measures they should take to meet the necessary social distancing and hygiene standards". Outdoor markets and spacious car showrooms will be able to reopen from June 1 on, followed by smaller businesses such as clothing stores, bookshops and tailors on June 15.

Lifestyle • Religion
German authorities report over 40 Covid-19 infections after religious service

The health authorities of the German city Frankfurt am Main have reported over 40 new infected people after a church service was conducted. Church services had been permitted since the beginning of May under strict hygiene rules that mandate disinfectants and a minimum distance between the participants of 1,50 meters.

Politics • European • United Kingdom
Up to 1500 English primary schools set to refuse wider opening on June 1st

The UK government's directive to reopen schools has been met with significant resistance from councils and schools. So far 18 councils who are responsible for around 1500 maintained schools have stated that they will not enforce reopening upon their primaries. More are expected to join the growing number today (Wed 20th May), with others leaving it to the individual schools to decide.
The deputy chief scientific advisor Dame Angela Mclean suggests that effective contact tracing is necessary before any changes are made to the lockdown, which essentially adds a sixth test to the five already set by government needed to be met before restrictions are reduced.

Business • Economy
Apple to reopen 25 U.S. stores
Apple Logo Sign at apple 5th Avenue
Apple Logo Sign at apple 5th Avenue Credit: Heymann

After closing all its stores outside of China in mid-March, Apple is reopening a total of 25 stores in the United States. According to a spokesperson of Apple, the company will be opening stores gradually starting next week. In addition to mandatory face coverings, the company will check customers temperature at the store's entrances.

Business • Economy
Italy's 10-Week-Lockdown Has Ended
Bar Bistro in Naples, Italy
Bar Bistro in Naples, Italy Credit: Borie

Italy's economy came to a halt in early March, making it the first Western country to impose a nationwide lockdown. Now, after ten weeks, the country is reopening retail stores, restaurants and other customer-oriented establishments. As the nation begins to allow unlimited travel, social distancing rules still apply and people must stay 2 metres (6.5ft) apart.

Education • School Education
Seoul's Education Superintendent warns of reopening schools prematurely
Empty seats in classroom
Empty seats in classroom Credit:

Cho Hee-yeon, superintendent of Seoul's education office, calls for postponement of reopening schools. All schools, as well as kindergartens, were supposed to reopen this week, as per governmental decision. In a post to Facebook on May 11, he stated that "if the current trend of concerns over a second wave of COVID-19 continues, (I) believe there is a need to review the school reopening schedule." Hee-yeon suggests postponing the reopening by a week.