Sat, 08 Aug 2020

Washington DC [USA], July 1 (ANI): As businesses reopened weeks ago are forced to close down once again due to a fresh surge in COVID-19 cases, millions of Americans across the country are now returning home.

According to a report by The Washington Post, Congress appears to be less inclined to provide additional aid.

Meanwhile, companies that had banked on customers returning and restrictions liftings -- such as hotel chains, construction firms and movie theatres -- are seeing hours cut and reopening dates pushed back indefinitely as consumer demand stalls.

Many governors are issuing new safety restrictions in some cases, just weeks after the first round of guidelines had begun to lift.

In recent weeks, three states -- California, Florida and Texas -- have implemented new policies that partly restrict restaurant or bar service.

Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico and North Carolina have postponed or slowed reopening plans.

Thousands of workers are caught in these rapidly shifting seas, many of them hourly and low-wage service employees and are now facing unemployment for a second time, the Post reported.

The foodservice and bar industry which employs more than eight million people or about five per cent of the workforce before the pandemic has been decimated by the virus, losing more than six million jobs in March and April.

"It is hard when there is not been clear leadership and the population is getting mixed messages," said Kevin Schulman, a professor of medicine and economics at Stanford University.

"How do we plan for economic restoration while protecting public health? It is a little bit of Whack-a-Mole. There is not a great model for that," Schulman added.

According to a preliminary study by two Harvard researchers, limitations at restaurants, bars, and nonessential businesses accounted for 4.4 to 8.5 per cent of the significant increase in unemployment in mid-March.

"It is an impossible choice," said Emily Timm, a senior director at the Texas-based Workers Defence Project, a non-profit organisation that helps immigrant and undocumented workers.

"People do not want to risk their family's health. But it is not a choice if you do not have access to the safety net or you were living paycheck to paycheck before the coronavirus hit," Timm added. (ANI)

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