Europe’s atomized efforts are a test of how the U.S. will fare as states such as New York and California attempt to follow. President Trump’s administration has encouraged states to reopen in phases after cases begin to fall. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the governors of six nearby states have convened a task force to look at how they will reopen their economies.
Experiences in Europe suggest the reopenings will come in fits and starts, in a strange, postlockdown reality where commercial districts are at best half-open, closed to tour groups and crowds, and bracketed with temperature control checks.
“It’s a hard mental shift,” said Weston Stacey, the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic. “With U.S. government officials we’ve talked to, it’s very hard to get them around this thinking of, ‘OK, if we do this, in three weeks, everything will go back to normal.’ Things are not going back to normal.”
Lockdown restrictions helped reduce coronavirus cases and many Italian intensive-care units now have free beds. But the toll on shops, restaurants, bars and entertainment businesses has been extraordinary.
At least a sixth of all Italian restaurant and bars—some 50,000 mostly small businesses—will perish, the country’s bar and diner lobby Fipe projects. Movie theaters have seen almost no revenue in weeks, and anticipate prohibitive crowd restrictions when they reopen: Germany’s top 10 grossing films combined reported just $1,485 in total ticket sales over Easter weekend.
The openings are piecemeal and provisional, bringing no swift or substantial relief to a crushing recession projected to be Europe’s worst since the Great Depression. https://t.co/xTn78KiZuu
— Jennifer Smith (@jensmithWSJ) April 19, 2020