Business Is Far From Usual as Large Swaths of the U.S. Reopen

Large swaths of the U.S. were once again open for business Friday, as states like Texas, Oklahoma and Alabama lifted the stay-at-home orders that have left many merchants closed and millions around the country unemployed.

In Texas, where malls, dine-in restaurants and movie theaters were allowed to reopen, some small business owners did so tentatively — and with restrictions, like limited capacity to keep patrons from getting too close. Many restaurant owners are abiding by their own health and safety measures, like using paper plates. Meanwhile, gym fanatics returned to their favorite workouts — wearing masks.

At Harold’s Restaurant Bar and Terrace in Houston, owner Alli Jarrett prepared for the restaurant’s first dinner service since early last month. Visitors will be asked to order and pay for meals through their own phones to avoid touching menus or passing credit cards back and forth. Tables that aren’t in use to abide by social distancing rules, will be marked with a large “X” made with painter’s tape. 

“I don’t think we’re ever going to be ready until we start practicing that,’’ Jarrett said.

29,515 in U.S.Most new cases today

-17% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-1.​121 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-0.​5% Global GDP Tracker (annualized), March

As millions will soon tiptoe back into the world, some deem the reopenings too premature and unsafe as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise. In Atlanta, a mock funeral procession drove through the city in protest on Friday.

Here are scenes from parts of the country that returned to work on May 1.

Houston, Texas


Knoxville, Tennessee

Oklahoma City


Mobile, Alabama



— With assistance by Margaret Newkirk

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