People are eager to get back to their normal routines. Businesses are preparing for post-pandemic travel. Governments have begun easing coronavirus restrictions.

Do you see the light at the end of the tunnel already? Possibly, but the pandemic is not over yet. So, please remain cautious even as stay-at-home restrictions are lifted.

U.S. states are easing coronavirus restrictions

Travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders were imposed to fight against the coronavirus outbreak, nonessential businesses were paused, and residents were urged not to go out. There is a price for such measures, however.

Weekly jobless claims on May 14 topped 2.981 million, bringing the rolling total to 36.5 million during the coronavirus crisis. Today, over 18% of the U.S. working-age population do not have a job, the worst level since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

People across the country have conducted anti-lockdown protests. As of May 16, Michigan and Illinois were the two states to not yet lift the stay-at-home order. Most states have reopened some or all of the following businesses: retail; food and drink; outdoor and recreation; personal care; and entertainment, either in the entire state or certain regions.

The example of California

California was the first state to impose a stay-at-home order. On May 12, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new rules for reopening restaurants, malls, and offices in California.

In general, takeout and delivery service are still highly encouraged. California released guidelines for dine-in restaurants, outlining recommended procedures about specific plans for reopening; employee training; individual control measures and screening; cleaning and disinfection protocols; physical distancing; and other considerations. Restaurants should maintain the following prevention practices (direct quotes):

  • Physical distancing to the maximum extent possible.
  • Use of face coverings by employees (where respiratory protection is not required) and customers/clients.
  • Frequent handwashing and regular cleaning and disinfection.
  • Training employees on these and other elements of the COVID-19 prevention plan.

The example of Italy

Italy was the first EU country to impose a national lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. Although reopening is very likely to result in more infected cases, the Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte recently announced that Italy was set to reopen. Measures to reopen include:

  • Factories and parks already reopened on May 4.
  • Restaurants and shops have reopened on May 18, with strict social distancing measures.
  • Catholic churches also reopened on May 18, where strict social distancing measures are also imposed, and worshipers must wear masks. Other faiths and other religious services will also be allowed.
  • Gyms, swimming pools, and sports centers will reopen on May 25.
  • Traveling to and from Italy and inside the country will be allowed starting on June 3.
  • Travelers entering from EU countries need not go into a two-week quarantine.
  • Cinemas and theaters will reopen on June 15.

Don’t be the next tourist to get arrested for violating the rules

It is way too early to claim that the coronavirus is over. It could take five years before the pandemic is under control, according to the World Health Organization.

While states and countries are easing coronavirus restrictions, we should all exercise extra caution while going out or during a trip. Being a responsible global citizen, we must follow the new rules to prevent spreading the coronavirus. Ignorance will not help us stop the pandemic.

It is very disappointing to see people careless about the rules and restrictions. A case in point is that a tourist from New York City violated the two-week quarantine rule in Hawaii and got arrested. I strongly urge that we all remain cautious while going out and follow the social-distancing rules with enhanced hygiene practices.

As the stay-at-home restrictions are lifted, what measures should we take to prevent spreading the coronavirus? What about the measures to protect ourselves from getting the virus?