Three more US states of Michigan, Massachusetts and Minnesota that have been cautious about ending lockdowns, began a gradual easing of stay-at-home measures implemented to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Additional restrictions also were lifted on Monday in 12 other states, including Texas and Florida, where gyms have been allowed to reopen, reports Xinhua news agency.
These developments mean only one US state (Connecticut) and one territory (the District of Columbia) have not relaxed their confinement orders at all, although the former is to take steps to reopen on May 20.
In Michigan, where the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues to rise, a state-wide stay-at-home order will remain in place until May 28.
But on Monday the so-called Detroit Three automakers – General Motors, Ford and Fiat-Chrysler – began restarting plants that had been shut down since late March, initially at 25 per cent capacity.
Minnesota, whose daily rise in coronavirus infections has stabilized, has lifted its stay-at-home order and allowed shopping malls to reopen at 50 per cent capacity.
Massachusetts, a state in which the number of new daily cases has started to trend downward, has begun its economic reopening by allowing construction and manufacturing activities to resume.
Half of Yellowstone National Park also was reopened to the public on Monday due to an easing of restrictions in Wyoming.
Restaurants in Florida were now being allowed to operate at 50 per cent of their capacity, while in South Carolina swimming pools have reopened and in Arkansas movie theatres, bowling alleys, museums and online casino 2020 were back in business.
The US currently is conducting around 330,000 COVID-19 tests per day, well short of the 900,000 daily tests that the Harvard Global Health Institute has said were needed to begin a safe reopening of the country.
The US currently accounts for the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 1,508,291 and 90,340, respectively.