Opening Up

Many US states began slowly reopening in May while others extended their stay-at-home orders indefinitely. The following responses to the question “do you see any signs of reopening the economy? Do you think that’s a smart idea?” were collected in early April, 2020.

 

Jessie Labov, Budapest, Hungary
No, I don’t. We will probably stay in semi-lockdown for a prophylactically long period of time. And yes, that does seem like a smart move.

 

Ann Merrill, Kyiv, Ukraine
Some parts of the government talk about it, but other parts (MinHealth) insist it is much too early. I understand the desperate need for people to have income, but Ukraine could be devastated if the virus spreads significantly here. I do not envy those who have to make the very difficult decisions on how to handle this situation.

 

Emma Pratt, Tbilisi, Georgia
Georgia has been successful in delaying the peak, but that means that reopening the economy is still a long way away. I agree that keeping most things closed is the right decision, but the longer it lasts, the more painful it will be. Many people have lost their jobs already and fear they will go hungry. One thing that gives me some hope for the economy is the creative pivots I have seen many small businesses make: chacha distillers making hand sanitizer, wineries hosting online tastings, pub quizzes migrating online with a “virtual tip jar” for the staff of the bar that used to host, etc.

 

Jesse Smeal, Rome, Italy
Like many countries, Italy has slowly reopened. Some industries and factories started to reopen in April and some small business such as bookstores, stationary stores, and children’s clothing stores. In May, more have followed.

 

Lyudmila Skryabina, Moscow, Russia
In Russia the peak of the pandemic is just being reached, in particular in the Moscow area, according to the government and it’s conceivable that the economic situation will continue to get objectively worse, despite the unprecedented supportive measures on the part of the government. April and May largely became state mandated vacations but in June we will see how things stabilize or what further actions are taken.

 

<<Return next week, June 22nd, to read our participants’ predictions for the futures of their countries.

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