Virus cancels events worldwide; opinions on reopening mixed

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Migrants wave from the their balconies at a hotel in Kranidi town about 170 kilometers (106 miles) southwest of Athens, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. The heads of Greece's pandemic response effort are visiting a refugee shelter in the south of the country after authorities confirmed a high number of COVID-19 infections at the site. The shelter at Kranidi hosts 470 asylum seekers and was placed in isolation Monday after a pregnant resident tested positive for the new coronavirus during a hospital visit. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

BANGKOK – Spain called off the Running of the Bulls in July, the U.S. scrapped the national spelling bee in June and Germany canceled Oktoberfest five months away, making it clear Tuesday that the effort to beat back the coronavirus and return to normal could be a long and dispiriting process.

Amid growing impatience over the shutdowns that have thrown tens of millions out of work, European countries continued to reopen in stages, while in the U.S., one state after another — mostly ones led by Republican governors — began taking steps to get back to business.

Business owners in the U.S. who got the go-ahead weighed whether to reopen, and some hesitated, in a sign that commerce won't necessarily bounce back right away.

Mark Lebos, owner of Strong Gym in Savannah, Georgia, where Gov. Brian Kemp announced that gyms and salons can reopen this week, said it would be professional negligence to do so right now.

“We are not going to be a vector of death and suffering,” he said.

With deaths and infections still rising around the world, the push to reopen has set off warnings from health authorities that the crisis that has killed well over 170,000 people globally — including more than 45,000 in the U.S. — is far from over and that relaxing the stay-at-home orders too quickly could enable the virus to come surging back.

The economic damage mounted as oil prices suffered an epic collapse and stocks registered their worst loss in weeks on Wall Street.

The crisis hit home at Trump ’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, which laid off 153 workers, including bartenders, cooks, dishwashers and housekeepers.