The Wider World

Financial aftershocks hitting hard

INDIVIDUALS and businesses are hit hard by the effects of the coronavirus and efforts to curb its spread (Shutterstock).

Money is starting to flow to Americans but federal efforts to provide relief during the coronavirus crisis are already showing their limitations.

The checks for $1200 (and $500 for each child) for those who qualify are appearing in the bank accounts of many citizens, but news of a shrinking economy indicated tough times ahead. According to the Associated Press, retail sales were down 8.7 percent in March.

Nationwide, industrial output declined 6.3 percent in March and about 17 million people have been added to the unemployment rolls.

Help to small businesses may be hitting a wall as well. On Wednesday, the Small Business Administration announced it had approved loans totaling $311 million, but the demand is approaching the $349 million limit in the Paycheck Protection Program.

Another $250 billion for the SBA’s loan program is being sought from Congress, with the support of President Donald Trump.

Protesters push back against “lockdown”

Despite the cold weather, a crowd of thousands of people streamed past the Michigan Capitol in Lansing to complain about the social distancing and business restrictions imposed by the state government.

One protestor held up a sign connecting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to Adolf Hitler.

The event, dubbed “Operation Gridlock,” did clog up traffic in the city.

“This arbitrary blanket spread of shutting down businesses, about putting all of these workers out of business is just a disaster,” said Meshawn Maddock of the Michigan Conservative Coalition, which organized the protest.

“I saw someone handing out candy to little kids barehanded,” Whitmer told the AP. “People are flying the Confederate flag.” She said the rally endangered people and will prolong the need for the measures used to arrest the spread of coronavirus.

Masks order is set for New York

While the worst might be over for the nation’s largest city, another restriction is coming Friday to the Big Apple and the Empire State.

MASKS will be required in New York on Friday under certain conditions (Flickr/Daniel Foster).

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order requiring that face coverings be worn in any public situation in which people can’t be further than six feet away from others, according to United Press International.

City guidelines require grocery store customers to wear face coverings when entering the store, or be turned away, said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Cuomo said the “curve is flattening” but “we are still in the woods.”

New York City has had 110,000 cases of the coronavirus and nearly 10,400 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University’s statistics.

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