Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 9:02 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020
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5:53 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Businesses in North Carolina will open on Friday

From CNN's Jamiel Lynch

Many business in North Carolina will be allowed to open Friday as the state moves into phase one, Gov. Roy Cooper announced today.

“Phase one is a limited easing of restrictions,” he said.

Under this first phase, retail stores will be able to operate at 50% capacity with cleaning and social distancing, parks and trails can reopen and restaurants can continue takeout and delivery with no in-room dining.

Gyms, bars, salons, theaters, playgrounds and pools will remain closed. 

The state is asking people to remember to wear a face covering, practice social distancing and frequent hand washing.

The stay-at-home order remains in effect for the state with modifications.

Phase one is set to expire on May 22, but can be extended depending on the state's progress with mitigation efforts.

5:52 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Huntington Beach will allow beaches to reopen

From CNN's Alexandra Meeks

 Lifeguards patrol an empty beach in front of the Huntington Beach Pier on May 3, in Huntington Beach, California. 
 Lifeguards patrol an empty beach in front of the Huntington Beach Pier on May 3, in Huntington Beach, California.  Michael Heiman/Getty Images

Huntington Beach, California, will allow active recreation at its beaches.

This announcement follows a rowdy protest on Friday at the Huntington Beach Pier that drew between 2,500 to 3,000 people, according to police. 

Activities that are now permitted at Huntington State Beach include: swimming, surfing, bodysurfing, boogie boarding, kite surfing, paddle boarding, skim boarding and kayaking.

Walking, running, hiking and bicycle riding will also be permitted where normally allowed, the city said in a statement.

Under the new active recreation rules, the city said the following activities remain prohibited: passive games, loitering, sunbathing and any gatherings of people (even if engaged in active recreation) outside of those within their immediate households.

The decision to reopen the beaches was made after extensive discussions with other local cities and California state representatives, the statement said.

5:59 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Connecticut hopes to reopen summer schools in July, education officials say

From CNN's Annie Grayer and Keith Allen

CT-N
CT-N

Some schools in Connecticut are hoping to open by July for summer school, Gov. Ned Lamont and the state's top education officials announced at a news conference Tuesday.

“We're hoping that if the trends continue the positive way they're going, and we maintain social distancing, we're hoping to have summer schools open in July,” Connecticut's Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona said.

Cardona said class sizes will likely be smaller, with 10 students to a group.

Asked if the state is considering moving to two sessions a day to break up the number of students in the building at one time, Cardona said, “those are things that are being considered. We have a lot of different options to consider, what works for students what works for school communities.”

Beth Bye, the state's Early Childhood Education commissioner, announced that the state's summer camps can open on June 29. 

Bye added that there are currently about five camps already open in the state providing childcare for the children of essential workers.

She said all camps will have to comply with guidance laid out in a memo released from her office in order to reopen such as taking students temperatures, limiting group sizes to 10 children, and having employees wear face coverings at all times.

In-person classes: Lamont said the decision to cancel in-person classes in the state for the rest of the academic year was heartbreaking.

“It breaks my heart. I mean, we were pretty early on in terms of a lot of the social distancing and protocols we put into place,” Lamont said at a news conference today, just after the decision was made.

6:02 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Here's what Trump said about the coronavirus task force winding down

From CNN's Jason Hoffman 

President Trump sidestepped a question from CNN today on whether it was the right time to wind down the coronavirus task force.

Trump said that the country was looking towards “other phases” and that the country is starting to open up.

“I think we’re looking at phase two and we’re looking at other phases. The country is starting to open up, the task force has done a phenomenal job,” Trump said. 

When pressed if Trump needed to continue to meet with the task force in order to get scientific expertise, Trump said that he thinks that there will be “a different group” that is working towards “safety and opening.”

“I think as far as the task force, Mike Pence and the task force have done a great job, but we’re now looking at a little bit of a different form and that form is safety and opening and we’ll have a different group probably set up for that,” Trump said. 

Trump said that Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Deborah Birx and “other experts in the field” will still be involved even after the task force ends. 

Watch here:

5:21 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Amazon warehouse worker dies of Covid-19

From CNN’s Sara Ashley O’Brien, Brian Fung and Richard Davis

A warehouse worker at Amazon’s Staten Island fulfillment center has died of coronavirus, according to Amazon spokesperson Kristen Kish.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of an associate at our site in Staten Island, NY. His family and loved ones are in our thoughts, and we are supporting his fellow colleagues,” Kish said.

According to the e-commerce giant, the employee was last on site on April 5 and was diagnosed with Covid-19 on April 11.

The company believes that each Covid-19 case at the Staten Island fulfillment center are individual cases and not linked.

The employee was not contact traced to other employees, the company said.

In March, Amazon terminated an employee based in the company's Staten Island, New York, warehouse after he participated in a worker walkout protesting the company's response to the novel coronavirus. Amazon said the employee, Chris Smalls, was terminated for violating a quarantine.

The company has previously confirmed two other Covid-19 related deaths of workers employed at its US warehouses to CNN Business; this is the first confirmed Covid-19 related death at the Staten Island facility.

5:26 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Northern California mayor pushes back on criticism for reopening salons and restaurants

From CNN’s Dan Simon

Mayor Shon Harris
Mayor Shon Harris CNN

Yuba City, California, Mayor Shon Harris is pushing back against criticism from Gov. Gavin Newsom that a reopening of salons and dine-in restaurants is putting the community at risk.

"If you take proper precautions, you’re not putting anyone at risk,” said Harris who cited his community’s low number of cases as a rationale for the reopening.

Yuba and Sutter counties have had a total of 50 Covid-19 cases.

With a population of 66,000, Yuba City is the largest city in the three counties that have begun to lift restrictions.

Newsom has repeatedly stressed that reopening communities will be done based on data.  

“Well, that’s what we’re doing,” said Harris, a fellow Democrat.

Yuba-Sutter issued an order last week that allowed for many businesses to reopen beginning Monday, including restaurants, salons, spas, tattoo parlors, shopping malls and gyms.

“Higher risk” businesses including bars and theaters will remain closed.

Harris said the reopening is going “extremely well and that I’ve gotten a lot of positive comments.” 

5:16 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Hy-Vee to limit meat purchases at all 265 stores across the Midwest

From CNN's Dianne Gallagher

Hy-Vee is the latest grocery store to announce a limit on meat purchases at all of its locations.

Effective today, shoppers who visit the Midwestern grocery chain will be limited to four packages or a combination of fresh beef, ground beef, pork and chicken.  

"We have product available at our stores but due to worker shortages at plants as well as an increase in meat sales, customers may not find the specific items they are looking for. Because of this, we are going to put a limit on customer purchases in the meat department," the grocery store said in a statement.

Hy-Vee, Inc. is an employee-owned corporation operating more than 265 retail stores across eight Midwestern states.

5:14 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Federal judge dismisses workers case against Smithfield Foods plant in Missouri

From CNN’s Dan Shepherd

The US District Court in the Western District of Missouri dismissed the Rural Community Workers Alliance case against Smithfield Foods and their pork plant in Milan, Missouri.

District Judge Gregory Kays said that the RCWA and worker “Jane Doe” did not present enough evidence to make their case of an unsafe working environment.  

The court also said that it put much more weight on Smithfield’s claims of maintaining a safe work environment by following guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and making multiple changes to the plant and the worker's work spaces, while also providing evidentiary proof and witness testimony directly related to those changes.

Some of those changes included: Thermal temperature screening, paid leave for symptomatic employees, on-site nurses and health/safety officers, 6-feet spacing on the production line, a slowed production line and providing masks for the workers, among many other changes. 

The judge found that “Smithfield policies and procedures are reasonable under the circumstances.”

5:11 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Montana taking applications for coronavirus emergency grants

From CNN's Andy Rose

Montana Public Affairs Network
Montana Public Affairs Network

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock announced today that the state will soon accept applications for emergency grants for people affected by the coronavirus economic shutdown. 

That includes businesses, people out of work and those with health needs. 

The application will open on May 7 and the money will come from funding provided by the federal CARES Act. 

Montana is getting the minimum amount for a state – $1.25 billion – although its small population means that it is receiving more federal funding per capita than many states.