May 3 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Jenni Marsh, Fernando Alfonso III and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 9:01 p.m. ET, May 3, 2020
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3:15 p.m. ET, May 3, 2020

Some businesses in Spain will reopen on Monday

From CNN's Abel Alvarado and Ingrid Formanek

People exercise in Granada, Spain, on May 2, during the hours allowed by the government to exercise for the first time since the beginning of a national lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
People exercise in Granada, Spain, on May 2, during the hours allowed by the government to exercise for the first time since the beginning of a national lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Jorge Guerroro/AFP/Getty Images

Some businesses will start to reopen in Spain on Monday as the country starts "Phase Zero" of loosening coronavirus restrictions.

Following eight weeks of strict confinement since a country-wide state of emergency was declared on March 14, the process of transition in Spain will be gradual. 

The four phases will be determined by a “series of indicators, such as the strategic capacities available in the healthcare system," officials say.

Some of these indicators include being able to test and identify sources of contagion and the ability to isolate and control those sources.

Some other context: Spain's Ministry of Health said another key to reopening the economy is the availability of hospital beds.

For every 10,000 residents, hospitals have to be able to add between 1.5 to 2 intensive care unit beds, and between 37 to 40 beds for severely ill patients, as outlined by the Ministry.

Across Spain, masks will be mandatory on public transport as of Monday.

Here are some of the reopening guidelines for businesses:

  • Hotel and restaurant terraces will be able to operate at 50% of capacity, but will have to clean and disinfect tables, chairs, and other surfaces, between clients.
  • Small retail and commercial businesses will be open to the public at 30% capacity, and will offer priority service to people over 65.
  • Clothing stores will be required to disinfect fitting areas, and “hygiene any garment before other clients have access to it."
  • Businesses are responsible for providing personal protective equipment to their employees.
3:05 p.m. ET, May 3, 2020

Ashford Inc. returns small business loan

From CNN’s Richard Davis

Asset management company and hotel group Ashford Inc. announced on Saturday that it will return all funds provided by the Small Business Administration due to the agency's recently changed rules, according to a press release. 

Calling the federal guidance “inconsistent,” the company defended itself and said that Congress designed the Paycheck Protection Program to allow companies that own multiple hotel properties to obtain separate loans for each property. 

Ashford said that they could not have known that appropriations would be insufficient to cover other businesses.  

“Ashford management had no intention of crowding out any business from gaining equal access to the PPP funds,” the company said.

Asset management company Ashford (AHT) and its related luxury hotel REITs received more than 56 loans totaling nearly $59 million, SEC filings show.

The Wall Street Journal and the Dallas Morning News first reported the news on Ashford.

2:10 p.m. ET, May 3, 2020

Connecticut closed some state parks Saturday after social distancing limits were reached

From CNN's Anna Sturla

Connecticut closed 11 state parks Saturday as limits were reached for proper social distancing, according to the state's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).

Sleeping Giant and Southford Falls state parks, both near New Haven, were among those closed early. All these parks were reopened Sunday morning.

"There’s plenty of room for everybody, we just encourage people to spread out as best they can," said DEEP spokesperson Will Healey. "We encourage people to peruse our entire list of state parks."

DEEP has only closed two state parks indefinitely, both because geographic features made it difficult to maintain a safe distance.

If the crowds at parks continue, there may be indefinite closures, Healey said.

"That’s an option that’s on the table," Healey said. "We want to keep them open during this public health crisis, but we want to do it as safe as possible."


2:27 p.m. ET, May 3, 2020

Afghanistan releases nearly 100 Taliban prisoners due to coronavirus containment measures

From CNN’s Ehsan Popalzai

Afghanistan released 98 Taliban prisoners from Pul-e-Charkhi prison in Kabul on Saturday evening as part of the government’s efforts to contain coronavirus, according to a statement from the National Directorate of Security.

The release is in line with a decree Afghan President Ashraf Ghani signed on March 11 to release Taliban prisoners as the peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban began.

The prisoners were released based on their health conditions, age and length of remaining sentence.

So far, 650 Taliban prisoners have been released since March 10, and the government will release 850 more, the statement added.

“The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan remains open continuing joint technical work with the Taliban in order to advance the peace process,” the statement read.

1:57 p.m. ET, May 3, 2020

Airline CEO discusses the risk of catching coronavirus on an airplane

From CNN’s Nicky Robertson

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly speaks at the annual Aviation Summit in Washington, DC, on March 5.
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly speaks at the annual Aviation Summit in Washington, DC, on March 5. Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Gary Kelly, the CEO of Southwest Airlines, said the risk of catching coronavirus from an airplane is not “any greater than the risk anywhere else.”

In an interview on CBS, Kelly emphasized the safety precautions they have put in place, and said that they are “doing everything possible to encourage people to come back and fly.”

Southwest Airlines is one of the major US airlines that has announced it will require all passengers to wear masks, starting on May 11.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an FAQ on traveling:

“Because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily. Although the risk of infection on an airplane is low, try to avoid contact with sick passengers, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, and wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.”

Some business context: Kelly said that Southwest Airlines has applied for another government loan, but that he did not know if they would take it.

Although the number of flights has drastically reduced due to the coronavirus, Kelly believes that “we have seen the bottom here” and noted that “each week after the first week of April has gotten successfully better.”

Kelly is “anxious to see how the travel demand develops in the summer."

1:40 p.m. ET, May 3, 2020

Maryland governor says more people have died from coronavirus than there are protesters 

CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan discussed protesters in his state that are opposed to the coronavirus restrictions currently in place.

"I think everybody has a right to protest and express their feelings. ... Sadly, we had far more people die yesterday in Maryland than we had protesters," Hogan told CNN.

Protests around the US: Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina and Utah have all seen protests over the past month as people grow more concerned about the economic fallout of the pandemic.

On Friday, more than 500 people gathered at the California Capitol in Sacramento to protest Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order.

As a result, police arrested 32 people for failing to comply with the lawful orders to disperse, along with health and safety violations, a news release said.

Watch the interview:

1:19 p.m. ET, May 3, 2020

New York governor announces a 7-state partnership to purchase medical supplies

From CNN's Laura Dolan

Source: Gov. Cuomo's office
Source: Gov. Cuomo's office

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new regional partnership with seven northeast states to form a purchasing consortium to obtain medical equipment and supplies.  

The consortium will purchase $5 billion of equipment and supplies that will include personal protective equipment, tests and ventilators, Cuomo said.

This new partnership will make the states more competitive in the international marketplace, save taxpayer money and help the region acquire medical equipment, Cuomo added.

The governor added that the consortium will coordinate with the federal government.

The seven states in the consortium are New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

1:10 p.m. ET, May 3, 2020

"We never said it was over," New York governor warns as weather improves

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned that "we're not out of the woods" when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic in New York.

"My gut says the weather is going to warm, people are bored, people want this over. They see the numbers going down. They can take false comfort," Cuomo said at his daily coronavirus news briefing.

"We never said it was over. We said the numbers are going down," he added. "Roughly a thousand new people a day walk into the hospitals."

Cuomo said the reason numbers in the state are generally trending down is because New Yorkers followed social distancing and other measures.

"You go back to the old behavior and that number goes right back up," Cuomo said.

1:10 p.m. ET, May 3, 2020

Gov. Cuomo says not wearing masks is "disrespectful"

Source Gov. Cuomo's office
Source Gov. Cuomo's office

The sight of New Yorkers refusing to wear masks despite the coronavirus pandemic infecting hundreds daily is "disrespectful," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.

"We almost overwhelmed the whole health care system. So cautious moving forward and, look, how people cannot wear masks, that, to me, is even disrespectful. It's disrespectful. It's disrespectful to the nurses, the doctors, the people who have been front line workers, the transit workers. You wear the mask not for yourself. You wear the mask for me. It's a sign of respect to other people. You make me sick. That's disrespectful," Cuomo said during a news conference attended by other state leaders around the northeast.

Some context: Cuomo also announced that 280 people in New York state have died over the past day from coronavirus.