After being almost completely shut down for more than a month, many daily flights are taking place with more than 70% capacity. There are now about 500 flights per day flying with this many people on board. This brings up the number of passengers to about 9% of what it was a year ago. Although the numbers are still low, they show that more people are willing to travel again.
The airlines say that they are using only two-thirds of the seats, which helps them to practice social distancing. Some of the airlines are keeping the middle seats empty, but as many as 5% of flights are more than 70% full.
Why Businesses Are Slow to Open
Although the rhetoric is certainly in abundance for the country to reopen for business, there seems to be one main reason why it has not happened on a large scale. That reason seems to be because many business owners do not want to risk being held liable for someone getting COVID-19 in their business. Federal authorities that could handle the issue have not begun to do so, leaving employers and employees uncertain about what rights they have if they get sick at work.
Safety is still a large issue in many minds. Part of the problem is that there is a lack of guidance as to what exactly constitutes safe opening procedures. Without them, neither the employer nor the employee can be assured of having legal grounds or not. In some cases, employers have demanded that employees return to work. This could certainly lead to an incredible number of lawsuits in the future if coronavirus breaks out again – which seems to be likely since China has once again placed 108 million people under quarantine.
Tension Rising Over Hong Kong
China has announced that it intends to crack down harshly on the dissidents in Hong Kong. Beijing has become tired of waiting for law and order to be established in Hong Kong. It has declared that they will bring in “national security” law to eliminate acts that it considers subversive or the result of foreign influence. This means that it will use the same tactics that it uses in the mainland. In response to this announcement, President Trump has said that the United States will have a response with a “very strong reaction.” China last year said that any nation interfering with Hong Kong or Taiwan is going to face the consequences.
The U.S. Pulling Out of Another Peace Agreement
President Trump announced earlier today that the United States will be pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty. This treaty was signed in 1992 and gave rights to other countries to fly over other countries for intelligence purposes with unarmed planes on short notice. He feels that when the U.S. pulls out that it will encourage Russia to come back to the table to reestablish the Treaty or to make a new one.
The United States has managed to secure a trial vaccine for this country from the drug manufacturer AstraZeneca – a British company. The U.S. has pledged $1.2 billion to be able to get the first 300 million of those vaccines. The company will use the money to speed up the development of the vaccine. Once the tests for the drug reach the third phase, the U.S. will receive 30,000 doses for a clinical trial here. The first deliveries are expected to take place in September.