Nations ease more restrictions, air travel opening up more

Tokyo will remove shutdown requests on more businesses in June, when theaters, cinemas, fitness centers and retailers in the Japanese capital can reopen

The outbreak of the coronavirus has dealt a shock to the global economy with unprecedented speed. Following are developments Friday related to the national and global response, the work place and the spread of the virus.



— Passenger traffic has resumed at the main airport in Slovenia after being suspended for more than two months of suspension as part of lockdown measures.

An Air Serbia flight from Serbia’s capital Belgrade was the first to land at the Ljubljana airport on Friday. Authorities say they expect most airlines to return by early July.

Traffic relaunch at the airport is set in stages: Lufthansa, Montenegro Airlines and a Polish carrier should return by mid-June, while Swiss Air, Air Brussels, Transavio and British Airways will come next.

— Canada’s transport minister says large cruises will continue to be prohibited from operating in Canadian waters until at least Oct. 31 because of the pandemic. Transport Minister Marc Garneau says that applies to cruises with overnight accommodation and more than 100 passengers and crew. The government previously restricted large cruise ships until July 1.


— Big Lots’ first-quarter sales rose 11%, with same-store sales climbing 10.3%. The discount retailer’s stores have remained open during the pandemic, with many consumers shopping for essentials. While sales are up strongly for the second quarter to date, Big Lots Inc. said Friday that it anticipates those sales moderating due to factors including: rivals reopen stores, the planned cancellation of its July Friends and Family promotion, possible inventory constraints and weakening stimulus-driven demand.


— Tokyo will remove shutdown requests on more businesses in June, when theaters, cinemas, fitness centers and retailers in the Japanese capital can reopen after a coronavirus state of emergency ended this week.

Governor Yuriko Koike said Tokyo is now ready to move to Step 2 of a three-phase roadmap designed to gradually reopen businesses in the city. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared an end to a seven-week emergency on Monday.

— The governor of the Bank of Italy, Ignazio Visco, said in his annual address that Europe’s fourth-largest economy could contract by as much as 13% this year under a pessimistic scenario that foresees a “magnitude” drop in world trade and an intense deterioration of financial conditions.

Visco said the world will be different once the pandemic wanes. How different will depend on how leaders manage falling employment, lower consumption and the prospect of social unrest, he explained.

— Authorities in Thailand are relaxing some more restrictions that were imposed two months ago to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Venues that will be allowed to reopen include cinemas, theaters, zoos and aquariums, but they will have to limit the number of admissions. Cinemas will be allowed to sit a maximum of 200 people at a time, seated at a safe social distance from each other with the exception of couples. Other establishments allowed to reopen include massage parlors, gyms, bowling alleys and sports venues. The new measures take effect Monday.

MARKETS: Stock markets fell Friday in Europe and Asia and Wall Street appeared set to slip on the open as tensions between the United States and China over issues like the pandemic and Hong Kong’s autonomy spooked investors.

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