People visit Jacksonville Beach, Fla., on Saturday. Beaches and parks reopened in Duval County on April 17 with restrictions for essential activities only as defined by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. (Charlotte Kesl/for The Washington Post)

USA - Reopening of America accelerates as states prepare to relax coronavirus restrictions

Ready or not, America is opening back up.

The process that began in recent days with back-in-business nail salons and unbarred sandy beaches in a scattering of states is poised to accelerate over the coming week across wide swaths of the country. After shutting down much of American life in March and keeping people home throughout April, governors are preparing to lift restrictions as the calendar turns to May — and cross their fingers that the novel coronavirus doesn’t come roaring back.

In Tennessee, customers will be able to sit down for meals in restaurants starting Monday. In Missouri, the coming week will be the last before the state allows “almost every business” to reopen. And in Idaho, churches and other places of worship could be unlocking their doors by next weekend.

The easing will not be universal and is cleaved largely along party lines, with some Republican governors moving to reopen key sectors and Democrats moving more slowly. In states such as New York, where covid-19 has exacted its heaviest toll, there is no letup to the rules in sight. Even in places where restrictions are being relaxed, governors have emphasized the need to proceed cautiously, lest they unleash a second wave.

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