It was late December when the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in China. Since then, the disease has spread across the world in a global pandemic. In response, countries have instituted various measures in an effort to slow its spread. One common measure has been to order non-essential businesses to suspend operations. Another common measure has been to limit domestic and foreign travel. But as the economic toll increases and the pandemic begins to abate in certain regions, governments are starting to think about how they will restart their economies.
Yesterday, April 15, 2020, for example, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a plan to begin reopening the shuttered portions of Germany’s economy starting next week. The day before, US President Donald Trump signaled his desire to reopen American businesses by May 1 if not earlier.
Although the process of reopening businesses is still in its early stages even where the pandemic’s apex has apparently passed, this much is clear already: the process will be gradual, vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and confront business with myriad issues.