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Florida Takes a 'Baby Step' To Reopening Its Economy, Shut Down To Stem Coronavirus – NPR

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Gov. Ron DeSantis, pictured during a meeting with President Trump on Tuesday, has announced plans to reopen businesses in Florida.

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images


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Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Florida will begin reopening its economy on Monday. Gov. Ron DeSantis says all of the state except for three counties in Southeast Florida meet the Phase 1 guidelines identified by the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

A statewide shelter-in-place order expires Thursday, but DeSantis says people should continue to practice social distancing and not socialize in groups larger than 10. He’s also asked those who are medically vulnerable and the elderly to remain at home as much as possible.

In a news conference at the state Capitol in Tallahassee, the governor said he was signing an executive order that allows restaurants and retail stores to reopen Monday, May 4. Restaurants will be able to use outdoor seating. Inside, they’ll be able in the first phase of the state’s plan to use just 25% of their seating capacity.

Schools will remain closed and students will continue distance learning. Large venues, including movie theaters also remain closed for now, as do personal service establishments like barber shops and beauty salons. DeSantis says elective surgeries can resume statewide.

The action in Florida takes a middle approach, less aggressive than states such as Georgia, but beginning to reopen an economy that’s been largely dormant for well over a month. DeSantis said, “I deliberately erred on the side of taking measured steps, kind of even a baby step to … start us on a road to a brighter day.”

The order excludes Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties where the majority of Florida’s coronavirus cases have occurred. Shelter-in-place orders and business closures remain in place in those three counties. COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are also declining there. This week, in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, many parks and boat ramps were reopened with strict enforcement of social distancing guidelines. Beaches in the three southeast Florida counties remain closed for now.

DeSantis says he’ll watch what other states are doing and will consider allowing more openings if coronavirus cases continue to decline. Asked about when he thinks the state may be ready to move to the next phase of openings, DeSantis wouldn’t commit to a timeline. But he said, “We’re thinking about weeks. We’re not thinking about months.”

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Economy

Canadian dollar moves to extend weekly win streak as oil rebounds

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Canadian dollar

The Canadian dollar strengthened against its U.S. counterpart on Friday and was on track for its seventh straight weekly gain as oil prices rose and domestic data added to evidence of robust economic growth in the first quarter.

Canadian factory sales rose 3.5% in March from February, led by the motor vehicle, petroleum and coal, and food product industries, while wholesale trade was up 2.8%, Statistics Canada said.

The price of oil, one of Canada‘s major exports, reversed some of the previous day’s sharp losses as stock markets strengthened, though gains were capped by the coronavirus situation in major oil consumer India and the restart of a fuel pipeline in the United States.

U.S. crude prices rose 1.2% to $64.61 a barrel, while the Canadian dollar was trading 0.6% higher at 1.2093 to the greenback, or 82.69 U.S. cents, moving back in reach of Wednesday’s 6-year peak at 1.2042.

For the week, the loonie was on track to gain 0.3%. It has climbed more than 5% since the start of the year, the biggest gain among G10 currencies, supported by surging commodity prices and a shift last month to a more hawkish stance by the Bank of Canada.

Still, BoC Governor Tiff Macklem said on Thursday if the currency continues to rise, it could create headwinds for exports and business investment as well as affecting monetary policy.

The U.S. dollar fell against a basket of major currencies, pressured by a recovery in risk appetite across markets after Federal Reserve officials helped calm concerns about a quick policy tightening in response to accelerating U.S. inflation.

Canadian government bond yields were lower across much of a flatter curve, with the 10-year down 2 basis points at 1.549%. On Thursday, it touched its highest intraday in eight weeks at 1.624%.

 

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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Economy

Toronto Stock Exchange rises 1.21% to 19,366.69

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Toronto Stock Exchange

* The Toronto Stock Exchange‘s TSX rises 1.21 percent to 19,366.69

* Leading the index were SNC-Lavalin Group Inc <SNC.TO​>, up 16.0%, Village Farms International Inc​, up 9.8%, and Denison Mines Corp​, higher by 9.4%.

* Lagging shares were Aurora Cannabis Inc​​, down 7.2%, Centerra Gold Inc​, down 3.8%, and Canadian National Railway Co​, lower by 3.7%.

* On the TSX 194 issues rose and 35 fell as a 5.5-to-1 ratio favored advancers. There were 25 new highs and no new lows, with total volume of 225.7 million shares.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Enbridge Inc, Manulife Financial Corp and Cenovus Energy Inc.

* The TSX’s energy group rose 3.32 points, or 2.7%, while the financials sector climbed 4.80 points, or 1.3%.

* West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 2.65%, or $1.69, to $65.51 a barrel. Brent crude  rose 2.68%, or $1.8, to $68.85 [O/R]

* The TSX is up 11.1% for the year.

This summary was machine generated May 14 at 21:03 GMT.

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Economy

U.S., Mexico, Canada to hold ‘robust’ talks on trade deal

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The United States, Mexico and Canada will next week hold their first formal talks on their continental trade deal, with particular focus on labor and environmental obligations, the U.S. government said on Friday.

Trade ministers from the three nations are set to meet virtually on Monday and Tuesday to discuss the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) deal, which took effect in July 2020.

“The ministers will receive updates about work already underway to advance cooperation … and will hold robust discussions about USMCA’s landmark labor and environmental obligations,” the office of U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in a statement.

The United States is also reviewing tariffs which may be leading to inflation in the country, economic adviser Cecilia Rouse told reporters at the White House on Friday, a move that could affect hundreds of billions of dollars in trade.

The United States, testing provisions in the new deal aimed at strengthening Mexican unions, this week asked Mexico to investigate alleged abuses at a General Motors Co factory.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Jonathan Oatis)

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