After extending a lockdown from April 13 to May 3, the Italian government reopened some stores on Tuesday, including stationers, bookshops and children’s clothing stores, a sign of a gradual return to normalcy. But the loosening will not apply in regions where infection rates have yet to decline significantly — including Lombardy, Piedmont and Campania — and some other regions took their own approaches.
“Stores, bans and walks. Italy becomes a puzzle,” read a headline in Rome daily La Repubblica Tuesday, a nod to the scattered approach. Italy’s total number of confirmed cases was just shy of 160,000 and deaths surpassed the 20,000 mark on Monday.
And in Spain, more regions reopened factories and building sites on Tuesday, joining others that had already begun a gradual return to work. The easing of restrictions there has triggered a debate over safety. But many factories are so far only recalling just a fraction of their work forces. Spain registered a slight uptick in deaths on Tuesday — 567 overnight, with the total surpassing 18,000 since the start of the crisis.
Small business loans are flowing to construction companies, while hotels and restaurants are losing out.
Restaurants and hotels, which have taken the largest economic hit so far from the pandemic, have received less than one-tenth of the special federal assistance for small businesses that Mr. Trump approved earlier this month.
A presentation from the Small Business Administration, shared with members of Congress on Tuesday, shows more than one million loans totaling nearly $250 billion have been approved, out of the $350 billion allocated for the program. Those figures match the numbers that Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, shared with reporters on Tuesday at the White House.
The loans are allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis, in a process that has given an advantage to businesses with existing lender relationships and the resources to navigate the government application process. If borrowers abide by certain conditions, including spending the bulk of the money on employee payroll, they will never have to pay back the money.
The S.B.A. report breaks down those loans by industry and by state. It shows that construction companies have garnered the largest share of the money thus far: nearly $34 billion, which is about 14 percent of the total. The next largest share went to professional, scientific and technical services firms, followed by manufacturers and health care companies.