(Photo : REUTERS/Yara Nardi) A luthier works on a part of a violin in his workshop as Italy eases some of the lockdown measures put in place during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Rome, Italy May 20, 2020.

As nations around the world relax restrictions on coronavirus, people learn that "the new normal" is anything but that.

(Photo : REUTERS/Yara Nardi)
A luthier works on a part of a violin in his workshop as Italy eases some of the lockdown measures put in place during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Rome, Italy May 20, 2020.

Several truths have emerged: schools, workplaces, public transit, pubs, and restaurants are all on post-lockdown life's front lines. How each of those main sectors handles social distance and tamp down on anticipated new outbreaks will decide the everyday life shape for millions as researchers work to produce a vaccine.

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Europe, United Kindom

In Britain, the House of Commons leader said parliament members should come back to London to work in person on June 2 after weeks of remote work. Jacob Rees-Mogg said the decision recognizes "the need for business to continue." According to Associated Press (AP), authorities are likely to limit the number of people allowed into the small chamber, where lawmakers sit on long benches, shoulder to shoulder.

In Italy, where good food is a vital part of life, once-packed restaurants and cafés face a substantial financial hit as they reopen with stringent social distancing rules. This year's losses are projected to pile up to € 30 billion ($32 billion), AP reported.

"We have to turn upside down all the activity that we did before," lamented chef Raffaele di Cristo, who now must wear a mask and latex gloves as he prepares food at the popular Corsi Trattoria in Rome. "Everything is changed. Slowly, slowly, we will try to understand and to adapt to this coronavirus."

Corsi reopened with half its tables removed for business Monday to ensure the mandated 1-meter (3-foot) spacing between the tables. Hand sanitizing gel was placed at the entrance, and a new ordering system was introduced so that customers could read the menu on their phones.

Some shops in Italy have lamented a shortage of gloves driving customers away. On Wednesday, May 20, Veneto Gov. Luca Zaia said he would amend the rules on wearing gloves in clothing stores and shoe shops and then remove the sanitizing gel.

On the same day, Slovakia reopened theaters, cinemas, and shopping centers, but with new tourist numbers limits, even though COVID-19 had just 28 deaths.

Cambridge has become Britain's first university to implement virtually and streamed online classes until the summer of 2021. Other institutions took on various tacks.

France limits its primary school spaces and gives priority to the children of essential workers and those in need. Some younger students even go on alternating days, while secondary schools remain closed.

As beaches reopened in Barcelona, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez asked lawmakers to support a plan to extend the state of emergency of the nation by another two weeks to June 7. The main opposition in Spain, the conservative Popular Party, dismissed the move.

Asia, other parts of the world

In South Korea, hundreds of thousands of high school seniors had their temperatures checked and used hand sanitizers. Wearing masks were required for students and teachers, and plastic partitions were installed around desks at some schools.

Aircraft engine supplier Rolls-Royce revealed plans Wednesday to slash 9,000 jobs as it deals with the air travel crash. Those jobs generally come with good salaries and benefits, and losing them is a sharp blow to local communities.

Some companies are quick to adapt to new realities. Safari operators in Kenya have resorted to sharing live broadcasts on social media in the hope that attention to the endangered species and other species will not fade.

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Many governments are in fierce disagreement over what the new normal should be, including those in scores of US states.

While infection rates in Asia and much of Europe have been falling, the pandemic in Latin America is still spiking. Brazil became the third worst-hit nation in the world this week, with more than 250,000 confirmed cases despite minimal monitoring. In Lima, Peru's capital city, patients with coronavirus fill up intensive care beds.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the pandemic in Africa, where the virus has entered every region, might drive millions into extreme poverty. Guterres said that for the struggling nations, Africa needs more than $200 billion and an "across-the-board debt standstill."

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