Businesses ramp up operations as nations prep for tourists

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Customers sit at a terrace bar in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, May 31, 2020. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Snchez says he will ask Spain's Parliament for a final two-week extension of the nation's state of emergency that has allowed the government to take lockdown measures to control its coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)


— Chuy's Holdings, which runs restaurants that make Tex-Mex inspired dishes, has re-opened a majority of its dining rooms. The company said Monday that 87 of its dining rooms were in operation in varying levels of capacity. Five restaurants continue to operate with enhanced off-premise service only, while nine restaurants remain temporarily closed. Chuy's has restaurants in 19 states.

— U.S. restaurant traffic is improving as dining rooms reopen. Total transactions at U.S. restaurant chains were down 18% year-over-year in the week ending May 24, according to The NPD Group, a data and consulting firm. That was a 25-point gain from the week of April 12, during the pandemic’s height, when declines hit 43%. Transactions at fast food restaurants were down 17% the week of May 24, while transactions at sit-down chains were down 49%.


— Furniture maker FlexSteel Industries is continuing to take actions to strengthen its liquidity and conserve cash during the virus outbreak as it contends with softer furniture demand. The company is extending 25% salary reductions for its CEO and CFO/COO, as well as a 50% cash compensation reduction for its board through Oct. 1. It is also evaluating and renegotiating lease obligations where feasible.


— Air travel is improving but still very weak as the traditional start of summer vacation approaches. The Transportation Security Administration said it screened 352,947 people Sunday, the most since March 22. That was still 86% fewer people that passed through checkpoints on the comparable Sunday a year ago.

— Frontier Airlines said Monday it started fever checks for passengers and crews and will stop anyone with a temperature of 100.4 Fahrenheit or higher from boarding the plane. Frontier, a budget airline based in Denver, said screenings are part of its approach to protect passengers from contracting the new coronavirus. Other airlines have not matched the policy, which Frontier announced last month. They want the Transportation Security Administration to take passengers’ temperatures.

A TSA spokeswoman said no decision has been made about health screening measures.

— Cooper Tire & Rubber is beginning the process of restarting production on a limited basis at its tire manufacturing plant in El Salto, Mexico. The company's procedures for reopening include required employee health disclosures, increased cleaning and disinfecting of facilities and equipment, social distancing and physical barriers and visitor restrictions.

Cooper has already reopened plants in China, the U.S. and Serbia with similar procedures.


— Spain’s national statistics office said that it received zero international tourists in April. That compares with 7 million tourists that spent 7 billion euros ($7.8 billion) in Spain in the prior-year period. Spain is waiting until July to reopen its border for foreign tourists. Tourism is a pillar of Spain’s economy. Eighty million annual visitors generate 12% of Spain’s GDP and help employ 2.6 million people.

— Turkish airlines resumed limited domestic flights, restaurants welcomed dine-in customers and beaches and museums reopened as Turkey’s broadest easing of coronavirus restrictions came into effect.

A Turkish Airlines flight departed from Ankara airport for Istanbul on Monday as Turkey lifted a travel ban between 15 of its worst-affected provinces. The air routes between Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antalya and Trabzon are the first start, with others scheduled to follow gradually.

Istanbul’s 15th century Grand Bazaar, museums, gyms, child care centers and nurseries, were among other venues allowed to resume operations. Bars, nightclubs and hookah bars however, will remain closed.

Greece lifted lockdown measures for businesses including hotels, open-air cinemas and tattoo parlors on Monday. International flights with relaxed screening procedures will resume to Athens and Greece’s second-largest city Thessaloniki starting June 15 and expanding to the rest of the country on July 1.

Hotels with a 12-month operating license were allowed to reopen Monday, but many chose to remain closed until closer to the start of the tourism season in two weeks, citing low bookings.

MARKETS: Stock indexes closed higher on Wall Street after shaking off a wobbly start. Investors balanced cautious optimism about the reopening of businesses shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic against worries that the civil unrest across the U.S. over police brutality could disrupt the economic recovery and widen the outbreak.