President Donald Trump and his coronavirus task force released new guidelines on Thursday to reopen the U.S. economy, even as the number of cases and deaths continue to climb. Trump's "Opening Up America Again" guidelines start with a Phase One, which still urges vulnurable people to continue social distancing measures as they have been for the past month. However, it also includes guidelines for employers to begin slowly going back to full operation. The plans quickly launched a debate on social media.
The new guidelines put much of the responsibility on re-opening the economy on the states' shoulders. Making sure residents can get tested for the coronavirus is part of the "core state preparedness responsibilities" list. States are also responsible for supplying personal protective equipment to health care workers and protecting other workers in "critical industries." Once a state government is satisfied with a "downward trajectory" of cases over a 14-day period, the guidelines suggest starting the "phased comeback."
"You're gonna call your own shots," Trump told governors Thursday, reports CBS News. "I've gotten to know almost all of you. Most of you I've known and some very well beforehand. You're very capable people. I think in all cases very capable people. And you're gonna be calling your shots. We'll be standing right alongside of you. And we're gonna get our country open, and get it working and our people want to get working."
Obtained by @cbsnews: Here’s Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3. Document says recommendations are “Based on up-to-date data and readiness; mitigates risk of resurgence; protects the most vulnerable” and is “implementable on statewide or county-by-County basis at governors’ discretion.” pic.twitter.com/CrCnYiHuDr— Ed O'Keefe (@edokeefe) April 16, 2020
The president has now set his sights on reopening the country by May 1, which is only two weeks away. In the interim, governors on the West Coast, in the Northeast and Midwest have set up their own reopen task forces to coordinate plans. A state government official who was on Trump's call said the new guidelines "don't look materially different" from what the task forces created.
Phase 2 has so many contradictions...Encourage those who are vulnerable to continue sheltering in place, but let's reopen the schools.
NOPE. My 2 asthma kids will not go back to school in phase 2.— Sarah Bee (@JamPey10) April 16, 2020
Not included in Phase 1.. pic.twitter.com/OGdo8dnYyd— TrumpsPrisonWallet (@PrisonTrumps) April 16, 2020
"The implication is that states should begin opening up even before testing comes online for the rest of us," the official told CBS News. "Now, that may well happen in some parts of the country, but again, this seems to signal that the administration is more worried about protecting business than it is about getting us the tests we need."
Police are going to love being burdened with breaking up group groups of more than people for months on end— Mónica 6ft Apart (@Moniorti) April 16, 2020
Phase 1 reopening includes resuming elective surgeries - great decision to provide exemplary medical care for our patients. Smart move @realDonaldTrump 👍🏻👏🏼— Nicole Saphier, MD (@NBSaphierMD) April 16, 2020
The 18-page document is broken into three phases, with the first advising vulnerable individuals to continue social distancing. People should continue keeping physical distance from others in public, avoid groups of 10 or more and keep non-essential travel to a minimum. During Phase One, employers should continue encouraging people to work from home, while asking people to return to work in "phases." Common areas should be closed and non-essential travel should also be avoided.
Name me a state that has robust testing for healthcare workers AND antibody testing?
Because if not, there is no state ready for "Phase 1."
Seriously asking.— Dara Kass, MD (@darakass) April 16, 2020
Just......noooooooo. Not for phase 1 😖 Whoever thought opening large venues during phase 1 was a good idea has not been paying attention to super spreader events. #coronavirus #covid19 #america #commonsense pic.twitter.com/Im6UZ3kOuy— Alisa (@masqueradeofart) April 17, 2020
In another section for "specific types of employers," the White House suggests that large venues like movie theaters, sports venues and places of worship could open "under strict physical distancing protocols." Doctors should also be allowed to perform elective surgeries and gyms could open if they follow physical distancing guidelines. Schools and bars should stay closed.
“Phase 1 looks really terrific. We’re thinking four stand alone movies then they all team up” pic.twitter.com/ygebLgf4YR— Scott Sweeney (@SkipSeasoned) April 17, 2020
Best I can tell
Phase 1: Haircut— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) April 17, 2020
Phase 2: Eating out
Phase 3: Drinks afterwards
By the third phase, the White House hopes the economy would be back to normal in a state. This portion is "For States and Regions with no evidence of a rebound and that satisfy the gating criteria a third time." Schools would be open by phase two and by phase three, businesses should "resume unrestricted staffing of worksites."
At least the "Phase 1 v Phase 2" portion is easy to understand.
Phase 1: All the poor people go back to work
Phase 2: When the poor people stop dying, the rich can go back out to restaurants again.
easy peasy— John McCarthy (@JohnFMcCarthy) April 16, 2020
"America wants to be open, and Americans want to be open," Trump said during Friday's press conference. "Based on the latest data, our team of experts agree we can start the next front in our war, which we are calling Opening Up America Again, and that is what we are doing, opening up our country, and we have to do that."
opening the economy in 3 phases reminds me that we are still at Phase 1 of the Trade Deal with China— StockCats (@StockCats) April 16, 2020
Trump reiterated his belief that a national shutdown is "not a sustainable long-term solution." "To preserve the health of our citizens, we must also preserve the health and functioning of our economy. Over the long haul, you cannot do one without the other," he said, reports the New York Post.