Amid an ongoing pandemic, the president, Donald Trump said on Wednesday that the federal government will not be extending its coronavirus social distancing guidelines once they expire Thursday. Additionally, his son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, predicted that by July, the country will be "really rocking again." But with the social distancing guidelines coming to an end now, Trump previously unveiled his "Opening Up American Again" guidelines in a press briefing earlier this month.
The three-step measure lays out a phased approach to reopening the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. Although the reopening could begin as early as May 1, Trump acknowledged that the decision is ultimately up to each state's governor.
In an effort to amplify his confidence, Trump is looking to resume out-of-state travel after spending more than a month holed up in the White House, starting with a trip to Arizona next week. He also hopes to hold numerous campaign rallies, despite medical experts having said there is "little hope" of having a vaccine by then.
"America wants to be open, and Americans want to be open," Trump previously said. "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."
Pres. Trump: "Our approach outlines three phases in restoring our economic life. We are not opening all at once. But one careful step at a time. And some states will be able to open up sooner than others. Some states are not in the kind of trouble that others are in." pic.twitter.com/aVC3gli926— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) April 16, 2020
"Governors will be empowered to tailor an approach that needs the diverse circumstances of their own states," he added in part during the briefing. "Every state is very different. If they need to remain closed, we will allow them to do that, and if they believe it is time to reopen, we will provide them the freedom and guidance to accomplish that task and very, very quickly."
The plan involves a set of criteria that Trump recommends states meet before beginning the reopening of their economies. There are then three steps to slowly phase the reopening in an effort to prevent a second surge in coronavirus cases. Keep scrolling to see the entire "Opening Up America Again" guidelines.
To begin the phased-in approach, the Trump administration recommends a list of criteria that individual states should meet before beginning the slow reopening of the economy. The criteria, shared alongside the full "Opening Up America Again" guidelines by the White House shortly after the briefing, notes that "state and local officials may need to tailor the application of these criteria to local circumstances (e.g., metropolitan areas that have suffered severe COVID outbreaks, rural and suburban areas where outbreaks have not occurred or have been mild). Additionally, where appropriate, Governors should work on a regional basis to satisfy these criteria and to progress through the phases outlined below."
The criteria is divided into three separate categories: symptoms, cases and hospitals. The guidelines suggest that there be a 14-day period of downward trajectory of both influenza-like illnesses and covid-like syndromic cases. There should also be a 14-day period of downward trajectory of documented cases and a positive tests as a percent of total tests. Hospitals should also be able to treat all patients without crisis care and a "robust testing program" should be in place for "at-risk healthcare workers, including emerging antibody testing."
Phase One – Individuals
For states and regions that meet the above criteria, it is recommended that they then move on to Phase One. Each phase is divided into "Individuals" and "Employers" and provides a list of recommendations.
"ALL VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS should continue to shelter in place," Phase One reads. "Members of households with vulnerable residents should be aware that by returning to work or other environments where distancing is not practical, they could carry the virus back home. Precautions should be taken to isolate from vulnerable residents."
This phase also suggests that individuals "should maximize physical distance from others" when in public and "social distancing of more than 10 people, where appropriate distancing may not be practical, should be avoided unless precautionary measures are observed." The phase also states, "minimize non-essential travel and adhere to CDC guidelines regarding isolation following travel."
Phase One – Employers
With social distancing measures still in place, it is encouraged that people continue to "telework, whenever possible and feasible with business operations. If possible, RETURN TO WORK IN PHASES. Close COMMON AREAS where personnel are likely to congregate and interact, or enforce strict social distancing protocols." The guidelines add, "minimize non-essential travel and adhere to CDC guidelines regarding isolation following travel" and "strongly consider special accommodations or personnel who are members of a vulnerable population."
In this phase, schools and organized activities should remain closed, "visits to senior facilities and hospitals should be prohibited," large venues "can operate under strict physical distancing protocols," elective surgeries can resume, and "gyms can open if they adhere to strict physical distancing and sanitation protocols." Bars, meanwhile, "should remain closed."
Phase Two – Individuals
If there is no evidence of a rebound in coronavirus cases, states can then move on to Phase Two. "ALL VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS should continue to shelter in place. Members of households with vulnerable residents should be aware that by returning to work or other environments where distancing is not practical, they could carry the virus back home. Precautions should be taken to isolate from vulnerable residents," the second phase reads. "All individuals, WHEN IN PUBLIC (e.g., parks, outdoor recreation areas, shopping areas), should maximize physical distance from others. Social settings of more than 50 people, where appropriate distancing may not be practical, should be avoided unless precautionary measures are observed. NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL can resume."
Phase Two – Employers
At the same time, employers should "continue to ENCOURAGE TELEWORK, whenever possible and feasible with business operations. Close COMMON AREAS where personnel are likely to congregate and interact, or enforce moderate social distancing protocols. Strongly consider SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS for personnel who are members of a VULNERABLE POPULATION."
In this phase, "schools and other organized youth actives e.g., daycare, camp) can reopen" and "bars may operate with diminished standing-room occupancy, where applicable and appropriate." The second phase of the guidelines still call for visits to senior care facilities and hospitals to be prohibited and states that "those who do interact with residents and patients must adhere to strict protocols regarding hygiene."
Large venues such as sit-down dining, movie theaters, sporting venues, places of worship "can operate under moderate physical distancing protocols." Elective surgeries can continue, and gyms can remain open if they "adhere to strict physical distancing and sanitation protocols."
Phase Three – Individuals
"VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS can resume public interactions, but should practice physical distancing, minimizing exposure to social settings where distancing may not be practical, unless precautionary measures are observed," the guidelines for Phase Three read. "LOW-RISK POPULATIONS should consider minimizing time spent in crowded environments."
Phase Three – Employers0comments
This final phase notes that employers can "resume UNRESTRICTED STAFFING of worksites." It is during this phase that "visits to senior care facilities and hospitals can resume. Those who interact with residents and patients must be diligent regarding hygiene."
In Phase Three, large venues will be able to "operate under limited physical distancing protocols," gyms can "remain open if they adhere to standard sanitation protocols," and bars "may operate with increased standing room occupancy, where applicable."