Yesterday, Trump announced new guidelines for reopening states as quickly as May 1 as the coronavirus appears to be peaking in the US.
According to the NY Post, Trump left the ultimate decision up to the governors, but still recommended criteria for each state to reopen gradually.
“America wants to be open, and Americans want to be open,” Trump touted during the daily Coronavirus Task Force press briefing at the White House.
“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,” he said.
Trump stressed the importance of getting the economy back in gear as soon as possible, saying it would help America recover from the pandemic.
“As I have said for some time now, 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.
Under Trump’s guidelines, states will need to demonstrate a downward trajectory of COVID-19 cases over 14 days and must also demonstrate a“robust” system for testing health care workers before they can proceed to a phased opening.
Phase 1 recommends continued social distancing, closure of schools, teleworking, and sheltering in place for vulnerable individuals. Non-essential travel would still be discouraged, bars should remain closed, and visits to nursing homes and hospitals should also remain prohibited. Gyms and larger venues could also open as long as they adhered to strict social distancing practices.
Phase 2 would allow schools, restaurants, and bars to reopen with limited occupancy. Non-essential travel can resume, and people can gather in groups no larger than 50, but teleworking is still encouraged.
Phase 3 would allow workplaces to reopen with no restrictions, and visits to senior care centers and hospitals could resume. “It is essentially returning to our new normal. With all of the what we talked about through all phases: continuing the good hygiene practices, continuing the respect for spaces between individuals, because we know that we still have an issue with asymptomatic spread,” Dr. Deborah Birx said.
Trump’s announcement came as seven Northeastern states already said they were extending their shutdown until May 15 in a concerted effort to contain the coronavirus pandemic.