Here's Trump's 'Opening Up America Again' plan [DOCUMENT]

1010 WINS Newsroom
April 16, 2020 - 5:36 pm

    WASHINGTON (1010) — The Trump administration issued on Thursday new guidelines for states, individuals and employers on how to ease up on social distancing to deal with the coronavirus in areas where cases of coronavirus are on the decline.

    The guidelines distributed to governors are published under the headline “Opening Up America Again,” which lays out a phased approach to restoring normal activity in places that have strong testing and are seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases.

    "A national shutdown is not a sustainable long-term solution," President Donald Trump said.

    READ: "OPENING UP AMERICA GAIN"

    The new guidelines are aimed at easing restrictions in areas with low transmission of the coronavirus, while holding the line in harder-hit locations. They make clear that the return to normalcy will be a far longer process than Trump initially envisioned, with federal officials warning that some social distancing measures may need to remain in place through the end of the year to prevent a new outbreak.

    Places with declining infections and strong testing would begin a three-phased gradual reopening of businesses and schools — each phase lasting at least 14 days — to ensure that infections don’t accelerate again.

    In phase one, for instance, the plan recommends strict social distancing for all people in public. Gatherings larger than 10 people are to be avoided and nonessential travel is discouraged.

    In phase two, people are encouraged to maximize social distancing where possible and limit gatherings to no more than 50 people unless precautionary measures are taken. Travel could resume.

    Phase three envisions a return to normalcy for most Americans, with a focus on identification and isolation of any new infections.

    “We’re days, maybe weeks away from the starting line and then you have to have 14 days of declining cases, of declining symptoms and hospital capacity that exists in case you have a rebound,” he said.

    West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, a Trump ally, cautiously floated the idea of reopening parts of the state, but said testing capacity and contact tracing would need to be considerably ramped up before restrictions could be safely lifted.

    “All would be forgotten very quickly if we moved into a stage quicker than we should, and then we got into a situation where we had people dying like flies,” Justice told reporters.

    At earliest, the guidelines suggest, some parts of the country could see a resumption in normal commerce and social gatherings after a month of evaluating whether easing up on restrictions has led to a resurgence in virus cases. In other parts of the country, or if virus cases pick up, it could be substantially longer.

    Trump briefed the nation’s governors on the plan Thursday afternoon, saying they were going to be responsible for deciding when it is safe to lift restrictions in their states. It came days after the president drew swift pushback for claiming he had the absolute authority to determine how and when states reopen.

    “We have a very large number of states that want to get going and they’re in very good shape,” Trump said. “That’s good with us, frankly.”

    The guidelines also include general recommendations to businesses as they plan for potential reopenings, suggesting temperature-taking, rapid COVID-19 testing and widespread increased disinfection efforts in workplaces.

    Those most susceptible to the respiratory disease are advised to remain sheltered in place until their area enters the final phase — and even then are encouraged to take precautions to avoid close contact with other people.

    Governors, for their part, have been moving ahead with their own plans for how to safely revive normal activity. Seven Midwestern governors announced Thursday they will coordinate on reopening their economies. Similar pacts were announced earlier in the week in the West and Northeast.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.