President Donald Trump unveiled new federal guidelines for parts of the U.S. to start relaxing the strict measures imposed to try to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The new guidance will identify the necessary circumstances for areas of the country to allow employees to start returning to work-but the decision will ultimately be made by state governors.
“All of American society is engaged and mobilized in the war against the invisible enemy. While we must remain vigilant, it is clear that our aggressive strategy is working,” President Trump said.
Prior to his daily briefing, President Trump had a teleconference with all the governors telling them they could move through the guidelines at their own pace and that the guidelines are not formal orders from the federal government.
These guidelines were developed by the top medical experts from across the Government and are based on verifiable metrics regarding the situation on the ground.
Under the first phase of the three-phase plan, restaurants, movie theaters, and large sporting venues would be appropriate to reopen under certain conditions, while schools, daycare centers, and bars would not. The guidelines set clear benchmarks on new cases, testing, and hospital resources for States to meet to proceed toward a phased reopening.
Under phase two, schools and activities like daycare centers and camps can reopen and non-essential travel can resume. Visits to senior care facilities and hospitals will remain prohibited. The large venues, like restaurants, movie theaters and sporting venues, that were allowed to reopen in Phase One can remain open and are allowed to ease their physical distancing protocols to a “moderate” level.
Phase Three would then kick in for states and regions with no evidence of a rebound that satisfy the gating criteria a third time. Vulnerable individuals can resume public interactions but practice social distancing. Employers can resume unrestricted staffing of workplaces. Large public venues can operate under limited social distancing rules. Visits to senior care facilities and hospitals can resume.