On Thursday, President Donald Trump announced a set of guidelines that states are to follow in order to open back up during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The guidelines include “gateway” requirements that must be met before states can move ahead with reopening various areas of business and social functions. The gateway requirements include things such as a 14-day decrease in confirmed cases of the virus and a return of hospitals to pre-virus conditions.
Trump pointed out that the decision on whether to fully open up a state rests with the governor. The big picture: It leaves the final say in any loosening of restrictions to state and local officials, adding that governors should work on a regional basis to progress through the phased recovery.
Some governors are joining forces by region to decide what would work best or their area of the country. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Delaware and Rhode Island have formed a group to look at reopening the region. And governors from seven Midwestern states – Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky – are working together to reopen their economies.
The 18-page guide to reopening state economies spells out what in phases what states will have to do to be able to lift stay-at-home orders.
Here’s what the plan says:
To be considered for reopening, states must meet "core state preparedness responsibilities.” That includes securing adequate testing and screening, and having the ability to provide protective gear, ICU beds and medical equipment should the need arise.
In addition to the medical requirements, the guidelines reinforced the need for heightened personal hygiene. The guidelines urge people to wear masks or face coverings when in public, and employers are asked to consider social distancing in the workplace or continued work-at-home possibilities. The document also asks that employers bar anyone with symptoms of the COVID-19 infection from returning to work until they have been cleared by a physician.
Here are the three phases of the plan:
Phase one: If they observe strict social distancing, restaurants, movie theaters, sporting venues, places of worship and gyms can reopen. Outpatient elective surgeries can resume when appropriate.
Schools should remain closed and there would be no visitors allowed to assisted care, senior living facilities or hospitals. Bars should remain closed.
Phase two: Schools and summer camps could reopen. People would be allowed in parks and at beaches and shopping centers. Gatherings of more than 50 people should be avoided. Nonessential travel could resume. Restaurants and movie theaters and would have to practice moderate social distancing recommendations. Bars could reopen with diminished standing-room occupancy.
As is suggested in phase one, vulnerable people – those who are older and or are immune-compromised -- should continue to shelter in place.
Phase three: In phase three, vulnerable individuals could resume public interactions with social distancing. Large public venues could open if they employ social distancing rules. Visits to senior care facilities and hospitals could resume.