U.S. President Donald Trump’s new guidelines for reopening parts of the country recommend states and localities confirm a two-week downward trend in coronavirus symptoms and documented cases before starting to ease lockdowns while assuring hospitals have adequate capacity and robust testing in place.
The administration envisions states or localities meeting those criteria each time they progress through three phases. It’s not prescribing target dates for meeting each phase, and officials acknowledged restrictions could snap back if there’s a resurgence in cases.
Here’s how the new guidelines envision easing social distancing restrictions:
Phase one: Restaurants, movie theaters, sporting venues, places of worship and gyms can reopen if they observe strict social distancing. Elective surgeries can resume when appropriate on an outpatient basis.
Schools currently closed should remain shut and visits to senior living facilities and hospitals should be prohibited. Bars should remain closed. High-risk individuals should remain at home.
Phase two: Schools and organized youth activities like camps can reopen. Nonessential travel can resume, and people can start circulating in parks, outdoor recreational areas and shopping centers, while avoiding gatherings of more than 50 individuals unless unspecified precautionary measures are taken. Restaurants, movie theaters and other large venues can operate under moderate social distancing rules.
Vulnerable individuals should continue to shelter in place, and employers should continue to encourage telework whenever possible. Common areas where people congregate in close quarters should be closed. Bars can operate with diminished standing-room occupancy.
Phase three: 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.
The document also outlines “core state preparedness responsibilities,” including having adequate testing and screening, the ability to supply enough protective gear and medical equipment and plans to surge intensive care beds, if needed.
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.
The document repeats past federal guidance on personal hygiene — including urging people to wear masks or face coverings when in public. Employers should consider temperature checks, social distancing and doing their own testing and contact tracing. It urges barring anyone with symptoms from returning to work until they are cleared by a medical provider.