White House Issues Guidelines for Opening Up America Again

President Trump has unveiled Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach based on the advice of public health experts. These steps will help state and local officials when reopening their economies, getting people back to work, and continuing to protect American lives.

"We are not opening all at once, but one careful step at a time," President Trump said at the coronavirus task force press briefing Thursday. The President emphasized the strategy is a "gradual process," with some states opening sooner than others. The guidelines, he added, focus on "sheltering the highest risk individuals." 

The guidelines are voluntary and governors will ultimately make the decision to lift stay-at-home orders and social-distancing restrictions,  President Trump said.

Each phase requires a 14-day period of "downward trajectory" of COVID-19 cases in order to move on to the next phase. Qualifying for each phase will be judged on certain criteria for widespread testing for patients and health care workers, contact tracing and hospital capacity. Vice President Mike Pence said the guidelines to lifting restrictions could be implemented statewide or by county. 

View the Guidelines for Opening Up America Again here and click read more to see the phases in detail. 

The first phase of the "Opening Up America Again" plan requires states or regions meet the criteria and continue practicing social distancing guidelines currently in place. The phase suggests: 

  • Requiring vulnerable individuals to continue sheltering in place.
  • Practicing physical distancing in public, avoiding socializing in groups of more than 10 people.
  • Minimizing nonessential travel, continuing to encourage telework.
  • Shuttered schools should remained closed.
  • Prohibiting nursing home and hospital visits.
  • Elective surgeries can resume, on an outpatient basis.
  • Bars should remain closed, but gyms can open under physical distancing and sanitation protocols.

The second phase, under which states or regions with no evidence of resurgence that meet certain criteria a second time, can begin easing some of the social restrictions.

  • Schools can reopen.
  • Nonessential travel can resume.
  • Bars could operate with "diminished standing-room occupancy."
  • Vulnerable people would still be encouraged to stay home.
  • All people should maximize physical distancing in public.
  • Continue to encourage telework.
  • Gyms and bars can remain open.
  • Visits to nursing homes and hospitals are still prohibited.
  • Movie theaters, sporting venues and churches can operate under moderate physical distancing.
  • Elective surgeries can resume on an outpatient and in-patient basis.

The third phase, in which states and regions with no evidence of a resurgence and meet the criteria a third time, lifts most restrictions. Vulnerable people may return to social settings while practicing physical distancing and visits to nursing homes and hospitals can resume. 

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