In a Thursday press conference, President Donald Trump outlined his plan to reopen the American economy.
With guidance from his top health officials, his three-phase plan includes slowly opening the doors for social gatherings, providing governors maintain a firm grasp on flattening the curve of coronavirus cases.
If states can pass criteria set by the Coronavirus Task Force, they will be permitted to move through to Phase 1 starting Friday, the president said.
In order to return to normalcy, states will have to continue passing and improving on criteria set out by the White House.
The region or state must be on a downward trajectory for both influenza-like and coronavirus symptoms for at least 14 consecutive days. Confirmed cases must also see a downward trend for 14 consecutive days.
Hospitals must prove they are able to treat all patients without crisis care and have an active testing program in place for at-risk healthcare employees.
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Employers will be instructed to consider special accommodations for vulnerable populations, encourage telework (work-from-home) if possible, and return to workspaces in small batches until deemed safe.
Vulnerable individuals should continue to shelter in place. Communities will continue to promote a maximum physical distance and avoid gatherings of 10 or more.
Non-essential travel should be avoided.
Schools that have already closed should remain shut until communities can advance to the next phases, and senior living and hospital facilities should continue prohibiting visitors.
Strict protocols will be implemented for venues with sit-down service of any kind, and facilities like gyms will have to adhere to vigilant sanitation and distancing guidelines.
Groups will be kept to 50 or fewer, and non-essential travel can resume.
Companies are suggested to continue allowing remote work (if possible), and work facilities must keep common areas closed.
Phase two will see the reopening of schools, camps, and daycares, while senior centers will remain closed to visitors.
Venues of a larger nature can resume practice in phase two, but must adhere to moderate distancing protocols.
Elective surgeries will be allowed to resume.
Most businesses will be allowed to reopen.
Those vulnerable to respiratory disease should continue to practice physical distancing as much as possible.
Employers can return to unrestricted staffing, and businesses may open to pre-pandemic operations.
If any region fails to pass the criteria, restrictions will once again be put in place. Whether they will start the process over, or simply move back down in phases, was not specified in the guidelines.
For now, it is up to the governors’ discretion as to when to begin the phases.
“We’re really all working together,” said Trump. “Now the American people are ready to rise to the occasion once again. They are ready to show the world once more than Americans can defeat any challenge.”