New guidelines for reopening the economy have been unveiled today by the White House. The guidelines dictate a three-phase plan for reopening the U.S. economy.
The Washington Post has obtained a copy of the guidelines, which are entitled “Open Up America Again.” Currently, there is not a hard timeline for when the protocol will be implemented, but President Donald Trump is expected to introduce the guidelines in a press conference on Thursday evening.
States and regions must satisfy specific “gating criteria” before the phased openings can begin.
According to the guidelines, a phased reopening can begin once there is a downward trajectory of influenced-like or COVID-19-like syndromic cases reported within a 14-day period, a downward trajectory of documented cases and positive tests within a 14-day period, and when hospitals can treat all patients without crisis care.
In Phase 1, all vulnerable individuals will continue to shelter in place. Individuals are expected to maximize physical distance and social gatherings of 10 or more should still be avoided. Employers will be encouraged to continue teleworking whenever possible but will be able to return to work in phases.
Schools and organized youth activities will remain closed, but large venues such as movie theaters, sporting venues, and places of worship can reopen operations. Gyms will also be allowed to reopen. Bars, however, will remain closed.
Elective surgeries will be allowed to be performed when appropriate on an outpatient basis.
Phase 2 will commence in states and regions that have “no evidence of a rebound and that satisfy the gating criteria a second time.”
Employers will still be encouraged to use telework and close common areas.
Schools and organized youth activities will be allowed to reopen. However, visits to senior care facilities will still be prohibited.
Large venues will be able to relax social distancing requirements. According to the guidelines, these venues can use “moderate physical distancing protocols.”
Bars will also be allowed to operate with “diminished standing-room occupancy.”
In Phase 2, non-essential travel can resume.
Phase 3 will commence once states satisfy the gating criteria a third time. In this phase, vulnerable individuals will be permitted to resume public interaction but will be encouraged to practice social distancing and to minimize public exposure.
Workplaces will be allowed to resume fully return to work in Phase 3.
The large venues will be able to further relax physical distancing protocols, and bars can increase standing room occupancy.
Under the new guidelines, employers are expected to implement best practices in regards to social distancing, protective equipment, temperature checks, testing, sanitation, disinfection of high-traffic areas, and business travel.
Individuals are expected to continue previously established hygiene protocols.