AP (17 April 2020) – President Donald Trump gave governors a road map Thursday for recovering from the economic pain of the coronavirus pandemic, laying out a phased approach to restoring normal activity in places that have strong testing and are seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases.
You’re going to call your own shots,? Trump told the governors, according to an audio recording obtained by The Associated Press. “We’re going to be standing alongside of you.”
The new guidelines are aimed at easing restrictions in areas with low transmission of the coronavirus, while holding the line in harder-hit locations. They make clear that the return to normalcy will be a far longer process than Trump initially envisioned, with federal officials warning that some social distancing measures may need to remain in place through the end of the year to prevent a new outbreak.
Places with declining infections and strong testing would begin a three-phased gradual reopening of businesses and schools – each phase lasting at least 14 days – to ensure that infections don’t accelerate again.
In phase one, for instance, the plan recommends strict social distancing for all people in public. Gatherings larger than 10 people are to be avoided and nonessential travel is discouraged.
In phase two, people are encouraged to maximize social distancing where possible and limit gatherings to no more than 50 people unless precautionary measures are taken. Travel could resume.
Phase three envisions a return to normalcy for most Americans, with a focus on identification and isolation of any new infections.