(Reuters) – President Donald Trump rolled out his guidelines for how the United States can reopen businesses and schools shut down by the coronavirus Thursday evening.
Reuters viewed an early version of the guidelines. Here are the main takeaways:
1. States should have a “downward trajectory” of COVID-19 cases for a 14-day period before reopening, or a downward trajectory of positive tests for the same time period, given flat or increasing testing levels.
Track infections and deaths by state here here
2. U.S. states have core responsibility for testing and tracing citizens. A list of “core state preparedness responsibilities” includes the “ability to quickly set up safe and efficient screening and testing sites” and ensure “surveillance sites are screening for asymptomatic cases” and COVID-19 positive people are traced.
U.S. testing to date has been delayed here and chaotic, thanks to federal government roadblocks and failures. Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Google and Apple Inc (AAPL.O) are working together on software to make contact tracing easier, but that will not be available here until mid-May.
3. Phase 1 of the reopening recommends that schools and daycare facilities remain closed and that people maintain social distancing in public. Businesses should continue to encourage teleworking, and meetings of more than 10 people should be discouraged.
Event spaces like movie theaters can reopen, with “strict” social distancing measures in place. Elective surgeries can resume, on an outpatient basis.
Non-essential travel and visits to senior living facilities should remain suspended. Gyms can reopen, with proper sanitation and distances, but bars should not.
4. Phase 2 of the plan, which states should progress to after another 14-day decline in positive cases, includes lifting the ban on non-essential travel. It recommends businesses continue to encourage teleworking and close common areas where people congregate.
Employers should consider special accommodation for personnel who are members of a “vulnerable population,” which is defined as the elderly or people with underlying conditions like obesity, asthma and chronic lung conditions.
Schools and youth activities can resume, and bars can reopen with minimized standing room areas. Large venues, like sporting arenas and houses of worship, can operate under “moderate” physical distancing. Elective surgeries on an in-patient business can resume.
5. Phase 3 of the plan, which states can enter after another 14-day period of declining cases, allows businesses to resume “unrestricted staffing” of worksites, and visits to senior homes to resume.
Large venues can operate with limited physical distancing guidelines and bars can increase standing-room-only areas.
Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by Heather Timmons; Editing by Leslie Adler