Trump to Unveil Plan for Phased Opening from Coronavirus Lockdowns

Individual state governors will make the final call in reopening their states, but the White House on Thursday is publishing guidelines for how best to do so.

President Donald Trump waves during an event celebrating American truckers, at the White House, Thursday, April 16, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump will announce on Thursday new guidelines to help states navigate how and when to reopen their economies.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP on Thursday will unveil federal guidelines for how state governments should go about relaxing stay-at-home orders and social distancing restrictions in the weeks and months ahead.
And in a reversal from comments he made earlier in the week about having "total" authority to decide when states ease lockdown measures meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, Trump's guidelines will instead cede that decision to state governors.
"You're going to call your own shots," Trump said during a conference call with U.S. governors on Thursday, according to audio of the call that was obtained by The New York Times.
Separately, the White House distributed a document to the governors on the call spelling out how and when the federal government would recommend they relax coronavirus-related restrictions. According to the checklist, which was obtained by CNN, governors should see a steady decrease in cases over a 14-day period and establish "efficient screening and testing sites," among other developments.
Under the phased reopening, the White House is advocating for large facilities and some restaurants to come back first, as long as they maintain social distancing practices. Trump has repeatedly pushed for a May 1 return to business for much of the economy, and he told governors on Thursday that he would support them if they chose to "open before the date of May 1."
He conceded, however, that a later opening would be acceptable if individual governors "want to take your time." Many states have already announced extensions to their social distancing guidelines that will in some cases run into May and June.
Trump is expected to unveil more details of the White House plan during a coronavirus press briefing scheduled for Thursday evening. More than 653,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the U.S., according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. More than 30,000 have died.
Trump on Wednesday claimed the U.S. had "passed the peak on new cases" and that the country should quickly pivot toward relaxing restrictions on consumers and businesses. The White House has in recent weeks found itself at odds with domestic health officials who have warned that a premature opening would send cases spiking and perhaps negate the social distancing efforts Americans have widely adopted to this point.
Still, although the lockdown measures are believed to be helping slow the spread of the disease and mitigate the potential strain on the country's health care sector, they have been economically devastating. More than 22 million Americans applied for initial unemployment claims over the past four weeks, effectively erasing the labor market growth the U.S. had enjoyed over much of the past decade.
Groups of individual states have banded together in recent days to form task forces designed to plan a coordinated economic reopening. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a partnership between six mostly Northeastern states earlier this week. On Thursday, a similar Midwestern pact was formed, with representatives from Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.