President Donald Trump has unveiled a three-stage process of exiting the coronavirus lockdown.
Jeff Mason and Steve Holland reported the news for Reuters:
President Donald Trump laid out new guidelines on Thursday for U.S. states to emerge from a coronavirus shutdown in a staggered, three-stage approach meant to revive the U.S. economy even as the country continues to fight the pandemic.
The recommendations call on states to show a “downward trajectory” of COVID-19 cases or positive tests for the disease over 14 days before proceeding with the plan, which gradually loosens restrictions on businesses that have been shuttered to blunt the spread of the virus.
“We are not opening all at once, but one careful step at a time,” Trump told reporters at the White House. The president had said earlier this month he wanted to reopen the economy with a “big bang.”
CNN’s Kevin Liptak, Kristen Holmes, and Ryan Nobles wrote:
President Donald Trump unveiled new guidelines on Thursday meant to help states loosen their social distancing restrictions, but in a retreat from his onetime claim of “absolute authority” to restart the economy, he told governors on an afternoon telephone call it was their decision on when and how to reopen.
“You are going to call your own shots,” Trump said, according to a person familiar with the conversation. “I’ve gotten to know almost all of you, most of you I’ve known and some very well. You are all very capable people, I think in all cases, very capable people. And you’re going to be calling your shots.”
It was a turnabout from his Monday claim that “the President of the United States calls the shots” in how to ease restrictions that have kept most Americans indoors and forced closures of schools, restaurants, gyms and other businesses. And it was an indication that even as he tries to ease the country out of its virtual shutdown, Trump will place responsibility elsewhere should cases spike again.
The BBC quoted Trump as saying:
In his daily briefing on Thursday, President Trump declared “the next front in our war – opening up America again”.
“America wants to be open and Americans want to be open,” he said. “A national shutdown is not a sustainable long-term solution.”
He said that a prolonged lockdown risked inflicting a serious toll on public health. He warned of a “sharp rise” in drug abuse, alcohol abuse, heart disease, and other “physical and mental” problems.
Mr Trump told reporters that healthy citizens would be able to return to work “as conditions allow”. He said Americans would continue to be called upon to maintain social distancing measures and to stay home if they are unwell.
He said that reopening the US economy would be done “one careful step at a time” but he called on state governors to move “very, very quickly, depending on what they want to do”.
Shortly afterwards, leading Democrat Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, called the new guidelines “vague and inconsistent”.