Donald Trump issues three-point plan for 'Opening Up America Again'
16 April 2020, 23:36 | Updated: 17 April 2020, 01:09
President Donald Trump has issued a three-point plan for "Opening Up America Again" as the country continues to battle coronavirus.
The US leader was speaking at a press conference from the White House on Thursday evening, in which he said the USA "is in the process of winning the war" against coronavirus.
He told reporters that the US government's team of experts now agree "that we can begin the next front in our war," based on the latest data.
"We're calling it 'Opening Up America Again'," he said of the country's three-point plan, where each phase will be separated by 14 days.
It comes as the US is now widely considered the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak, with both the most deaths and the highest number of confirmed cases. It also has the unenviable record for the greatest daily death toll.
President Trump: "Based on the latest data our team of experts now agrees that we can begin the next front in our war, which we're calling 'Opening Up America Again'. And that's what we're doing. We're opening up our country."— CSPAN (@cspan) April 16, 2020
Full video here: https://t.co/wMt4ud0X8m pic.twitter.com/6ygbNkq7oq
The president discussed the prospect of re-opening the economy, saying that a national economic shutdown "is not a sustainable solution."
He added: "We are not opening all at once, but one careful step a time. Some states will be able to open up sooner than others."
In a bid to reassure US citizens, he said the country will re-open in a "safe and structured and very responsible fashion."
If secondary outbreaks happen after the lockdown is lifted, Mr Trump said the government would rapidly identify them and "put them out quickly."
The president claimed the US is "past the peak in new cases" and so life and the economy will now "start again," with healthy Americans being allowed to return to work, according to the new measures.
"Our experts say the curve has flattened and the peak in new cases is behind us," he said.
"Together we will rebuild this land that we love."
However, before the three steps can begin, states must be able to prove three things:
1) Show a downward trajectory of flu-like or Covid-like illnesses
2) Show a decrease in the number of documented cases or percentage of positive tests
3) Be able to treat all patients without crisis care or have a robust testing system in place
President Trump: "We are not opening all at once but one careful step at a time...now that we have passed the peak in new cases we're starting our life again...this is a gradual process."— CSPAN (@cspan) April 16, 2020
Full video here: https://t.co/wMt4ud0X8m pic.twitter.com/6kaYz4b7Av
For the first phase, labelled 'For States and Regions That Satisfy Gating Criteria', vulnerable people will be advised to continue sheltering in their homes.
Their family members "should be aware" that they could carry the virus home with them if they decide to return to work.
When in public, people should "maximise physical distance from others" and socialising in groups of more than 10 should be avoided.
Non-essential travel must still be limited, while people should return to work in phases.
Schools "that are currently closed should remain closed," along with bars. Gyms can reopen if they adhere to strict physical distancing and sanitation protocols.
For the second phase, labelled 'For States and Regions With No Evidence Of A Rebound And That Satisfy The Gating Criteria A Second Time', all vulnerable individuals will still be advised to stay at home, with the same warnings for their families who leave the house.
When in public, physical distancing must be continued, however this phase ups the number of people allowed to socialise together to 50.
Non-essential travel will be free to resume and schools and youth organisations will be able to re-open.
Restaurants, cinemas, sporting venues and places of worship will be allowed to move from adhering to strict physical distancing protocols -laid out in Phase One - to moderate measures.
Gyms will also still need to abide by the measures laid out in Phase One, however bars will be able to re-open "with diminished standing-room occupancy where applicable and appropriate."
For the second phase, labelled 'For States and Regions With No Evidence Of A Rebound And That Satisfy The Gating Criteria A Second Time', vulnerable individuals will be free to resume public interactions but should physically distance from others.
Those in low-risk populations should minimise their time in crowded environments and worksites will be allowed to resume unrestricted staffing.
Visiting care facilities and hospitals will restart, but people will be reminded to abide by good hygiene rules.
The venues in Phase Two will move from adhering to moderate physical distancing protocols to limited measures.
Gyms will be allowed to remain open, so long as "they adhere to standard sanitation protocols" and bars will be free to operate "with increased standing room occupancy."