Trump Unveils Roadmap For Reopening Economy, Tells Governors 'You're Going To Call Your Own Shots'

April 16, 2020 - 11:46 am

WASHNGTON (WCBS 880) — In a call Thursday outlining when and how the country could start to recover from the sharp economic pain of the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump told the nation's governors, "You're going to call your own shots."

The new guidelines for "Opening Up America" are aimed at clearing the way for an easing of restrictions in areas with low transmission of the coronavirus, while keeping them in place in harder-hit places. The guideline will be rolled out in three phases, each lasting 14 days.

According to Dr. Deborah Brix, phase one includes strict social distancing for all people allowed in public. Governors are told to restrict gatherings to no more than 10 people and to discourage non-essential travel for all residents.

In phase one, vulnerable people are told to remain at home while some workers can begin returning to their daily lives. Schools will remain closed and some businesses, but others may begin to reopen.

If conditions improve, the state may move on to phase two, in which people are encouraged to practice social distancing where possible and limit social gatherings to no more than 50 people – unless precautionary measures are taken. Schools will be allowed to reopen, along with daycare centers and summer camps.

Travel may also begin to resume in phase two, but there should be no visitations to hospitals or nursing homes yet.

Phase three will essentially be the “new normal,” according to Dr. Birx.

People will be allowed to return to their daily lives but should continue to practice safe hygiene practices while governments and healthcare workers continue to identify and isolate any new infections.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force stressed there is no timeline for all three phases to be rolled out but states and regions with declining infections and strong testing would begin soon.

The president is hopeful many states may begin rolling out phase one within the next few weeks and seemed encouraging when speaking to governors.

"Let's get America back, let's get our country open," Trump could be heard saying in audio of the call obtained by CBS News.

California's Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed his state after the call saying, "I do want to extend just in broad strokes appreciation for what I heard from the president as it relates to recognizing the differentiation that exists and persists in terms of conditions in counties not just in states across this nation."

The president on Wednesday had said as many as 29 states could open before May 1, ahead of when the current White House social distancing guidelines end.

"We will be opening up states, some states much sooner than others," Trump said Wednesday.

There are four conditions to allow any reopening:  low infections, strong monitoring of cases, a health system that can react to an increase in cases and enough hospital capacity if that happens.

Key to the plan is a CDC "response corps" that would use smartphone apps to track the movements of people who may have had contact with someone infected with the coronavirus, according to an earlier report from the Washington Post.

Ultimately, decisions on when to ease up will rest with governors and those in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — which have extended their stay-at-home orders to mid-May — have already expressed concerns that a May 1 timeline is too early.

The governors warn a rush back to business too soon could cause coronavirus to roar back with a vengeance.

The president has said if it backfires, "We'll have to do something that's very serious, we'll have to maybe close them up and start all over again."

The president is feeling pressure to get the economy back on track as retail sales plunged a record 8.7% in March and some Republican lawmakers now say saving the economy is more important than saving lives.

The Wall Street Journal said in the first meeting of the president's task force that's focused on reopening the economy, banking and financial service executives said the administration need to dramatically increase the availability of coronavirus testing before the public would be confident enough to return to work.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

"Let's get America back, let's get our country open," Trump could be heard saying in audio of the call obtained by CBS News.

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