President Trump (Courtesy of the White House)
**FILE** President Trump (Courtesy of the White House)

President Trump on Thursday said he is leaving it up to governors to determine when to reopen states, walking back his assertion of “absolute power” to reopen states to give the sagging economy a boost.

Nevertheless, Trump laid out new recommended guidelines for assuring states reopen on May 1. In alluding to his “Opening Up American Again” guidelines, the president said “America wants to be open and Americans want to be open,” emphasizing, to the chagrin of critics, that states showing a downward trend in COVID-19 cases will be able to reopen restaurants, bars, theaters, workplaces, sporting centers and gyms two weeks from now.

The guidelines were developed by White House Coronavirus Task Force members Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci in coordination with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Chief Robert Redfield, Vice President Mike Pence told governors.

Under the guidelines, Phase 1 recommends continued social distancing, closure of schools, teleworking and sheltering in place for vulnerable individuals.

The guidelines warn that nonessential travel is discouraged, bars should remain closed and visits to nursing homes and hospitals should remain prohibited. While continuing to encourage working from home, if possible, people in those states may be able to return to work in phases.

Elective surgeries may resume under Phase 1 and gyms and large venues, including movie theaters, sporting arenas and places of worship, may reopen if they can maintain social distancing.

States that show no spike in cases during Phase 1 can proceed to Phase 2, which allows schools, restaurants, gyms and bars to reopen with diminished occupancy.

Nonessential travel can resume, and people can gather in groups no larger than 50, but teleworking is still encouraged.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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