“We are not opening all at once, but one careful step at a time,” President Trump assured, as he announced official guidelines for the nation’s grand reopening. The phased approach is designed to gently kick-start the idled national economy back into gear. When governors of individual states feel that the local conditions are right, they can let their residents return to work. Until then, if they need to remain closed, they should do so.
A three step blueprint for success
President Donald Trump outlined the administration’s “Opening Up America Again” Plan on Thursday, emphasizing that the suggestions are meant to be a “blueprint or roadmap,” not something mandatory and full of official red tape. The guidelines were crafted by Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Deborah Birx and the team of experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The plan was designed to be fluid, with various aspects of that “will likely vary from state to state and possibly from county to county.” Before a municipality can begin the first step, they should make sure they’re stable enough for Phase 1.
Once they can show a downward curve in the numbers of flu-like symptoms, and no hospital patients in crisis care for a full two weeks, then they can start the first phase. They also should have “robust testing in place for at-risk healthcare workers.”
More freedom as the cases decline
In Phase 1, the elderly and other vulnerable people with health risks “should remain sheltered in-place.” Otherwise healthy individuals should avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, “unless required social distance can be observed.” Travel should be minimized as much as possible. In this step, schools that are already closed should stay closed. All visits to nursing homes and senior-care facilities should be avoided.
Once some time goes by with no “rebound in COVID-19 cases,” leadership can move to the next step. Phase 2 allows “churches, gyms, restaurants and movie theaters can open” if they follow “strict physical distancing protocols,” but Bars should remain closed. Non-essential travel will be allowed but “teleworking will still be encouraged.”
Phase 3 is almost back to normal. By that point, officials will begin allowing nursing home visits again. Once this step is reached, even the “vulnerable individuals” can go back to interacting publicly. Still everyone should continue the social-distancing practices. Also people generally considered “low risk” should “minimize the time spent in crowded environments.”
One of the most important things to remember about the three step plan is that the stairs go down as well as up. We can expect some flare-ups and clusters breaking out that will need to be addressed by temporary tighter restrictions. Over time, the effect should be enormous.