Trump gives governors options on how to reopen the economy

Full Screen
1 / 4

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

President Donald Trump listens during a briefing about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Thursday, April 16, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has given governors a road map for recovering from the economic pain of the coronavirus pandemic, laying out “a phased and deliberate approach” to restoring normal activity in places that have strong testing and are seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases.

“We’re starting our life again,” Trump said during his daily press briefing. “We’re starting rejuvenation of our economy again.”

He added, “This is a gradual process.”

The new guidelines are aimed at easing restrictions in areas with low transmission of the coronavirus, while holding the line in harder-hit locations. They make clear that the return to normalcy will be a far longer process than Trump initially envisioned, with federal officials warning that some social distancing measures may need to remain in place through the end of the year to prevent a new outbreak. And they largely reinforce plans already in the works by governors, who have primary responsibility for public health in their states.

“You’re going to call your own shots,” Trump told the governors Thursday afternoon in a conference call, according to an audio recording obtained by The Associated Press. “We’re going to be standing alongside of you.”

Places with declining infections and strong testing would begin a three-phase gradual reopening of businesses and schools.

In phase one, for instance, the plan recommends strict social distancing for all people in public. Gatherings larger than 10 people are to be avoided, and nonessential travel is discouraged.

In phase two, people are encouraged to maximize social distancing and limit gatherings to no more than 50 people unless precautionary measures are taken. Travel could resume.