White House Issues Guidance on Reopening the United States

During a conference call with United States governors, President Donald Trump unveiled his guidelines for “Opening Up America Again.” The call, which took place on April 16th, outlined recommendations made by the White House for states to reopen based on several factors. The overall plan also contains three phases that must be followed by individuals and employers for states to begin easing social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders. Each phase would allow more and more restrictions to be lifted. There are some guidelines, however, that must be followed throughout the entire process of reopening and, possibly, afterwards.

Criteria for States to Achieve Before they Can Begin Phased Openings

  • Symptoms: There must be a downward trajectory of influenza-like illnesses (ILI) reported within a 14-day period AND a downward trajectory of COVID-19-like syndromic reported within a 14-day period.
  • Cases: There must be a downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period OR a downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period (flat or increasing volume of tests).
  • Hospitals: Hospitals must treat all patients without crisis care AND create a robust testing program for at-risk healthcare workers, including emerging antibody testing.

Guidelines for All Phases for Individuals

The guidelines call for individuals to always practice the following instructions, no matter what stage of reopening the state is in:

Continue to Practice Good Hygiene

  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer, especially after touching frequently used items or surfaces.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Sneeze or cough into a tissue, or the inside of your elbow.
  • Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.
  • Strongly consider using face coverings while in public, and particularly when using mass transit.

People who Feel Sick Should Stay Home

  • Do not go to work or school.
  • Contact and follow the advice of your medical provider.

Guidelines for All Phases for Employers

Employers would also be required to follow specific steps throughout the reopening process:

Develop and Implement Appropriate Policies

  • The policies need to be in accordance with federal, state, and local regulations and guidance, and be informed by industry best practices, regarding:
    • Social distancing and protective equipment
    • Temperature checks
    • Sanitation
    • Use and disinfection of common and high-traffic areas
    • Business travel
  • Create policies and procedures on workforce contact in order to trace employee movement after a positive COVID test.

Monitor Workforce for Indicative Symptoms

  • Do not allow symptomatic people to physically return to work until cleared by a medical provider

For more information on the guidelines to reopen America, including specific information for individuals and employers for each phase of the process, the White House has posted guidance on their website.



NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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