In Brief

‘Opening Up America Again’ - what is Trump’s plan?

US president announces three-phase plan to ease coronavirus restrictions

Donald Trump has announced a three-phase plan aimed at helping the US return to normal amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

The US president said the guidelines - known as “Opening Up America Again” - are designed to ease restrictions in areas with low transmission of the virus.

Revealing the plan, Trump said “America wants to be open and Americans want to be open. A national shutdown is not a sustainable long-term solution.”

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The plan has three phases to reopen state economies, with each phase lasting at least 14 days. 

Phase one retains much of the current lockdown measures such as avoiding non-essential travel, explains the BBC, but allows large venues such as restaurants and sports venues to operate “under strict physical distancing protocols”.

Phase two allows non-essential travel to resume with schools reopening and bars operating “with diminished standing-room occupancy”. In phase three, states can allow “public interactions” with physical distancing and the unrestricted staffing of worksites. Bars can increase their standing room capacity.

The new guidelines are not mandatory and many governors have already extended restrictions into May. Indeed, in what CNN describes as a “retreat” from his recent claim of “absolute authority” to restart the economy, the president told governors it was their decision on when and how to reopen.

“You are going to call your own shots,” Trump said during a call with governors. “I've gotten to know almost all of you, most of you I've known and some very well. You are all very capable people, I think in all cases, very capable people. And you're going to be calling your shots.”

The Guardian says that Trump’s plan “is still full of unanswered questions,” pointing out that the plan “neglects to mention a firm target date or give an explicit strategy for national testing”.

The US has 654,301 confirmed cases and 32,186 deaths due to the virus. A new poll suggests that Trump’s approval rating has slipped 6% over the past month. The same poll found just 30% of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the country.

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