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Phase 1 of plan to reopen country calls for most schools to remain closed

Phase 1 of plan to reopen country calls for most schools to remain closed
Posted at 7:31 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 20:05:46-04

On Thursday, President Donald Trump unveiled plans to reopen the country, outlining guidance for state governors on how to open state economies.

The phases come in three chunks, and Trump said he expects some states could begin Phase No. 1 almost immediately. He says this is possible as the spread of COVID-19 has declined.

Here is what Phase No. 1 entails:

Schools: Schools currently closed should remain closed

Business: Those who can telecommute should continue to do so; companies to reopen in phases
Senior care facilities and hospitals: Continue to ban visitors
Travel: All non-essential travel should remain at a minimum
Restaurants, bars and nightclubs: Can reopen under “strict” physical distancing guidelines
Gyms: Can reopen under “strict” physical distancing guidelines
Elective surgeries: Can resume on an outpatient basis

Trump and members of the White House coronavirus task force said while some states are currently ready to reopen their economies, some may have to wait until May 1 or even beyond to move forward.

It is also up to state governors to decide when and how to implement these guidelines set forth by Trump and the White House coronavirus task force.

"When we get to the point where we're going to take those steps towards trying to get back to some form of normality that it would not be a light switch that you could turn on and off," Dr. Anthony Fauci from the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, said. "Light switch on and off is the exact opposite of what you see here, which is a gradual gradation with the first thing and the only thing in mind as the health people here, my colleagues who are either physician scientists or public health issues, the predominant and completely driving element that we put into this was the safety and the health of the American public."

But there are still many questions. One is on interstate travel, and whether those traveling from a state in a more advanced phase would be quarantined.

Another is what would happen if another flair up takes place. Trump said on Thursday that if a hotspot pops up, "we'll be able to suppress it, whack it." The coronavirus can take from 2 to 14 days for symptoms to begin after infection, and those who are pre-symptomatic can spread the virus.

Justin Boggs is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @jjboggs or on Facebook .