Fed up of the coronavirus lockdown? Itching to get out of the house? Let’s face, all of us are. So, hearing about plans to lift restrictions and get people back to work sounds great. But there’s a catch — any lifting of restrictions is going to come about gradually. The reopening of the economy will happen in phases to help prevent a second wave of Covid19 infections.
Most Americans now spend the majority of their time at home due to coronavirus. Unfortunately, millions have been laid off and are now claiming unemployment benefits. Others are working from home and have to juggle deadlines and while keeping the kids entertained. Of course, no one really knows when the Covid19 turmoil will be over, but one thing is for sure — we can’t stay cooped up forever.
When can you go back to school, work out at the gym, attend church, or go out for a meal with friends? What are the phased plans to reopen the country and allow people back to work? Will lifting the restrictions too soon cause another outbreak? Read on to find the answers to your questions.
Overview of President Trump’s Three-Phase Reopening Plan
President Trump has proposed a three-phase plan to reopen the economy. But, in the end, it will be up to local state governors to choose the best time to lift restrictions. Implementing the plan is based on meeting specific gating criteria. In short, the reopening plan is as follows:
- Phase One — Limit gatherings to no more than ten persons and observe physical distancing. Non-essential travel is kept to a minimum. At-risk individuals should shelter in place.
- Phase Two — Public gatherings up to 50 people are allowed, and everyone should maximize physical distance where possible. Non-essential travel can resume.
- Phase Three — Life returns almost to normal. Vulnerable persons don’t have to shelter in place but should continue to practice physical distancing.
This planned three-phase reopening strategy won’t happen automatically. For it to happen, certain criteria have to be met. Also, the situation could differ from state to state.
Strict hygiene measures will be in place for all reopening plan phases to minimize the risk of another virus outbreak. Even though restrictions will gradually be lifted, you will still have to adhere to the following:
- Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching your face
- Wear a face mask in public, especially on public transport
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Disinfect surfaces frequently
Let’s look in more detail at what these reopening plan phases for Covid19 mean for you and where you live.
Criteria for Coronavirus Reopening Plan Phases
No one wants to see a return to the nightmare we’re currently living through due to the Coronavirus pandemic. To prevent that from happening, the government has set out gating criteria. States will have to pass these before they can gradually lift restrictions. The criteria are based on three factors:
- Symptoms — During a 14-day period, there should be a downward curve of people reporting flu-like symptoms and fewer people showing symptoms of Covid19 infections.
- Cases — During a 14-day period, a downward trajectory of new Covid19 cases or positive tests.
- Hospitals — Ability to treat all patients without crisis care. Also, all healthcare workers should be tested for Covid19 infections and also antibodies.
Also, states must be properly prepared before going to phase one. They must have plans in place to treat all suspected Covid19 patients and increase ICU capacity if necessary. Also, it has to be possible to test everyone and trace contacts of people who’ve tested positive for coronavirus.
Reopening Plan Phases Where You Live
How soon can you plan a family outing to the local park or get back to work? Some states have said that they will begin lifting restrictions on May 1, whereas other governors have not yet said. What are the plans and phases for reopening the economy where you live? Here is what is planned for some states until the pandemic is finally over.
Gov. Tom Wolf set out a six-phase reopening plan that will see a gradual easing of restrictions. Smaller businesses and construction will be allowed to open first. The lifting of other restrictions, such as public gatherings, will only take place when all criteria have been met. The stay-at-home order expires on May 8.
California, Washington, and Oregon
There is no definitive date set for when the stay-at-home order will be lifted in these three states. It’s thought that wearing face masks in public will continue throughout the summer. Large gatherings are banned indefinitely.
While some restrictions (curbside retail, elective surgeries, etc.) will be relaxed on May 1, the official stay-at-home order is extended to May 31.
Originally, the shelter-in-place orders were due to be lifted on April 30. However, in spite of highly publicized protests, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has extended to order until May 15.
In Colorado, the stay-at-home order will change to a “safer-at-home” phase on April 26. However, strict social distancing in public places will continue to be in force.
Gov. Steve Sisolak has shown reluctance at the idea of reopening too soon, so the current April 30 expiration of Nevada’s stay-at-home order could be moved back in the coming days.
While most states have said that stay-at-home orders are no longer in force from May 1, Maryland hasn’t set an official date. Gov. Larry Logan has said there will be a gradual reopening of the economy. Until the data says otherwise, face masks in public will continue to be mandatory.
Businesses will start to reopen after April 27 when the state’s stay-at-home order expires.
When Will Schools Reopen?
Probably the biggest question on parents’ minds is when kids can get back to school? Most state governors have said that public schools will remain closed until the end of the school year.
Reopening the Economy After Covid19
The US economy will come out of lockdown in planned phases. The goal is to restart the economy as soon as possible while ensuring that lives are not put at risk.