CORONAVIRUS

President Trump Poised To Unveil New Federal Coronavirus Guidelines Soon

Apr 15, 2020, 2:39 PM | Updated: Jul 26, 2022, 11:52 pm
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the daily briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Fo...
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the daily briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, in the Rose Garden at the White House April 14, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

(CNN) — President Donald Trump could unveil as soon as this week new federal guidelines meant to begin the process of reopening the country, officials said, as subsets of the White House coronavirus task force weigh options on how to best advise Americans on returning to workplaces or schools.

Trump has conceded that final decisions on how and when to reopen parts of the economy will fall to individual governors, a reversal from his earlier stance the he held “absolutely authority” to reopen the economy. But he still plans to provide some guidelines and benchmarks to help advise states on easing social distancing measures in the coming days.

“The plans to reopen the country are close to being finalized and we will soon be sharing details and new guidelines with everybody,” Trump said on Tuesday.

One official said the new guidance could come this week, and others familiar with the plans said new guidelines on social distancing would come sooner rather than later. The new recommendations would mimic the social distancing guidelines the President announced in March and extended at the start of April: while not mandatory, they carry the weight of the federal government and the presidency.

The current federal guidelines on social distancing are not expected to be renewed when they expire on April 30. Officials said the White House would work closely with states to ensure reopening efforts are done safely and only when local outbreaks are deemed contained.

While the new plans have yet to be finalized, officials have discussed issuing guidance to states on how to best assess whether they are ready to move away from social distancing, including creating specific thresholds for a reduction in cases and hospital capacity that would trigger a change in status.

The new guidelines could also include a variety of options on how to reopen workplaces, including scaling up monitoring and recommending temperature checks; increasing the availability of testing, including antibody tests when they become available; new guidelines on how to best socially distance in workplaces, on public transportation and in public spaces like restaurants; and increased availability of masks or other face coverings.

Nothing final

The new guidelines are still being solidified. But another idea being discussed is recommending people who have recovered from coronavirus or test positive during the antibodies test — meaning they had coronavirus and likely have some form of immunity — go back to work wearing masks.

Officials have also discussed recommendations for schools, child care centers and summer camps, recognizing that returning to work may be difficult for parents if their children don’t also have a place to go.

Members of the task force who have been devising the new guidelines are expected to streamline their efforts in the coming days before presenting Trump with final options.

According to sources inside the White House and others familiar with the discussions, there is now a belief it will be nearly impossible to move Trump away from the May 1 date for reopening the economy, though the President has conceded that different areas of the country will move at different paces.

While one senior administration official insisted May 1 remained a fluid date, sources familiar with the matter said in phone calls with allies the President has seemed “amped up,” focusing on almost nothing but when and how badly the country needs to reopen the economy.

Because of the President’s laser-like focus on May 1, people around him are helping identify ways to make the announcement he craves but to do it responsibly, according to a source familiar with the President’s thinking and conversations.

States doing their own thing

Even with new federal guidelines, the patchwork of different state situations will make any nationwide return to normal unlikely, despite Trump’s continued insistence on May 1 as the date of reopening.

Some states have already extended their own social distancing guidelines past May 1, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, has already announced a six-point framework on reopening that includes expanding testing to identify and isolate the infected, maintaining vigilance to protect seniors and high risk individuals, and being able to meet future surges in hospitals.

While Trump has said each state will submit its own plan for reopening, the new guidelines are not likely to be state specific, officials said. Instead, the current thinking is to issue new, loosened federal guidelines and tell state leaders if their state is ready to adopt them, they should.

Trump indicated on Tuesday he would not apply pressure to states on reopening and was eying a phased reopening based on geography.

“We think that some of the governors will be in really good shape to open up even sooner than that. We’ll speak to them. But we’re all set and we’re counting on the governors to do a great job,” Trump said. “Others are going to have to take a longer period of time until they’re in a position to say, ‘We’re ready to go.’ And that’s OK. We understand that. Some of the governors have a very tough situation.”

There have been multiple conversations around how this could look. One idea floated by officials would be a focus on “cold spots” — the cities or states where infection numbers are very low that should start to ease restrictions earlier.

The President suggested on Tuesday there could be up to 20 states with low enough rates of contagion that they could think about easing restrictions even before May 1.

White House officials had contemplated small, regional reopenings on May 1 that might not actually stimulate the national economy but would give the impression of moving forward, while still keeping up the mitigation in areas that needed it.

There has been a hope that with small regional reopenings in states such as Texas, Oklahoma and elsewhere would put some pressure on governors in surrounding states to take similar steps.

Elsewhere in the nation, however, states have begun to band together to enact regional reopenings. The Democratic governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have announced a consortium on easing restrictions, and a similar effort has been undertaken by West Coast governors.

Trump indicated Tuesday he was comfortable if some states take more time than others.

“We have one country, but we have lots of different pieces. It’s a puzzle. We have beautiful pieces, beautiful states with capable governors. They know when it’s time to open,” he said. “And we don’t want to put pressure on anybody. I’m not going to put any pressure on any governor to open.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus

FILE: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a news briefing at the Pentagon July 21,...
TARA COPP, Associated Press

Keep COVID military vaccine mandate, defense chief says

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is making clear he wants to keep the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate in place to protect the health of the troops.
2 days ago
flu shot tripledemic...
Matt Rascon

KSL+: The rise of respiratory viruses and COVID’s impact

It’s not even winter yet, and the CDC is warning that the country is experiencing a resurgence of respiratory viruses, which are taking a toll on hospitals and children.
3 days ago
RSV and flu...
Deidre McPhillips, CNN

Flu season intensifies, holiday gatherings could make it worse

Americans gathered for Thanksgiving last week amid a flu season that's worse than any has been in more than a decade, and experts continue to urge caution as multiple respiratory viruses circulate at high levels nationwide.
7 days ago
Protesters hold up blank papers and chant slogans as they march in protest in Beijing, Sunday, Nov....
Jessie Yeung and CNN's Beijing bureau

Rare protests are spreading across China. Here’s what you need to know

From Shanghai to Beijing, protests have erupted across China in a rare show of dissent against the ruling Communist Party.
7 days ago
Police officers block Shanghai's Urumqi Road on Sunday. (Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images)...
CNN's Beijing bureau and Nectar Gan

Protests erupt across China in unprecedented challenge to Xi Jinping’s zero-Covid policy

Protests erupted across China throughout the weekend, including at universities and in Shanghai where hundreds chanted "Step down, Xi Jinping! Step down, Communist Party!"
8 days ago
Salt Lake City Police at the University of Utah Hospital due to a possible bomb threat. (Salt Lake ...
Michael Houck

Police: Unattended bag led to bomb squad response at U of U Hospital

Salt Lake City Police responded to a possible bomb threat at the University of Utah hospital Tuesday afternoon.
20 days ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
President Trump Poised To Unveil New Federal Coronavirus Guidelines Soon