Trump Administration Unveils Three-Phase Plan for States to Reopen Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

On April 16, the Trump administration released new federal guidelines for governors to use while reopening their state’s economies following coronavirus quarantine procedures. The administration's 18-page guidance document, the “Opening Up America Again” plan, details three phases to reopen state economies, with a series of “gating criteria” it uses to gauge infection levels and avoid a resurgence in infection rates. A link to the guideline is here.

A state or region meets the criteria if hospitals in the area can handle the rate of infections without strain and if tests show symptoms and cases of COVID-19 declining over a 14-day period. The new guidelines give state governors considerable leeway—for example, in evaluating the number of cases using total results or a positive issued percentage of issued tests—and provides a framework for a gradual reopening. The guidance includes some recommendations across all three phases including good personal hygiene and employers developing policies to ensure social distancing, testing and contact tracing.

The governors of Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky have announced they will work together to reopen the region. There was no timeline offered, but the governors said they planned to phase in sectors of the economy.