I read Pres. Trump’s new COVID-19 reopening guidelines so you don’t have to

Andy Cole

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump released new guidelines Thursday evening regarding the “reopening” of America in the midst of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). I read the 18-page guidelines so you don’t have to.

Mr. Trump’s guidelines entitled “Opening Up America Again” require that, before states proceed into phase one (of three) of reopening, they must satisfy three gating criteria.

1) States must have a downward trajectory of flu-like illness and COVID-19-like illness for 14 days. 2) A downward trend of documented cases or positive tests (as a percentage) within 14 days and 3) Hospitals must treat all patients without “crisis care” and have a robust testing program in place for healthcare workers. The testing must include the new antibody testing.

Once states have satisfied those criteria, they can move on to phase one.

Each phase is categorized by individuals, employers and specific types of employers (e.g. schools, hospitals, large venues, gyms, etc.)


Phase one is for states that satisfy the outlined gating procedures.

For individuals, phase one requires all vulnerable people (defined as elderly people and people with serious underlying health conditions) remain sheltered in place. All individuals, when in public, should maintain physical distance from others and should not gather in groups of more than 10. Individuals should also minimize non-essential travel.

Employers should continue to encourage teleworking. If possible, employers can return to work in phases. If employers return to work, all common spaces should be closed. Non-essential travel for work should be minimized. Employers should also consider special accommodations for employees who live with a vulnerable individual.

Schools that are already closed should remain closed, visits to senior care facilities and hospitals should be prohibited. Gyms and large venues can open, with “strict physical distancing protocols” in place. Elective surgeries can resume, as well. Bars should remain closed.


Phase two is for states that satisfy the outlined gating procedures for an additional 14 days.

Vulnerable people should remain at home. When in public, all individuals should continue social distancing. Gathering is now allowed for groups of 50 or less. Non-essential travel can resume.

Employers should continue to telework and continue to shutter common office spaces. Non-essential work travel can resume. Special accommodations for those living with vulnerable individuals should still be made.

Schools and other youth activities (daycare, camp, etc.) can reopen. Senior care facility visits should still be prohibited. Large venues can continue to operate under “moderate” distancing protocols. Gyms must continue to maintain strict social distancing and sanitation protocols. Bars may open with a smaller standing-room occupancy.


Phase three is for states that satisfy the outlined gating procedures for 28 days.

Vulnerable individuals can resume public interaction, but should practice distancing and minimize exposure to social settings where social distancing may not be possible. Low-risk individuals should consider minimizing time in crowded places.

Employers can resume work unrestricted.

Visits to senior care facilities can resume. Those that do visit “must be diligent regarding hygiene.” Large venues can now operate under limited distancing protocols. Gyms can remain open if they adhere to sanitation procedures and bars may operate with increased standing room.

The entire 18-page document can be viewed here.

Andy Cole, The George-Anne contributor, gaeditor@georgiasouthern.edu