President Trump’s Guidance for Opening America

April 20, 2020

President Trump has issued guidelines for “Opening Up America Again.” The Guidelines are not directives aimed at state governors, but rather recommendations based upon the concept of “phased openings.”

The president’s Guidance provides initial “Gating Criteria” that should be satisfied before implementing “Phased Openings.” The so-called Gating Criteria require the “downward trajectory” of Covid-19 symptoms and cases within a 14 day period.

Once the Gating Criteria are met, the Guidelines suggest three different phases for normalizing daily life for individual and businesses. The Guidance provides “Guidelines for all phases.” For example, employers must develop and implement appropriate policies and procedures consistent with federal, state, and local regulations and guidance regarding:

  • Social distancing
  • Protective equipment
  • Testing
  • Sanitation
  • Use of disinfectants, and
  • Temperature checks, among others.

The Guidelines for all phases also suggest that employers “[m]oniter workforce for indicative symptoms of Covid-19.”

Phase One

Applies to states and regions that satisfy the basic “Gating Criteria.” Phase One recommends that employers continue to encourage telework when feasible; have employees return to work in phases; and enforce strict social distancing protocols.

Phase Two

Applies to states and regions with no evidence of a “rebound” in Covid-19 cases and which satisfy the Gating Criteria a second time. Phase Two also calls for continued teleworking whenever feasible, the closing of common areas where employees are likely to congregate or, alternatively, the enforcement of moderate social distancing.

Phase Three

Applies to states and regions with no evidence of a rebound and that satisfy the Gating Criteria a third time. Under this Phase, employers may “[r]esume unrestricted staffing of worksites.”

The Guidance allows state and local officials to tailor the guidelines to local circumstances.