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CDC releases new guidance on how states can safely reopen

4 years 1 month 1 week ago Friday, May 15 2020 May 15, 2020 May 15, 2020 1:32 PM May 15, 2020 in News
Source: ABC News

The federal government's top experts on infectious diseases released new, more detailed guidance on how states can safely allow businesses and schools to reopen their doors during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, while voluntary, is the most specific instruction yet from the federal government on how not to trigger an outbreak, as President Donald Trump pushes states to reopen and most have already started to do so.

The guidelines, posted on the agency's website, include ones designed for businesses and workplaces as well as for schools and childcare programs.

The guidance includes various "decision tools" for specific institutions.

For example, if a restaurant can answer "yes" to several questions -- such as whether it's prepared to encourage social distancing among patrons and encourage flexible leave among employees – then it could reopen safely.

Another "decision tool" for youth programs and camps asks whether the program could stagger drop-offs and limit how often kids are mixed into groups, as well as having a plan if the children or employees get sick.

The new guidance asks restaurant owners in general whether they can "encourage" social distancing and "enhance" spacing.

The new guidance came after weeks of impatient lawmakers and state officials insisting that they needed more detailed suggestions from the nation's top infectious disease experts.

"The point is, that America needs -- and must have -- the candid guidance of our best scientists, unfiltered, unedited, uncensored by President Trump for his political minions," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday on the Senate floor.

The White House has previously pointed to an earlier plan as sufficient. That previous guidance suggested that certain institutions move forward once they can document fewer cases or positive tests in a 14-day period, among other recommendations.

President Trump has repeatedly said states should make their own decisions on timing and how much testing is needed, and even encouraged schools resuming classes.

White House press secretary Kaleigh McEnany has said twice in the last week that additional guidance was still "in the works" but "forthcoming," while President Trump has ramped up his push to for the country to get back to work.

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