President Trump told governors Thursday that states with low rates of coronavirus infection can begin to reopen for business on May 1, a senior administration official confirmed.
The president briefed governors on a conference call about his new guidelines for reopening states, a plan to be introduced to the public later Thursday at the White House.
The guidelines call for states to review medical data for each county, and states with declining infection rates and robust testing could begin a gradual reopening in three phases to ensure infections don’t spike.
The president, who earlier this week said he had total authority over states reopening, told the governors that they will be responsible for deciding when it is safe to lift stay-at-home restrictions.
“You’re going to call your own shots,” Mr. Trump told governors, the official confirmed. “We’re going to be standing alongside of you.”
The guidelines, called Opening Up America Again, include reviewing medical data county-by-county or statewide at a governor’s discretion. Areas with declining infection rates and robust testing would begin a gradual reopening of businesses and schools in three phases of 14 days each, to ensure that infections don’t spike again.
The new guidance shows that some parts of the country could return to regular business and social gatherings after one month of continuous evaluating whether the easing of restrictions has caused a resurgence in cases. In other parts of the country with worse rates of infection, it could take substantially longer.
The plan also calls for states to set up screening and testing sites for people with symptoms, and to trace contacts of infected people.
Earlier Thursday, the White House released a list of nearly 100 lawmakers who will help advise the administration on how to proceed with reopening. The White House invited every Republican senator except one — Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, who voted to impeach Mr. Trump.
Also not on the list were both of New York’s Democratic senators, Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, despite their state being the hardest-hit.