GOVERNORS can reopen their states before May 1, President Trump has said, as he pushes to get business back to normal amid the coronavirus pandemic.
States with "beautifully low" coronavirus cases could get back to work, he told governors in a video call on Thursday.
Trump initially said he would have the last say on when states could ease their stay at home restrictions, but backtracked on Thursday, telling governors they would be "calling the shots".
"You states with beautifully low numbers, let's get your states open and get back to work," Axios reported Trump telling governors.
"You’re going to call your own shots," Trump said in the call, according to an audio recording provided to The New York Times.
"You’re going to be calling the shots. We’ll be standing right alongside of you and we’re going to get our country open and get it working. People want to get working."
The decentralized approach is a complete U-turn from Trump's previous insistence that he had "total" authority to decide when restrictions could be lifted.
Trump said "according to the guidelines", governors could reopen their states before May 1, but if they wanted to take their time, that was acceptable too.
The guidelines are broken into three phases, according to documents obtained by ABC News.
Areas with declining infections and strong testing could begin the gradual reopening, with each phase lasting at least 14 days, meant to ensure that the virus outbreak doesn’t accelerate again, AP reports.
Phase one asks employers to telework, return to the office in phases, minimize non-essential travel and make accommodations for vulnerable employees.
In phase two, non-essential travel for employers can resume, schools can reopen and bars, gyms and other large venues can resume service with social distancing measures in place.
Phase three would see the venues in the previous phase open with limited social distancing and proper sanitation.
The guidelines suggest some parts of the US could see a resumption in normal commerce and social gatherings after just a month of evaluating the easing of restrictions leads to a resurgence in virus cases.
However it could be much longer for other areas if there is an uptick in cases.
Trump faced backlash from governors following his comments earlier this week, when he insisted he had the final say on when states would get back to normal.
His remarks prompted states to form their own coalitions.
Governors from both parties were quick to push back, and said they won’t reopen their states or regions unless they feel it’s safe.
In the call to governors on Thursday, Trump was "deferential", the NYTimes reported, "making no effort to tell the governors what to do but instead saying that he will provide guidelines that he will announce later in the day that will help them decide for themselves".
The White House announced on Thursday that all Senate Republicans – bar Mitt Romney, who voted to impeach Trump in February – have been invited to join a bipartisan task force on reopening the nation's economy, according to one Wall Street Journal journalist.
In the northeast, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, Delaware Gov. John Carney, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, of Massachusetts, have all signed a coalition.
On the West Coast, California’s Gavin Newsom, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee have all signed a similar pact for their region of the country.
Cuomo called Trump "schizophrenic" for claiming he had "total authority" to reopen states.
In response, Trump tweeted on Tuesday: “Tell the Democrat Governors that ‘Mutiny On The Bounty;’ was one of my all time favorite movies.”
"A good old fashioned mutiny every now and then is an exciting and invigorating thing to watch, especially when the mutineers need so much from the Captain. Too easy!"
Cuomo made it known he has no intentions to fight, despite the president "spoiling" for one, and said any plan to reopen must be driven by data and experts, "not opinion and politics."
The reopening of the country would be "data-driven", "layered" and "governor-led", according to a Fox News reporter.
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