President Donald Trump says he won’t renew the White House coronavirus distancing guidelines when the original order expires Thursday.
Making the announcement Wednesday in the Oval Office, Trump says those guidelines (or at least most of them) will instead be incorporated into new reopening instructions. The move comes as the White House coronavirus task force has put increasing emphasis on the downturn of the virus and progress toward reopening the economy. Several states have begun phase 1 reopening procedures, according to the White House guidelines released in mid-April. (RELATED: Asked Whether China Censored Early Coronavirus Data, Senior WHO Official Said He ‘Didn’t Look’)
Vice President Mike Pence said that despite the expiration, the guidelines have been “very much incorporated in the guidance that we’re giving states to open up American again.”
New: The President says the @CDCgov social distancing guidelines that expire tomorrow will be “faded out” per my colleague @benstracy who’s in the Oval Office rn. @VP adds they’ll be largely incorporated into the reopening recommendations.
— Weijia Jiang (@weijia) April 29, 2020
The guidelines recommend Americans wear masks in public, stay six feet apart and not gather in large groups, among other measures.
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has already allowed restaurants and movie theaters to reopen. Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp went beyond Trump’s reopening guidelines and allowed certain establishments such as salons to reopen. Trump has not commented on Abbott’s move, but criticized Kemp as moving “too soon.” (RELATED: ‘Blatant Xenophobia’: Democrats, Critics Fume Over Trump’s Pending Immigration Ban)
“I told the governor of Georgia Brian Kemp that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities which are in violation of the phase one guidelines for the incredible people of Georgia,” Trump said April 22. “They have been strong, resolute, but at the same time, he must do what he thinks is right, I want him to do what he thinks is right but I disagree with him on what he is doing.”
“I think it’s too soon and I love the people,” he added. “I love those people that use all of those things, the spas, the beauty parlors, barbershops, tattoo parlors, I love them, but they can wait a little bit longer.”