White House: Federal Guidelines that Led to Lockdowns Phasing Out in Place of Guidelines to Reopen America

US Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a meeting with US President Donald Trump, Louis
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

The federal coronavirus guidelines used by many governors nationwide to justify their lockdowns phase out on Thursday, to be replaced with new federal guidelines to reopen America that will phase in, the White House confirmed to Breitbart News.

The guidelines that originally were put in place in mid-March–first as “15 days to slow the spread,” which later were extended for an additional 30 days equalling 45 total days of “slow the spread” guidelines–expire Thursday, April 30.

A senior White House official confirmed to Breitbart News that the guidelines will not be reissued or extended and that they are being “phased out,” as the new guidelines to reopen the country in phases by state or regions within states take their place. The new reopening guidelines do include the old stop the spread elements as what amounts to a pre-opening phase, from which states and regions need to meet certain “gating requirements” to reopen. Many states across the country have already begun the reopening process, and others are racing to get there now.

The original “guidelines phase out as we head into the next phase of guidelines in Opening Up America Again,” the senior White House official told Breitbart News.

“Many are similar, but we are moving toward the safe, data-driven reopening of our country,” the senior White House official added.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, appearing alongside Louisiana’s Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards in the White House on Wednesday, first discussed the natural evolution away from the original guidelines that forced the lockdowns across the country toward the new ones that are guiding the reopening of the country.

When asked by a press pool reporter if the guidelines would be reissued or extended, the president turned to Pence and asked him to explain what’s happening with those.Pence said:

I think, Mr. President, we’ve — we’ve issued the guidelines, now it was actually 45 days ago, the first 15 and then 30 Days to Slow the Spread. And, frankly, every state in America has embraced those guidelines at a minimum or even done more. And now our focus is working with states as governors, like Governor John Bel Edwards, unveil plans to open up their states again. And the new guidance that we’ve issued is guidance for how they can do that safely and responsibly. And so the — not only the gating criteria for when we believe it’s appropriate for states to enter phase one are included, but also the very specific guidelines for when states open and how they can open — and in, as the President said, in a safe and responsible way — are included in the President’s Guidelines to Open Up America Again.

The guidelines to reopen the country do include the mitigation phase as the current place where many states are, and what needs to happen there—which is in large part a reiteration of the original 45-day guidelines. But once gating requirements are met in any number of states—testing, case statistics, hospital capacity, and more—that state under the new federal guidelines can move to a phase one reopening plan.

President Trump, in that press availability with Pence and Edwards on Wednesday, described the process as a “fading out” of the old guidelines that led to the lockdowns as governors nationwide develop different reopening plans. Trump said:

I think a way of saying it — they’ll be fading out because now the governors are doing it. I’ve had many calls from governors: Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, and many, many governors — Tennessee, Arkansas. We’re speaking to a lot of different people and they’re explaining what they’re doing. And I’m — I am very much in favor of what they’re doing. They’re getting it going, and we’re opening our country again.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator, in that same press availability said that different governors have adapted their own versions of the reopening phases plan—something the White House and federal officials find promising. Brix said:

I think you could see from California they made ‘Slow the Spread’ the phase one of their four phases. So every governor is adapting both currently where we are and moving forward of how to move through phase one, phase two, phase three. So if a governor feels like they haven’t met the gating criteria, some of them have made that their own first phase one and some of them made it phase zero. So we’ve been very encouraged to see how the federal guidelines have helped inform or at least provide a framework for governors and moving forward, all the way through from what they now call either phase zero all the way through phase three.

Edwards, again a Democrat governor whose state of Louisiana has been one of the hardest hit hotspots, also praised the phasing out of the old federal guidelines as the new guidelines for reopening are phased in. Edwards called the process “seamless.”

“I would say this: If you look at the plan that you all had put out for ’30 Days to Stop the Spread,’ the mitigation measures that you promoted in that plan are carried forward in the guidelines for reopening,” Edwards said. “And so it’s — it’s sort of a seamless way to do it by keeping those mitigation measures in, in place that you need to, as you reopen, especially for the vulnerable population.”


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