The Trump administration has been eager to reopen the economy since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. But its recent decision to scrap guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) outlining how to do that safely and effectively comes as an indication of the fervor to make it happen sooner rather than later.
According to The Associated Press, a 17-page report by the CDC titled Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework was scrapped by the administration, never to see the light of day. The CDC’s intention was to provide a blueprint for faith leaders, business owners, educators and state and local officials on best practices as America returns to life as usual. An official who spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity said the center is no longer authorized to release it.
AP received a copy of the CDC guidelines that is said to detail “advice for making site-specific decisions related to reopening schools, restaurants, summer camps, churches, day care centers and other institutions.” According to the reporting, the information took the vague instructions found in the White House’s guide to “Opening Up America Again” and outlined very specific scenarios and regulations.
The example given by the AP was that of a restaurant that may be reopening again to customers post shutdowns. The guidance from the CDC is to have diners seated 6 feet apart and use a phone app to alert guests when their seat is ready. The precautions would help patrons adhere to social distancing measures, and using a personal phone for notifications would eliminate the need for diners to touch buzzers that have been handled by other guests. The information for this safety measure can not currently be found on the website.
A White House official told the AP that the CDC guidelines were never approved by CDC leadership for public release. He also cited concerns from the administration that the framework could create a “slippery slope” because all areas of the country were not affected in the same way.
Though the information will not be disseminated from the White House, the agency told the AP that it is still working to get the guidelines out to states and county health departments that want to hear from a highly regarded source on how to best keep their communities safe.