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CDC releases detailed road map for reopening country

2 min read
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cdc-releases-guidelines-reopening-united-states-road-map-coronavirus-pandemic/

Washington — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) quietly rolled out detailed guidelines for establishments ranging from schools to restaurants to mass transit that are beginning to reopen as states start to ease restrictions imposed to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

The 60-page document is the most comprehensive blueprint from the Trump administration to aid communities as they look to reopen their economies, which have been devastated by the pandemic. The health agency published Friday a collection of one-page guidelines for entities, though they were less detailed than draft guidance from the CDC that was published by The Associated Press.

Those draft guidelines, the authenticity of which was confirmed by a CDC official to CBS News, closely matches what the agency has now made public. 

The now-public road map from the CDC first focuses on coronavirus testing and contact tracing and lays out detailed descriptions of the gating criteria states are encouraged by the White House to meet before they begin reopening. The document then offers considerations for how schools, restaurants, bars, child care centers and mass transit systems — which had been shuttered or had their operations drastically scaled back — can open their doors again while keeping workers and customers safe. Excluded from the CDC’s guidance are houses of worship.

The guidance instructs entities to follow familiar social distancing and hygiene practices, while also tailoring recommendations to the specific entities. Schools, for example, are encouraged to space desks at least 6 feet apart and serve lunch meals in the classroom rather than the cafeteria. 

Restaurants, meanwhile, are urged to use disposable utensils and offer touchless payment options, and provide disposable or digital menus. 

The CDC suggests mass transit administrators adjust routes between areas with different levels of transmission and close every other row of seats.

As the White House shifts its focus toward a reopening of the U.S. economy, the CDC and the White House have at times found themselves at odds.

Senior administration officials told CBS News the White House shelved the detailed draft guidance from the health agency after the White House Coronavirus Task Force determined releasing a comprehensive road map would send a “mixed message,” as the president has largely left decisions on when to ease restrictions on businesses up to governors and local officials. A task force official said last week the original CDC guidance was “too prescriptive.”

All 50 states have begun to open up, though to varying degrees. Washington, D.C., for example, extended its stay-at-home order into early June, while Texas allowed retail stores and restaurants to reopen earlier this month.

There have been more than 1.5 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and the death toll surpassed 91,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Sara Cook, Weijia Jiang and Ben Tracy contributed reporting.

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