Reopening in the middle of the coronavirus: CDC writes new guidelines for organizations and businesses

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A federal health official said the draft guidelines, which were sent to Washington this week, are still under review by the Trump administration and may change. The draft document was sent to CNN on Thursday by someone familiar with the proceedings.

The details of the document provide a glimpse of what the reopening in the United States might look like.

It includes specific directions for six categories: child care programs; schools and day camps; faith communities; employers with vulnerable workers; restaurants and bars; public transport administrators.

For each category, the draft document notes the reopening in stages.

People familiar with the deliberations said the recommendations were still under consideration by the White House. But on Wednesday, President Donald Trump said it was unlikely to approve guidelines recommending a return to a changed lifestyle.

“I see that the new normal is what it was three months ago. I think we want to get back to where it was, “said Trump in a meeting with representatives from the restaurant and hotel industries.

“I want to go back to where it was, this is where we are going to be,” said Trump.

Behind the scenes, industry groups are pressuring the administration to publish national standards for businesses so that a consistent set of advice exists in all states. Some have also asked the White House to take into account corporate results, as they recommend potentially costly changes to the way operations are managed.

In his remarks on Thursday, Trump also appeared to be aware that restaurants and stadiums that were half full would not provide a sense of normalcy to many Americans.

“I had a restaurant owner who approached me and said, ‘Sir, you know I’m going to open, but if I go too far, I have 50% of the restaurant I had’ Said Trump. “I said, and you will also have a worse atmosphere. “

Space in schools

For schools and day camps preparing to reopen, the document recommends considering keeping classes together to include the same group of children every day and to avoid mixing up between groups.

Reopening Schools Could Take Distance, Disinfection, and Lots of Hand Washing

The document also suggests spacing seats and bedding 6 feet apart if possible, avoiding “nonessential” assemblies and field trips, and asking students to have lunch in classrooms rather than in cafeterias, among other recommendations.

Regarding child care, the document notes: “In communities considered to be significant mitigation areas by the state and local authorities, child care programs should be closed. However, child care programs may choose to remain open to serve the children of essential workers, such as health care workers. “

The document goes on to say that all decisions regarding the implementation of these recommendations should be made locally in collaboration with health officials who can help determine levels of Covid-19 transmission in the community and system capacities. public health and health systems in the community. .

Face covers and faith

For faith-based organizations, the document encourages the limitation of large gatherings, using virtual or outdoor services where possible, using a fixed collection box and encouraging the use of face covers when all the gatherings.

The document also suggests avoiding or considering stopping the use of a choir or musical ensemble in religious services or other programs, if applicable in the religious tradition. Instead, the document notes to consider having a soloist or limiting the number of choir members and keeping at least six feet from each other.

“The federal government cannot prescribe standards for the interactions of religious communities in places of worship and no religious community should be asked to adopt more stringent mitigation strategies than the mitigation strategies requested of entities or bodies. activities in similar conditions in accordance with religious freedom. and Restoration Act, “notes the document.

“The CDC offers these suggestions that religious communities may consider and accept or reject, in accordance with their own religious traditions, during the preparation of their own plans to prevent the spread of COVID-19. “

Safe return to work and to restaurants

The document also encourages employers to protect employees who may be at higher risk for serious Covid-19 disease by supporting and encouraging homework or remote work options. Those most at risk for serious illness are those with underlying health conditions and the elderly.

While restaurants and bars plan to reopen, the document notes that they should reopen with limited capacity which still allows for social distancing.

According to the document, restaurants should move towards disposable menus, plates and utensils; switch to single use condiments; install sneeze guards at cash registers; and avoid salad bars, buffets, and self-service beverage stations.

The document also calls for the use of a fabric mask or face covering by employees when they are near other employees and customers.

For public transportation, the document suggests restricting routes between areas with different levels of coronavirus transmission and increasing cleaning, disinfection and ventilation.

“Public transportation is essential for many Americans to get to and from work and to access essential goods and services,” said the document. “These tips provide transit administrators with considerations to maintain healthy business operations and a safe and healthy work environment for employees, while reducing the risk of COVID-19 spreading to employees and passengers. “

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