CDC releases guidance on reopening America, weeks after reports that document was 'shelved'

CDC releases guidance on reopening America, weeks after reports that document was 'shelved'
Posted at 7:45 AM, May 20, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quietly released guidelines on lifting coronavirus-related lockdowns on Wednesday, weeks after reports that the White Houses had shelved such guidance.

The CDC guidance was released after a vast majority of states had already begun the process of lifting restrictions and lockdowns.

According to The Washington Post, the 60-page document titled "CDC Activities and Initiatives Supporting the COVID-19 Response and the President's Plan for Opening America Up Again" appeared online over the weekend.

Among the guidance offered in the document is that for reopening schools, bars and restaurants and mass transit systems. For each, the CDC offers a tiered three-step system for reopening.

For schools, the CDC recommends:

  • Closing cafeterias and serving meals in classrooms
  • Staggering student arrival and drop-offs
  • Promoting social distancing on buses in classrooms, including keeping rows of seats open on buses.

For bars and restaurants, the CDC recommends:

  • Using disposable menus or digital menu boards instead of reusable menus on tables.
  • Ensuring ventilation systems are operating properly
  • Carefully washing anything touched by customers, including pens.

For mass transit, the CDC recommends:

  • Encouraging social distancing and face coverings for riders
  • Frequent cleaning of shared surfaces
  • "Adjust routes" between areas experiencing "different levels of transmission"

Earlier this month, The Associated Press reported that the Trump administration had killed the release of a similar document. One CDC employee said they were told by a Trump administration official that the document "would not see the light of day."

On Tuesday, CNN reported that six CDC employees had expressed that politics, not science, were behind the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic. One CDC employee told CNN that they felt the department had been "muzzled," another said that they felt the administration "didn't have their back."

Read the CDC's reopening guidance below.