A day before federal guidelines on slowing the spread of coronavirus are set to expire, Trump administration officials signaled that strong social distancing guidelines would be relaxed as states begin to reopen their economies.
“We’ve issued the guidelines now, it was actually 45 days ago,” Vice President Mike Pence said, as he and other task force members met with President Trump and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards in the Oval Office Wednesday.
“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 Gov. John Bel Edwards, unveil plans to open up their states again,” Pence said. “The new guidance that we’ve issued is guidance for how they can do that safely and responsibly.”
The current guidelines, Pence added, are “very much incorporated in the new I think you could say, are very much incorporated in the guidance that we’re giving states to open up America again.”
President Trump chimed in, adding that the current guidelines will be “fading out,” as states begin to reopen.
“I am very much in favor of what they’re doing,” Trump said of governors who are opening businesses. “They’re getting it going.”
Dr. Deborah Birx, also in the meeting, said that the administration has been, “very encouraged to see how the federal guidelines have helped inform, or at least provide a framework for governors and moving forward.”
More context: Trump, who initially introduced the guidelines in mid-March, extended nationwide social distancing guidelines for another 30 days at the end of March, an abrupt back-down from his push at the time to reopen the country.