Inside Trump's plan to reopen the American economy

The president unveiled a plan to governors, ABC News learned.

April 16, 2020, 4:36 PM

President Donald Trump's plan to reopen the American economy after a near-total shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic consists of three graduated phases, according to a copy of the proposed actions obtained by ABC News.

Trump unveiled the plan in a video conference call with the nation's governors on Thursday afternoon. The state leaders were instructed that they could move through the guidelines at their own pace and that the guidelines are not formal orders from the federal government, according to a person familiar with the call.

"Phase one" calls on employers to telework where possible, return to work in phases, minimize non-essential travel and make accommodations for the vulnerable populations within the workforce. It calls on all vulnerable individuals to "shelter in place," and when in public, all individuals should continue social distancing. Large venues, including churches and gyms, can open if they operate under “strict” social distancing and sanitation protocols. Bars should remain closed. Elective surgeries can resume.

However, a critical piece to this is the "gating criteria" that all states and regions should achieve before they can move on to phase one. This includes a "downward trajectory" of reported "influenza-like illnesses," "covid-like syndromic cases" and "documented cases" or "positive tests as a percent of total tests" within a 14-day period, as well as the ability for hospitals to "treat all patients without crisis care" and have a "robust testing program in place for at-risk healthcare workers, including emerging antibody testing."

What to know about coronavirus:

In "phase two," non-essential travel for employers can resume. Schools and organized youth activity can reopen. Bars can operate with diminished standing room occupancy. Large venues can continue under “moderate” social distancing protocols.

The third phase says all these venues -- bars, gyms and large venues -- can reopen with “limited” social distancing and “standard” sanitation. Employers can resume “unrestricted staffing of worksites,” so employees can physically return to work. The final phase also reintroduces visits to senior care facilities and hospitals.

The president described the guidelines "as a bit of a negotiation," a source said.

This report was featured in the Friday, April 17, 2020, episode of “Start Here,” ABC News’ daily news podcast.

"Start Here" offers a straightforward look at the day's top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, the ABC News app or wherever you get your podcasts.