IN Focus: Holcomb says state may be ready to open parts of economy in early May

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On Thursday, President Trump announced his administration’s plan to reopen the country.

“Based on the latest data, our team of experts agrees that we can begin the next front in our war, which we are calling ‘Opening Up America Again.’”

The plan will happen in phases on a state or county basis, but only after states see steady progress in symptoms, cases and hospital resources.

“In order to even consider getting into the phasing, you have to pass a hurdle. And that’s the hurdle that we refer to as gating in,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The first phase would start after two weeks of a decrease in cases, and it would still promote telework and limit nonessential travel. However, it would resume elective surgeries and allow places like gyms or sit-down restaurants to reopen if they follow strict distancing guidelines.

“No matter what phase you’re in, there are certain fundamental things we’ve done that are not like it was in September or October,” Dr. Fauci cautioned.

The second phase starts after another 14-day decrease, and would allow for schools to reopen along with bars at a limited capacity.

The third phase would open all business and allow visits to senior homes. It still encourages Americans to limit time spent in crowded places.

“It won’t go from 0 to 100 or it won’t be like flipping on a light switch where everything is immediately back to normal,” Governor Eric Holcomb cautioned.

Governor Holcomb didn’t give a date of when it could begin in Indiana, but said it’s coming soon.

“I’m not putting a May 1 date out there or a May 2 or May 7 or May 8, but we are thinking early May,” Governor Holcomb said.

Governor Holcomb, along with the governors of Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio and Kentucky are working together as a region, hoping to hit the ground running come May.

“If the trends continue and we continue to make progress, we’re all thinking about that smart restart opening of our states, in a very gradual and methodical way,” Governor Holcomb said.

While state and federal leaders may be anxious to reopen the economy, health leaders say this decision is based on science.

“The predominant and completely driving element that we put into this was the safety and the health of the American public,” Dr. Fauci said.

Governor Holcomb said he’s reached out to every industry in Indiana and asked them for their suggestions and their plans to safely reopen. He expects those responses by April 22.

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