An exclusive report from The Associated Press reveals that President Donald Trump’s administration shelved a 17-page report by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) team titled “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework.” The report, the AP notes, “was researched and written to help faith leaders, business owners, educators and state and local officials as they begin to reopen.”
The document was set to be published last Friday, but a CDC official who spoke to the AP said that agency scientists were told it “would never see the light of day.”
The CDC’s document reportedly contains more detail than the “Opening Up America Again” guidelines released by the White House last month. The White House’s guidelines are vaguer than the CDC’s, suggesting that state and local governments can reopen in accordance with federal and local “regulations and guidance,” including monitoring employees for symptoms of the novel coronavirus.
The shelved report is far more strict. For example, it says restaurants and bars should install sneeze guards at cash registers. It also suggests eateries avoid having buffets, salad bars, and drink stations. It also recommends that restaurants seat diners at least six feet apart and that eateries use phone technology to alert patrons when their tables are ready to avoid touching anyone and using restaurant pagers.
The Trump administration did not want to release the CDC’s guidance because it makes specific recommendations on how sectors of the economy could reopen. The AP obtained a copy of the guidance from another federal official who was not authorized to release it.
The White House has exerted tight control over the CDC’s release of information during the coronavirus pandemic. CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield has been largely absent from recent appearances by the coronavirus task force. The president recently suggested he would disband the task force, but did an about-face following heavy pushback. He now says the task force will continue “indefinitely.”