“It would really be the worst possible time for us to try to put more people out there and endanger them,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, chairman of the National Governors Association, said Thursday on NBC’s “Today” show about the prospect of lifting restrictions now.
Hogan has not yet set a date for what he called a “recovery phase” for his state, and said it won’t be possible to do so until four “building blocks” are in place: expanding testing capabilities, increasing hospital surge capacity, bolstering the supply of personal protective equipment and establishing a comprehensive contact tracing operation.
“Everybody wants to get our economy back and get people back to work and get our small businesses open,” he said. “But we also want to make sure we do it in a safe way and we’re not just ramping things back up and endangering the lives of thousands of people.”
New Jersey’s Phil Murphy on Wednesday described a scenario of restaurants operating at 50 percent capacity, with tables spaced apart from one another, staffed by waiters wearing masks and gloves.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom sees the possibility of staggering school schedules to avoid grouping too many students into a room at once, while restaurants and other businesses could check customers’ temperatures at the door. Large gatherings for sports events or concerns will have to wait until next year, or whenever a vaccine is available, he said.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that he’s extending his shutdown order limiting in-person work to essential businesses until May 15, adding that his administration needs to see the infection rate continue to drop before strict social distancing measures can be lifted.
Cuomo said the state’s workforce would be phased back in the same manner New York shut down, scaling up by 25 percent, then 50 percent and continuing with “more essential” businesses with lower risks of infection opening sooner.
“You stopped everything. How do you now restart that machine in a coordinated way that doesn’t drive up the infection rate?” he asked. “Are there certain businesses that are inherently safer or can be safer? These are all questions that we have to work through on a case by case basis but there is a matrix and the matrix is how important is the business to society, how essential a service and how risky is that business from a rate of infection.”