The project of reopening the economy has begun. Thehas begun to slow down in many parts of the country, prompting state and local governments to loosen lockdown restrictions and allow businesses to reopen gradually, as long as they continue to take . Which businesses open and when may vary significantly depending on where you live, but one truism everywhere in the world is that lockdown restrictions aren't lifting all at once.
As the curve of daily cases begins to flatten in some parts of the country, government and public health officials are working on plans forall of which which take a multiphased approach to relaxing some rules while keeping others – – intact. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued this week on reopening schools, factories and other businesses. The recommendations reinforce the path set out by the White House and Johns Hopkins University.
The purpose of slowly reopening society is to keep fromwhich some experts say could still come . Here's what all the phases mean for you and your city.
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Phase 1: Slow the coronavirus spread
In many parts of the US, this is the phase many residents are now coming out of, with social distancing and stay-at-home orders keeping most people indoors except forand recreational walks.
In this first phase, nonessential businesses and activities such as shopping malls, theaters, sporting events, hair salons, barber shops and casinos have been shut down. Businesses that provide essential health and safety services have remained open, including grocery and hardware stores, pharmacies, hospitals, medical centers, banks and gas stations.
Restaurants – as well as pubs and bars in states such as New Jersey – are considered essential, but require you to pick up your order orinstead of sitting down to eat.  While outdoors, residents are required to avoid large groups, practice social distancing and, in some regions, are .
Phase 2: Lockdown begins to lift
This is the phase many states are transitioning into. The US government, working with public health advisers, suggests that quarantine restrictions may begin to ease after:
- The number of daily cases steadily drops for at least two weeks.
- Hospitals and medical centers can operate outside of crisis mode to care for all COVID-19 patients.
- becomes widely available to at-risk healthcare workers.
California has loosened restrictions on construction and certain DMV operations and reopened parking lots for state parks. The state is also looking at how professional sports events can return this summer.
Some states – including New York – could wait for more safeguards, such asto fall into place. could be another big component for some states, to quickly find people who have come in contact with an infected person, and self-isolate.
States in Phase 2 are starting to open businesses that are considered low-risk for spread of the virus, such as garden supply stores, construction sites and manufacturing locations. To return to work and school, expect social distancing requirements indoors (for example, keeping desks six feet apart) and potentially temperature checks as part of the condition of entering a building or classroom.
The most vulnerable people, including older people and those with underlying conditions may still be required or encouraged to shelter in place.
Phase 3: Open more businesses and activities
With dwindling daily cases andstate leaders will seek to reopen higher-risk businesses where customers and workers are in close contact for longer periods of time, such as nail shops and hair salons. Gyms, movie theaters and churches may also be open in this phase. Some states, such as Georgia, are already moving to this phase.
As states carefully relax restrictions,will play an increasingly important role in monitoring the spread of the virus. is a long-accepted tool used by public health officials to identify infected individuals and anyone who may have come into close proximity with the person who tested positive for the disease. To help identify possible new COVID-19 cases, health officials are looking at our mobile phones to build a list of contacts.
Phase 4: Herd immunity or a vaccine will help restore normalcy
The goal of the first three phases is to get us to a point of community-wide resistance to the coronavirus. One way to achieve that is calledwhich means that 60% or more of the population has been exposed to the coronavirus and have gained . The other approach is through . Once we have a safe and effective vaccine and antiviral medicine to protect and treat the population, authorities will be able to fully lift social-distancing orders and bring about a new normalcy.
What about travel bans and restrictions?
Reopening public transit and other methods of mass transportation such as airline and train travel for nonessential trips is an important but potentially higher-risk stage, because passengers are often in close contact for extended periods of time. Domestic airline travel alreadybut international vacations . And in some cases they are not even possible if airlines have cut routes.
States will also look for relaxing interstate travel: Some states, including Hawaii and Rhode Island, require anyone arriving in the state – resident, visitor or tourist – to self-quarantine for 14 days.
As your state opens up, you'll still want to take steps to make sure you stay safe. Here's how tohow to and . If your state or region is easing its coronavirus restrictions, let us know in a comment.
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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.