President Donald Trump and his administration on Monday urged Americans to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus by limiting group gatherings to 10 or fewer people and avoiding restaurants and bars.
The White House Coronavirus Task Force, however, stopped short of ordering curfews, quarantines or the closures of businesses.
“Avoid gathering in groups of 10 or more people. Avoid discretionary travel. And avoid eating and drinking in bars, restaurants and public food courts,” Trump said in an afternoon briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had recommended organizers cancel or postpone in-person events with 50 or more people in the United States.
“If everyone makes this change – or these critical changes – and sacrifices now,” he said, “we will rally together as one nation, and we will defeat the virus.”
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Trump also said he expected the pandemic could continue into July and August.
The White House guidelines advised that older people, those over the age of 60, and those with underlying health conditions “stay home and away from other people.”
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, pointed out in the briefing that the new guidelines, dubbed “15 Days to Slow the Spread,” did include fine print that says:
“In states with evidence of community transmission, bars, restaurants, food courts, gyms and other indoor and outdoor venues where groups of people congregate should be closed.”
States over the weekend and on Monday that imposed strict guidelines on restaurants and bars included: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Washington.
A number of municipalities also ordered new rules on eating and drinking establishments.
“We look forward to the day where we can get back to normal,” Trump said, also acknowledging that the nation could be heading into a recession.
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