By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put out a roadmap for safely reopening the country. The guidelines arrive as every state is already in some phase of reopening.

Restrictions are being lifted before there’s a vaccine or a proven treatment for COVID-19. Until we have that, doctors say, there’s a risk.

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That’s why these CDC guidelines are so important. It’s 60 pages of details on precautions to make reopening as safe as it can be. The much-anticipated and slightly delayed guidelines outline ways to safely reopen schools, businesses and much more.

They say restaurants should install barriers, buses close off access to some seats and schools are advised to shutdown playgrounds and encourage students to wear masks.

“We’ll pay attention to them but we’re also gonna try to give people some clear advice locally,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.

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Farley says the city will additionally have its own recommendations for reopening.

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“How a variety of activities can operate safely and those will rely on the CDC’s  guidelines or extend them,” Farley said.

The CDC guidelines call for maintaining six feet social distancing, regular handwashing and protecting people who are the most vulnerable.

For businesses specifically, the CDC recommends intense cleaning, limited seating, staff should be trained on social distancing protocols, nonessential employees allowed to work from home and businesses should institute a monitoring system for employees to minimize the risk of exposure.

“You have to reassure the public that they’re not going to get sick and contract COVID from engaging in commerce,” said Dr. Zeke Emanuel with the University of Pennsylvania.

The guidelines were delayed because the Trump administration said they unfairly targeted religious institutions, according to a senior CDC official. That section has been omitted.


Many religious services are now available online and virtually and there are limited live services depending on where you live.

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With the CDC guidelines, there’s still an emphasis on social distancing, along with face coverings when you’re in public and frequent handwashing, as the best ways to guard against COVID-19.

Stephanie Stahl