In a press conference this afternoon, President Trump issued new guidelines for Americans to help slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, including avoiding restaurants and bars and gatherings of more than 10 people.
Trump said the country is making progress in developing a vaccine and treatments for the virus. In the meantime, though, he said the White House has “made the decision to further toughen the guidelines and blunt [the spread of] the infection now. We’d much rather be ahead of the curve than behind it, and that’s where we are.”
He urged Americans to “avoid eating and drinking at bars, restaurants and public food courts,” adding, “If everyone makes these critical changes and sacrifices now, we will rally together as one nation, and we will defeat the virus.”
The U.S. restaurant industry is already reeling from loss of business since the coronavirus began to spread. The New York Times reported last week that restaurant sales were down 20 percent nationwide. Since then, several states have ordered restaurants to close their dine-in services or reduce their hours while continuing to offer delivery and carryout.
According to CNN, the new guidelines from the White House also said states that have experienced an uptick of coronavirus cases should close restaurants and bars and other public places, although this is a recommendation, not a government mandate.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also spoke at the president’s press conference. He said the guidelines might seem too strict but are necessary to slow the spread of the virus. “Some may look at them and say they’re going to be really inconvenient for people,” he said. “Some will look and say, well, maybe we’ve gone too far. [The guidelines] were well thought out.”
“When you’re dealing with an emerging infectious diseases outbreak, you are always behind where you think you are if you think that today reflects where you really are,” Fauci said. “It will always seem that the best way to address it would be to be doing something that looks like it might be an overreaction. It isn’t an overreaction. It’s an action we feel that’s commensurate [with] what’s actually going on in reality.”
Fauci added that these new measures “will fail if people don’t adhere to them.”