As Covid-19 continues to spread across the US, President Donald Trump has given governors guidance on reopening state economies in the coming months.
The guidelines for “Opening up America Again” outline three phases for states to gradually ease their lockdowns.
Mr Trump promised governors they would be handling the process themselves, with help from the federal government.
There has been a mixed reception to the plans, with a leading Democrat calling them vague and inconsistent.
The US currently has 654,301 confirmed cases and 32,186 deaths due to the virus, and Mr Trump has suggested some states could reopen this month.
In his daily briefing on Thursday, President Trump declared “the next front in our war – opening up America again”.
“America wants to be open and Americans want to be open,” he said. “A national shutdown is not a sustainable long-term solution.”
He said that a prolonged lockdown risked inflicting a serious toll on public health. He warned of a “sharp rise” in drug abuse, alcohol abuse, heart disease, and other “physical and mental” problems.
Mr Trump told reporters that healthy citizens would be able to return to work “as conditions allow”. He said Americans would continue to be called upon to maintain social distancing measures and to stay home if they are unwell.
He said that reopening the US economy would be done “one careful step at a time” but he called on state governors to move “very, very quickly, depending on what they want to do”.
Shortly afterwards, leading Democrat Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, called the new guidelines “vague and inconsistent”.
She said the document did “nothing to make up for the president’s failure to listen to the scientists and produce and distribute national rapid testing”.