(The Center Square) - President Donald Trump said Wednesday that some big decisions will be announced Thursday about how parts of the U.S. economy will begin to reopen after stay-at-home orders closed businesses and led to millions of lost jobs across the country.
"Tomorrow's going to be a very big day," Trump said, adding that he will be talking to the nation's governors Thursday morning to discuss plans to ease restrictions put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, a pandemic that has killed nearly 28,000 in the U.S. and infected more than 635,000.
Trump said the White House Coronavirus Task Force will reveal new federal guidelines that will allow many shuttered businesses to reopen, but at first only in pockets of the country least affected by the novel coronavirus.
"They'll be safe, they'll be strong, but we want to get our country back," Trump said during his daily news briefing.
With encouraging signs that states across the nation were slowing the spread of COVID-19, Trump said it's time to take a new approach.
"These encouraging developments have put us in a very strong position to finalize guidelines for states on reopening the country, which we'll be announcing," he said. "We're going to be talking about that tomorrow. It's very exciting."
Trump conceded that governors would have the final say on when and how to ease stay-at-home restrictions, and that regions with fewer confirmed cases would reopen sooner than harder hit areas.
Despite the optimism, federal health officials said Americans need to continue to practice social distancing guidelines, including avoiding large gatherings, wearing masks in public and staying at least 6 feet away from others.
Governors from a number of states have described their own plans for reopening their economies.
On Tuesday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom outlined a comprehensive plan for easing restrictions on the state's residents and businesses that included individuals needing to wear masks in public, temperatures being take before people enter businesses, and restaurants reopening but with fewer tables so social distancing guidelines can be continued.
A group of seven northeastern states also has begun discussions about what reopening the economy would like regionally.