Biden unveils plan to reopen the economy

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June 11 (UPI) -- Former Vice President Joe Biden unveiled a plan Thursday for reopening the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee outlined an eight-part plan to reopen on his website, while blasting President Donald Trump's plan as a "one-point plan."

"Trump has a one-point plan for all of this -- put up the 'Open for Business' sign and then just see what happens," Biden said in his statement Thursday. "That isn't going to fix the economy that Trump broke or minimize the risk of COVID-19 resurging."

Biden's plan was announced at a roundtable meeting, where he met with black community leaders and business owners in Philadelphia.

His plan includes, first, guaranteeing testing and personal protective equipment for everyone called back on the job.

Second, it would guarantee paid sick leave for all workers who get infected with COVID-19 for as long as they need to recover and complete quarantine.

The third step aims to ensure worker protection and accountability. Measures include the Occupational Safety and Health Administration setting and enforcing rigorous standards to protect workers from COVID-19 and "directing other agencies to enforce industry-specific standards," Biden's statement said.

Fourth, the plan calls for a national contact tracing workforce to support the public heath response and find out who may have been exposed to the virus through contact with an infected person.

The fifth step involves protecting U.S. senior citizens, those with disabilities and others at high risk, including requiring employers to tailor work arrangements at home for those in a high-risk group.

Sixth, the plan would create a "Safe for Shoppers" program that would allow public health departments to certify businesses as compliant with best practices to reduce transmission, so that shoppers feel safe again.

The seventh step would support small businesses through a "restart package," providing small business owners with support for retaining and rehiring workers. This part of the plan also includes ensuring minority-owned businesses get fair access to support that other small businesses are getting.

Eighth, the plan lines out measures for reopening schools and child care programs to help parents go back to work and stop students from falling behind. This includes scaling up National Institutes of Health pediatric research on COVID-19 to improve understanding on how the virus affects children and to generate evidence-based guidance. It also includes building a clearinghouse to help providers share approaches and tools for reopening.

The eighth step also includes providing funds, especially to Title I schools in the most need, to help cover costs, including PPE, enhanced sanitation and other logistical costs and expenses associated with the new learning environment, Biden added.

"Trump may have forgotten about the coronavirus, but it hasn't forgotten about us," Biden said. "The failure to respond to the pandemic, I think the federal government has abdicated any effective leadership role."

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