Politics

State Department quietly begins reopening amid coronavirus pandemic

Key Points
  • In a three-phased approach, which began May 1, the nation's top diplomat detailed how the State Department would ramp up travel and bring teams back to on-site missions across the globe.
  • The plan includes policies on travel, telework, face coverings, as well as social distancing requirements for common spaces such as cafeterias.
The U.S. Department of State building is seen in Washington, D.C., on July 22, 2019.
Alastair Pike| AFP via Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo quietly began executing the Department's coronavirus reopening plan last week, according to internal documents obtained by CNBC.

In a three-phased approach, which began May 1, the nation's top diplomat detailed how the State Department would ramp up travel and bring teams back to on-site missions across the globe. The department's colossal plan to fully restore operations for some 13,000 U.S. diplomats and 11,000 civil servants aligns with guidance from the White House, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as guidance from local government, according to the documents viewed by CNBC.

The plan, entitled "Diplomacy Strong," includes policies on travel, telework, face coverings, as well as social distancing requirements for common spaces such as cafeterias.

"This guidance provides senior leaders at domestic offices and overseas posts the framework they need to prioritize the health and safety of our workforce, mitigate risks, and continue to achieve our diplomatic mission," a State Department spokesperson wrote in an emailed statement to CNBC.

"Conditions will be evaluated at each location, based on public health data for that region and local government response measures," the person added.

The coronavirus has infected more than 3.8 million people worldwide, and although many have recovered, more than 269,881 have died. In the U.S. alone, more than 1.2 million cases have been reported so far, with nearly 75,852 deaths, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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