Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has teamed up with his counterparts in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana and Kentucky on a coordinated effort to reopen local economies as they work to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
A statement released Thursday by the governors reads, in part:
“We are doing everything we can to protect the people of our states and slow the spread of COVID-19, and we are eager to work together to mitigate the economic crisis this virus has caused in our region. Here in the Midwest, we are bound by our commitment to our people and the community. We recognize that our economies are all reliant on each other, and we must work together to safely reopen them so hardworking people can get back to work and businesses can get back on their feet.”
The governors said they will work with experts and take a “fact-based, data-driven approach” to reopening the economy in a way that protects families from the virus, which has infected 66,349 people across the seven states as of Wednesday.
“Our number one priority when analyzing when best to reopen our economy is the health and safety of our citizens. We will make decisions based on facts, science, and recommendations from experts in health care, business, labor, and education,” the governors said in a statement.
The group said it would examine the following when determining when it’s best to reopen the economy:
• Sustained control of the rate of new infections and hospitalizations.
• Enhanced ability to test and trace.
• Sufficient health care capacity to handle resurgence.
• And best practices for social distancing in the workplace.
“Phasing in sectors of our economy will be most effective when we work together as a region. This doesn’t mean our economy will reopen all at once, or that every state will take the same steps at the same time,” the governors said in a statement. “But close coordination will ensure we get this right. Over time, people will go back to work, restaurants will reopen, and things will go back to normal. We look forward to working together as one region to tackle this challenge together.”
Along with Pritzker, the governors include Gretchen Whitmer (Michigan), Mike DeWine (Ohio), Tony Evers (Wisconsin), Tim Walz (Minnesota), Eric Holcomb (Indiana) and Andy Beshear (Kentucky).