Seven governors from the Midwest will coordinate on reopening their state economies amid the coronavirus pandemic, after similar pacts were made in the Northeast and on the West Coast.
The latest agreement includes Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Kentucky.
‘We look forward to working with experts and taking a fact-based, data-driven approach to reopening our economy in a way that protects families from the spread of COVID-19,’ the governors said in a statement.
‘Phasing in sectors of our economy will be most effective when we work together as a region,’ said the governors.
The state leaders include five Democrats — Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer, Wisconsin’s Tony Evers, Illinois’ J.B. Pritzker, Minnesota’s Tim Walz, Kentucky’s Andy Beshear — and two Republicans, Ohio’s Mike DeWine and Eric Holcomb of Indiana.
Seven governors from the Midwest will coordinate on reopening their state economies amid the coronavirus pandemic. The top state leaders include Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer (pictured), one of five Democrats in the group
Wisconsin’s Tony Evers is among seven governors who have coordinated efforts to reopen their states amid the coronavirus pandemic. Evers is one of five Democrats in the group
Illinois’ JB Pritzker is among seven governors who have coordinated efforts to reopen their states amid the coronavirus pandemic. Pritzker is one of five Democrats in the group
Minnesota’s Tim Walz is among seven governors who have coordinated efforts to reopen their states amid the coronavirus pandemic. Walz is one of five Democrats in the group
Kentucky’s Andy Beshea is among seven governors who have coordinated efforts to reopen their states amid the coronavirus pandemic. Beshea is one of five Democrats in the group
Ohio’s Mike Dewine is among seven governors who have coordinated efforts to reopen their states amid the coronavirus pandemic. Dewine is one of two Republicans in the group
Eric Holcomb of Indiana is among seven governors who have coordinated efforts to reopen their states amid the coronavirus pandemic. Holcomb is one of two Republicans in the group
Their comments were made Thursday, just before President Donald Trump outlined to governors a phased approach to restoring normal commerce and services if there is strong testing and a decrease in cases.
The Midwestern alliance joins pacts on the West Coast and in the Northeast that were announced this week.
All together, the 17 states covered by the partnerships are home to nearly half of the country’s population.
So far, there have been 691,567 cases in the US of the coronavirus, which has been blamed for 36,185 deaths.
How the number of new coronavirus infections in the US has escalated over time
Despite their coordinated efforts, the Midwestern governors warned that that state economies won’t all reopen all at once or take the same steps, ‘but close coordination will ensure we get this right.’
Factors they will weigh heavily include controlling the rate of new infections and hospitalizations, enhanced ability to test and trace for the virus, sufficient healthcare capacity to handle a potential resurgence and best practices for social distancing at work, the governors said.
Governors to focus on four factors to reopen state economies
Controlling the rate of new infections and hospitalizations
Enhanced ability to test and trace for the virus
Sufficient healthcare capacity to handle a potential resurgence
Best practices for social distancing at work
‘I am an optimist and am confident that Ohioans will also live up to the challenge of doing things differently as we open back up beginning on May 1st,’ DeWine tweeted Thursday, as he announced his state’s reopening date.
DeWine said the state is planning to reopen some businesses when Trump’s lockdown guidance ends in two weeks.
The state currently has more than 9,100 infections and 418 deaths.
‘We must get Ohio’s economy moving again. We must get people back to work,’ DeWine said during his
The governor said he had put together an economic advisory board, which is made up of small and big business CEOs, as part of the plan to start reopening come May 1.
Gov Mike DeWine said on Thursday that the state is planning to reopen some businesses when President Donald Trump’s lockdown guidance ends in two weeks. He is pictured above on Wednesday at his daily coronavirus briefing
In re-opening any business, DeWine said it was essential to provide a safe working environment to avoid a spike in coronavirus cases.
‘During the stay at home time, the companies that were allowed to continue have learned a lot and we’ve seen them put in place some very, very stringent measures. In a sense, this has been a trial period where we can see some of the things that work,’ he said.
He said the advisory board was currently working on the plan, saying: ‘We’ve got a lot more work to do between now and May 1 because we want to get this right.’
DeWine did, however, warns that life would not resume as normal for some period of time.
Protesters are pictured outside the Ohio Statehouse demanding the state be reopened. Governor Mike DeWine has since warned that life there would not resume as normal for some period of time
Protesters stand outside the Ohio Statehouse on Monday ignoring social distancing guidelines put in place as they demanded the state reopen
Holcomb, who could announce Friday whether he will extend or modify Indiana’s stay-home order that is scheduled to end early next week, described the pact as a way of making sure that all of the state leaders know about the actions the others are taking.
‘We’re all thinking about that smart restart, opening of our states in a very gradual, methodical way if the numbers continue to hold and the trends continue to hold,’ he said.
Indiana has had 10,154 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, which has been blamed for 522 deaths.
Several governors, including Whitmer, have been criticized for their shutdown orders and the resulting negative economic impact.
Many Republicans and business leaders in Michigan have said Whitmer’s latest order was too restrictive and needed to be revised.
Thousands of demonstrators in cars with horns honking thronged around Michigan’s state Capitol to protest Whitmer’s order this week.
Whitmer said on Friday that she ‘hopes’ to relax some of her state’s lockdown orders after receiving backlash from four sheriffs who said they would not enforce it and after the protests.
In an interview with Good Morning America, Whitmer responded to President Trump’s May 1 reopening guidelines by saying they left much to be answered with regards to testing, but that she is hopeful she can adhere to them.
‘I do hope to have some relaxing come May 1st but it’s two weeks away, and the information, the data and our ability to test is changing so rapidly.
Michigan has had more than 29,263 cases of the coronavirus, which has been blamed for 2,093 deaths.
On Friday, protesters showed up outside Walz’s residence in Minnesota, saying they, too, wanted to get back to work – despite widespread COVID-19 testing not being available yet.
Minnesota has had 2,070 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, which has been blamed for 111 deaths.
Under Trump’s guidelines, places with declining infections and strong testing would begin a three-phased gradual reopening of businesses and schools, with each phase lasting at least 14 days, meant to ensure that the virus outbreak doesn’t accelerate again.
The recommendations make clear that the return to normalcy will be a far longer process than Trump initially envisioned, with federal officials warning that some social distancing measures may need to remain in place through the end of the year to prevent a new outbreak.
At earliest, the guidelines suggest that some parts of the country could see a resumption in normal commerce and social gatherings after a month of evaluating whether the easing of restrictions leads to a resurgence in virus cases. In other parts of the country, or if virus cases resume an up-tick, it could be substantially longer.
Protesters have continued to gather across the US, ignoring social distancing rules, to demonstrate against the lockdown orders they called ‘tyrannical’ and ‘worse than the virus’.
A startling image from Ohio showed a baying crowd at the window of the Statehouse Atrium on Monday. Two protesters wore Trump hats, others waved American flags and one was in a Guy Fawkes mask.
Ohio’s decision to reopen on May 1 comes as other states and areas across the country extended their lockdowns or tightened stay-at-home orders.
In Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowseru extended the city’s stay-at-home order, school closures and business restrictions from April 24 to May 16.
The governors of three states – Virginia, Kansas and Idaho – also pushed back the dates on social distancing policies on Wednesday, as did officials in cities across Missouri, Texas and Louisiana.
On Thursday, New York Gov Andrew Cuomo extended his stay-at-home order until May 15 and Wisconsin Gov Tony Evers extended his through May 26.