Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and six other Midwest governors are teaming up to coordinate reopening the economy in the region, the governors announced Thursday.
Joining Pritzker are governors Gretchen Whitmer (D-Michigan), Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), Tony Evers (D-Wisconsin), Tim Walz (D-Minnesota), Eric Holcomb (R-Indiana) and Andy Beshear (D-Kentucky).
“We recognize that our economies are all reliant on each other,” the governors said in a joint statement. “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 represent a bipartisan effort among five Democrats (Pritzker, Whitmer, Evers, Walz and Beshear) and two Republicans (DeWine and Holcomb). President Donald Trump on Monday asserted that he alone had the power to reopen the country, before walking back on his statements a day later.
The Midwest partnership resembles similar governor partnerships announced on the east and west coasts in recent days.
According to the seven Midwest governors, the No. 1 priority remains the health and safety of the citizens. They pledged to make decisions based on facts, science and recommendations from experts in health care, business, labor and education.
They will examine at least four factors when determining when to reopen the economy. Those include the rate of new infections and hospitalizations, testing capabilities, health care capacity and social distancing in the workplace.
“Phasing in sectors of our economy will be most effective when we work together as a region,” the governors said. “This doesn’t mean our economy will reopen all at once, or that every state will take the same steps at the same time. 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.”
Illinois was the second state to implement a stay-at-home order in late March. The order is currently through April 30.
Neighboring Indiana has its stay-at-home order in place through April 20, but the order says it could be extended. In Michigan, protesters clogged the streets in Lansing, the state capital, on Wednesday, protesting the stay-at-home order. Michigan’s order runs through April 30.
Illinois and Michigan have seen the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 of the seven Midwest states – Michigan with more than 27,000 and Illinois with more than 24,000. Indiana is next highest with more than 8,900 cases.
Source: The Daily Chronicle