Gov. Eric Holcomb and six other neighboring state governors announced April 16, a partnership to coordinate on a plan to reopen the Midwest region economy, which could happen sometime in May.
Holcomb along with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer; Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine; Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers; Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz; Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker; and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear in a joint statement said, “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.”
The governors said they recognized, “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.” Similar efforts are underway by governors in other regions of the country.
Speaking with media on April 16, Holcomb did not provide a specific date but said in conversations with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, he noted both governors were “both thinking about May.”
“I’m not being date specific, I’m (going to) be looking at the numbers,” Holcomb said. “We’ve said all week long here in the state of Indiana that these next few days are very important to us. We want to see this trend hold. We want to see the numbers hold. We want to make sure our capacity is where it is and continue to improve, quite frankly. So I’m not putting a May 1 date out there or May 7 or May 8, but we are thinking early May.”
Protecting lives and safety is the top priority for the Midwest state leaders. Numerous initiatives have been enacted by government officials the past several weeks to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
“Our number one priority when analyzing when best to reopen our economy is the health and safety of our citizens,” the governors said. “We will make decisions based on facts, science, and recommendations from experts in health care, business, labor, and education.”
The governors said decisions on when to reopen the economy include:
- 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.
The governors said it is likely reopening the economy will happen gradually.
“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.”
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