INDIANAPOLIS (AP/WLFI) — Seven Midwestern governors announced Thursday that they will coordinate on reopening their state economies amid the coronavirus pandemic after similar pacts were made in the Northeast and on the West Coast.
Governors Eric J. Holcomb (IN), Gretchen Whitmer (MI), Mike DeWine (OH), Tony Evers (WI), Tim Walz (MN), JB Pritzker (IL), and Andy Beshear (KY) announced that they will work in close coordination to reopen the economy in the Midwest region.
“Today, we are announcing that Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky will work in close coordination to reopen our economies in a way that prioritizes our workers’ health. We look forward to working with experts and taking a fact-based, data-driven approach to reopening our economy in a way that protect families from the spread of COVID-19.,” the governors said. “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 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.
“Phasing in sectors of our economy will be most effective when we work together as a region,” said the governors, who 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, Mike DeWine of Ohio and Eric Holcomb of Indiana. They stressed it does not mean every state will take the same steps at the same time.
“Close coordination will ensure we get this right,” said Evers, who on Thursday extended Wisconsin's stay-at-home order until May 26.
“I can’t speak for what the other governors are going to do, and I won’t, but we are all in a lot of contact and I think it’s good for the people of our respective states that we’re sharing ideas,” said DeWine.
Governor Holcomb said he won't be pinned down to any specific date.
"I'm going to be looking at the numbers," said Holcomb. "We've said all week long here in the state of Indiana that these next ffew 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 continues to improve, quite frankly."
Still, the governor said he is thinking of re-opening in "early May."