Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday that he and six other governors are working together to figure out when to reopen the Midwest economy.
Pritzker will work with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear.
“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 governor’s said in a joint statement.
“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 statement said.
The governors said that they will reopen the economies in a way that “prioritizes our workers’ health.” They will work with experts and take a fact-based, data-driven approach to protect people from the spread of COVID-19.
“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 statement said.
The governors will look at these four factors when making the decision: 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. But close coordination will ensure we get this right,” the statement said.
“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.”