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J.B. Pritzker to work with neighboring governors to reopen Midwest economy

Staff Report

CHICAGO – Govs. J.B. Pritzker, D-Illinois; 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; announced Thursday that they will work in close coordination to reopen the Midwest economy.

“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 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.

“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 say they will make decisions based on facts, science, and recommendations from experts in health care, business, labor, and education.

Evers, on Thursday extended his state’s “Safer at Home” order until May 24 and closed public schools for the rest of the year. The extension also allows non-essential businesses to reopen with restrictions.

To open the Midwest governors say they will examine four factors when determining when best to reopen the economy: sustained control of the rate of new infections an 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,” the statement 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. We look forward to working together as one region to tackle this challenge together.”

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