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Midwest governors to coordinate on reopening economy

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SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker joined governors from neighboring states in announcing a partnership on reopening the regional economy.

According to a joint press release, Pritzker was joined by 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).

Notably missing are the Republican governors of Iowa and Missouri.

“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 the press release on Thursday. “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 governors said they would base their decisions on science and recommendations from experts, examining four factors:

  • 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,” 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. We look forward to working together as one region to tackle this challenge together.”

This is the third coalition of states to announce a partnership in reopening regional economies. The west coast and northeastern states announced similar agreements earlier this week.

The announcement also came as protests against the shelter-in-place orders the states have issued took place in Lansing, Mich., and Frankfort, Ky. Another protest is being planned in St. Paul, Minn.

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