Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

CHICAGO—The governors of seven Midwestern states have announced a partnership where they will work in coordination to reopen their respective economies impacted by the Coronavirus.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, 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 jointly announced the COVID-19 partnership.

Similar partnerships have already been established in the Northeast and Western states.

The governors 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. 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.”

They added that going forward they will consult with experts and take a fact-based, data-driven approach to reopening their economies in a manner that protect families 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 governors said in a joint statement.

The four factors that will drive their decision making are:

• Sustained control of the rate of new infections and hospitalizations.

• Enhanced ability to test and trace.

• Sufficient health care capacity to handle resurgence

• Best practices for social distancing in the workplace.

The governors suggested that the reopening of the regional economy will be undertaken in phases.

“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,” the governors stated. “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.”