The governors of Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island are forming a regional working group to determine when it will be safe to begin reopening their economies, and how they will do so, they announced on Monday.
The move was announced during a joint press conference held by the six Democrats: Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, Phil Murphy of New Jersey, Ned Lamont of Connecticut, Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, John Carney of Delaware and Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island.
Cuomo announced earlier Monday that he believed his state, where more than 10,000 people have died of COVID-19, has hit a plateau and that it was the appropriate time to begin thinking about reopening the economy.
“We should start looking forward to reopening, and reopening with a smart plan,” said Cuomo.
Each state involved will contribute a public health and an economic development official, as well as the governor’s chief of staff, to form an 18-person working group, which Cuomo said will immediately start work on designing a reopening plan taking into consideration both health and economic concerns.
Cuomo said talks will officially begin Tuesday, but there is no concrete timetable in mind for actions.
Carney said the working group will formalize steps he has already begun taking with neighboring Govs. Murphy and Wolf.
“We need to get patients healthy before we can get economies healthy,” he said. “Our working together sharing our information and intelligence will help each of us make better decisions.”
Raimondo echoed those concerns.
“I am constantly thinking about what it is going to take to safely reopen our economy. Like you I don’t want to keep people out of work one day longer than necessary,” she said. “None of us has ever gone through this before. I am confident by working together and sharing our best ideas we’re much more likely to get it right.”
Cuomo said he was also talking to Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, about joining the group.
West Coast governors brainstorm
Meanwhile, the three Democrats who run the coastal states of the West, Jay Inslee of Washington, Gavin Newsom of California and Kate Brown of Oregon, announced on Monday a separate effort to reopen their economies.
Details were more sparse on their plans, but they said in a joint statement that they would need to balance health and economic concerns.
“We are announcing that California, Oregon and Washington have agreed to work together on a shared approach for reopening our economies – one that identifies clear indicators for communities to restart public life and business,” the governors said.