- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo rolled out plans for an 18-member multistate work group to coordinate ways to reopen the economy and expand who counts as essential workers once the coronavirus outbreak becomes manageable.
- The group will include the top economic development official, health official, and each governor’s chief of staff from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
- Absent from the coalition, at first, were Vermont and Massachusetts — both of which have Republican governors — though Cuomo announced later in the day that the Bay State will be joining.
- The rollout at Monday afternoon’s press conference from the New York State Capitol in Albany did not include any concrete plans to reopen anything yet.
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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo rolled deep on a part-news conference, part-conference call Monday afternoon with five other governors representing almost more than 45 million Americans combined, or almost 15% of the US population.
Cuomo unveiled an 18-member work group involving New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Delaware tasked with finding a coordinated way to reopen the economy as the spread of the coronavirus becomes more manageable.
It comes as President Trump and many of his top administration officials have been adamant about rolling back social-distancing measures to fire up the economy as the nation faces mounting unemployment and economic distress.
Also on Monday, a Western States Pact was announced among California, Washington, and Oregon for a similar effort.
All the governors on the Cuomo call were Democrats, with the notable absence of neighboring state governors from Massachusetts and Vermont, both of whom are Republicans.
But later in the day, Cuomo announced that Massachusetts would be joining.
—Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) April 13, 2020
The 18-member group will include each governor’s chief of staff, their state’s head economic development official, and each state’s head health official.
The theme of the event was finding ways to avoid people crossing state lines to take advantage of discrepancies in which businesses could open first or which states might allow larger gatherings.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy cautioned that opening the economy too early in any neighboring state would “pour gasoline on the fire” of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
Cuomo said the interconnectedness of the states — particularly by rail and the I-95 corridor — would push consumers “across another bridge” to enjoy activities banned in their states, putting others at risk for contracting the virus.
“All of your lines and boundaries make no sense,” Cuomo said of a piecemeal approach.
Cuomo spoke of “turning that valve very slowly” to reopen the economy, with the work group forming an initial plan.
Otherwise, Monday’s news conference did not include any concrete plans to reopen any businesses or expand the definition of essential workers.