A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Beshear, six other governors unite in efforts to form plan on reopening Midwest region economy


By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear is one of seven governors of both parties who have announced they will work in close coordination to reopen the economy in the Midwest region, which has been decimated due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Beshear is joining with his counterparts Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Mike DeWine from Ohio, Wisconsin’s Tony Evers, Tim Walz of Minnesota, J.B. Pritzker from Illinois and Indiana’s Eric Holcomb in making the announcement.

Gov. Andy Beshear is one of seven governors who have pledged support for each other in reopening their economies. (KET screen shot)

In a joint statement, the seven governors gave their plan of action:

“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.

“Today, we are announcing that Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky will work in close coordination to reopen our economies in a way that prioritizes our workers’ health. 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.

“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.

They listed these four factors when determining when best to reopen the economy:

• 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. 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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