Recognizing that their states have one integrated regional economy, CT Gov. Ned Lamont, NY Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, NJ Gov. Phil Murphy, RI Gov. Gina Raimondo, PA Gov. Tom Wolf and DE Gov. John Carney announced Monday afternoon, Apr. 13, the creation of a multi-state council to restore the economy and get people back to work. This announcement builds on the states’ ongoing regional approach to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Update:  At 5:15 p.m., the CT governor’s office announced that Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is joining the multi-state council “to restore the economy and get people back to work. This announcement builds on the states’ ongoing regional approach to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.”

[Original Story]:  The coordinating group–comprised of one health expert, one economic development expert and the respective chief of staff from each state–will work together to develop a fully integrated regional framework to gradually lift the states’ stay at home orders while minimizing the risk of increased spread of the virus.

The council will create this framework using every tool available to accomplish the goal of easing social isolation without triggering renewed spread–including testing, contact tracing, treatment, and social distancing–and will rely on the best available scientific, statistical, social, and economic information to manage and evaluate those tools.

Gov. Ned Lamont, CT

Lamont said:  “Our pandemic here in Connecticut is all along that I-95 Metro-North corridor where we have hundreds of thousands of people going back and forth between New York and Connecticut. It is the commuter corridor for us, but it’s also the COVID corridor. Which is why it’s so important we work together thoughtfully on this. Listen to the experts, as you say, and make sure you do not pull the trigger too early. I’m looking over at Japan, and Hong Kong, and Singapore, and those places have unfortunately seen a small resurgence, the second half of the V coming back again. That would be so demoralizing for our economy. So that is why what we do, I want to do on a coordinated basis, have a database that we share, establish the same protocols, so we know how we are working together to get the information down to Washington so they can coordinate as well. I mean, we are going to be thinking about the mix of PCR, antigens, in probably the low infection areas, in terms of testing, and probably the antibody testing in those areas where it is more prevalent so we can put together a system that allows our people to get back to work.”

Lamont said, “One thing that’s undeniable is that this virus does not stop at the border of any county, state, or country, but the impact is the same when it comes to our respective economies and healthcare systems. Working as a regional coalition to make the right decisions will lead to the best public health results for all of our residents. We must solve these problems together.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, NY

Cuomo said, “We have been collaborating closely with our neighboring states to combat this pandemic through a uniform approach to social distancing and density reduction and it has been working well. Now it is time to start opening the valve slowly and carefully while watching the infection rate meter so we don’t trigger a second wave of new infections. This is not a light switch that we can just flick on and everything goes back to normal–we have to come up with a smart, consistent strategy to restart the systems we shut down and get people back to work, and to the extent possible we want to do that through a regional approach because we are a regional economy. New York is partnering with these five states to create a multi-state council that will come up with a framework based on science and data to gradually ease the stay at home restrictions and get our economy back up and running.”

Other key Cuomo quotes:

  • “Everyone is very anxious to get out of the house, get back to work, get the economy moving. Everyone agrees with that. What the art form is going to be here is doing that smartly and doing that productively and doing that in a coordinated way.”
  • “No other state has done it before so it is one step forward after research and consultation with experts. I am not a public health expert but this has to be informed by experts and by data. You take one step forward and you see how it works and then you measure the next step. To the extent we can do that together that is the best course.”
Gov. Phil Murphy, NJ

Murphy said, “No one has given more thought or is more eager to restart our economy than I am, but if we don’t get the sequencing right, we put more lives at risk. The only path to a sustainable economic recovery is through a strong healthcare recovery. Then, and only then, do we position ourselves to fully ignite our economy and get the residents of our state back to work while minimizing the danger of this disease. A coordinated, regional approach, informed by a multi-state council of experts, will help us avoid a major setback with potentially disastrous consequences. I look forward to the day when the facts on the ground allow us to ease our restrictions and move our regional economy forward.”

Gov. Gina Raimondo, RI

Raimondo said, “States are taking the lead as we fight to slow the spread of coronavirus and save lives. I’m proud of the steps we’ve taken, and I’m constantly thinking about what it will take to safely reopen our economy. But we know that this virus does not recognize borders, and it’s clear we need a strong, coordinated regional approach to avoid a second wave of this disease. I’m grateful to my fellow governors for their leadership during this crisis and I’m confident that this new partnership will support our efforts to get Rhode Islanders–and all Americans–back to work safely.”

Gov. Tom Wolf, PA

Pennsylvania’s Wolf said, “Our highest priority remains protecting the health and safety of Pennsylvanians. While my administration continues to take critical steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, I also recognize that we must look ahead and take a measured, careful approach to prepare for the future while ensuring that we don’t undo all of our efforts. Pennsylvania will work collaboratively with our partners both in state and in surrounding states to develop a comprehensive strategy that first focuses on health but also addresses the need to gradually restore our economy.”

Gov. John Carney, DE

Carney of Deleware said, “We still have a situation in Delaware that is getting worse. Infections of COVID-19 and hospitalizations are rising. Delawareans should stay home. Don’t go out in public unnecessarily. Don’t visit Delaware unless you need to see a doctor, or care for a family member. You’ll only increase everyone’s risk. At the same time, we need to look forward. We need a consistent approach for moving our states out of this crisis when that day comes. I’m grateful for the partnership of my fellow Governors in the region. They are all working around-the-clock to prevent surges in COVID-19 cases, protect hospital capacity for the most critically-ill patients, and save lives. We’ll get through this by working together.”