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A seven-state Midwest coalition will closely coordinate the reopening of the regional economy when the threat of the coronavirus subsidies.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is partnering on the effort with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear.
Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky dominate the U.S. automotive industry with several assembly plants and thousands of parts suppliers, along with R&D and other logistical support operations.
“Phasing in sectors of our economy will be most effective when we work together as a region,” the governors said in a joint statement. “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.”
The seven governors said their criteria for loosening stay-at-home orders will examine hospital system capacity, “sustained control of the rate of new infections and hospitalizations,” a better ability to test for and trace COVID-19 infections and workplace social distancing best practices.
“Our number one priority when analyzing when best to reopen our economy is the health and safety of our citizens,” the governors said. “We will make decisions based on facts, science, and recommendations from experts in health care, business, labor, and education.”
The coalition of Midwest states mirrors similar coordinated efforts among Northeast and West Coast states to resume work in certain industries and daily activities.
Crain’s Detroit Business, an affiliate publication of Automotive News, first reported Tuesday on Whitmer’s involvement in talks with Pritzker about a regional strategy for reopening the economy of Great Lakes states. Holcomb said Tuesday he had been in talks with DeWine and Beshear about a coordinated reopening of neighboring economies.