What to Know
- A number of governors from the Northeast, including those of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, are coordinating efforts to reopen the region safely and strategically
- It is too soon to tell when restrictions will be lifted and a regional opening will take place
- Each state will assign a public health official and an economic development official to the task force. The group will also include the chief of staff of each governor
United by an unprecedented pandemic that has forced the region into a standstill, a number of governors from the Northeast, including those of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, are coordinating efforts to reopen the region safely and strategically -- although no one knows when the opening will take place.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo welcomed governors of New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Delaware during a press conference to announce a joint task force designed to develop a plan to reopen the regional economy.
"We have never been in this position, but that does not mean that you cannot guarantee public confidence that you are doing everything possible to do it in an intelligent, informed way -- guided by experts and data and science and not politically," he said.
Each state, according to Cuomo, will assign a public health official and an economic development official to the task force. The group will also include the chief of staff of each governor.
The appointees also include a health expert and an economic development expert from each state, officials said. Click here to see the members of each state's council.
"Those officials and the chief of staff of the governor of each state will then form a working group that will start work immediately in designing a reopening plan taking into consideration the public health concerns and issues and the economic reactivation issues and concerns," Cuomo said.
Cuomo said an economic restart must be approached as a regional issue "any plan to reopen society must be driven by data and experts, not opinion and politics."
Earlier in the day, Cuomo said the working in unison with the neighboring states "is smarter for everyone -- for people of their state and for the people of my state. And, this is a time for smart, competent, effective government. Nothing else matters. I want to say to the people of this state we did everything we could to the best of our ability."
Creating a coordinated development plan, however, may not produce identical actions plans for each state.
"I don’t believe we wind up with a fully common strategy. You have different states in different positions," Cuomo said.
Meanwhile, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy called the states' union "prudent".
"Whenever it is that we determine based on the facts, the data, the science that it is safe for us to responsibly begin the reopening, and all the healthcare infrastructure that goes with that, to do that in coordination [with the other states] seems to be an overwhelmingly prudent approach," he said.
The New Jersey leader also shared similar sentiments as Cuomo.
"We do know this: an economic recovery only occurs on the back of a complete healthcare recovery," he said.
"This is the fight of our lives, let there be no doubt about it. We are not out of the woods yet. Opening ourselves back up will be equally challenging without a shadow of a doubt," Murphy went on to say.
For his part, Connecticut Gov. Led Lamont said: "We all slowly closed down, methodically, parts of our economy in a way that we tried to mitigate the effects of the contagion. We are going to be thoughtful about how we get this opened, as well."
During the press conference to announce the task force, Cuomo urged additional states to join.
Hours later, Lamont announced via his Twitter account that Massachusetts joined the task force.
Eager to reopen the country by May 1, NBC News reports, President Donald Trump asserted Monday that the power to ease social distancing guidelines falls under his authority.
Trump tweeted some are "saying that it is the Governors decision to open up the states, not that of the President of the United States & the Federal Government. Let it be fully understood that this is incorrect...it is the decision of the President, and for many good reasons.”
In response to Trump's assertion, Cuomo said, "I would say let’s see what the federal government's plan is. [Pennsylvania] Governor [Tom] Wolf's plan is right -- [Trump] left it to the states to close down."
The multistate group of officials will begin working on their plans as soon as Tuesday, Cuomo said.