Cuomo Announces Multi-State Economic Recovery Task Force


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo held a press conference today with the governors of Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania to announce a joint council that will plan to slowly reopen the economies of all six states after the coronavirus pandemic devastated the tri-state area.

Each state will send one health expert, one economic development official and its governor’s chief of staff to the task force, and the group will “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,” according to a press release from the governor’s office. Cuomo made his announcement by hosting a teleconference with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Delaware Gov. John Carney. Later in the day Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker also said he would join, according to Cuomo’s office.

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Cuomo said during a separate press conference this morning that New York’s plan to re-open its economy would include loosening isolation measures, “recalibrating the essential worker economy,” widespread antibody testing and taking the temperatures of employees, all while trying not to increase the infection rate. The state’s rates of positive cases and hospitalizations have begun to plateau, but New York State now has the world’s largest reported coronavirus outbreak at 195,031 positive cases with 10,056 deaths.

“Everyone is very anxious to get out of the house, get back to work, get the economy moving,” the governor said during this afternoon’s briefing. “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, doing that in coordination with the other states that are in the area.”

Although all seven governors stopped short of directly addressing President Donald Trump, many of them emphasized the importance of making sure the rate of new coronavirus infections had slowed before re-opening the economy. The president has repeatedly pushed for reopening the economy nationwide — first by Easter and now by May 1 — even as thousands continue to die from COVID-19 in viral hotspots like New York, New Jersey and Michigan. The president even tweeted this morning that it was up to him, not state governors, to decide when to reopen the economy.

“We do know that an economic recovery only occurs on the back of a complete health care recovery and that order is essential,” said New Jersey Gov. Murphy. “And getting that wrong, transposing those steps or jumping in too early, or maybe jumping in by ourselves … you could have inadvertent unintended consequences, which could be grave.”

Gov. Raimondo of Rhode Island said that her new economic crisis team was looking at how people could be screened while entering buildings, touchless technology and “doing a deep-dive, industry by industry, on new guidelines for this new normal.”

Connecticut Gov. Lamont noted that “all of 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.”