Shortly after revealing that Ohio would begin the process of reopening its economy on May 1, Governor Mike DeWine confirmed that he's working alongside other Midwest governors to work on the reopening of the region's economy amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“I talk to other governors a lot, "DeWine said. "We are working with Indiana and Kentucky. The three states have a lot in common. We are also working with the Great Lakes governors. Informal. I can’t speak to what other governors are going to do.”
On Thursday, DeWine, along with the governors of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky had formed a partnership aimed at working together to reopen the economy. In a joint statement, the governors said:
“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.
“We will closely examine at least these four factors when determining when best to reopen our 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.”
As of Thursday, Ohio has had 8,414 confirmed coronavirus cases, 2,331 of which have resulted in hospitalization, 707 ICU admissions and 388 deaths. Dating back to the discovery of Ohio's first positive coronavirus case on March 9, DeWine has put a number of measures in place to encourage physical distancing in place, including a stay-at-home order that is currently in effect until May 1.