NY, others developing post-coronavirus economic restart plan

NJ, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island also on board

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New York and five neighboring states will develop a plan to reopen the regional economy following a weeks-long shutdown to contend with the coronavirus pandemic, state governors said at a press briefing Monday.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled the strategy as part of a virtual conference call with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, Delaware Gov. John Carney and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo. The working group will consist of three officials from each participating state – a public health expert, an economic development expert and the governor’s chief of staff.

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“We should start looking forward to ‘reopening,’ but reopening with a plan and a smart plan because if you do it wrong, it can backfire,” Cuomo said. “We’ve seen that in other places on the globe. Everyone is very anxious to get out of the house, get back to work, get the economy moving. Everyone agrees with that, but the art form is going to be doing that smartly and doing that productively and doing that in a coordinated way.”

The group will begin work immediately on the plan with an eye toward the gradual easement of restrictions on businesses, public transportation and residents. The governors did not provide a definitive timeline as to when a plan will be ready or when the reopening could proceed.

With each state at different stages in their fights against the pandemic and economic challenges specific to their locales, Cuomo said the group’s discussions would not yield a strategy that would uniformly apply to all states. Instead, the group will coordinate to ensure that no state’s efforts to restart public life and economic development were counterproductive to the region’s overall recovery.

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Cuomo said state officials would share information and research on the pandemic to inform decisions.

“This has to be informed by experts and by data,” Cuomo said. “You take one step forward, you see how it works and then you measure the next step. And to the extent that we can do that together, that is the best course.”

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Earlier Monday, Cuomo said that New York has begun to see a plateau in COVID-19 cases. New York has reported more confirmed cases than any other U.S. state.

Federal and state officials have begun examining ways to re-open the economy following the sustained shutdown, which has weighed on U.S. markets and resulted in millions of layoffs.

President Trump is set to convene a group of business experts to develop a timeline for an economic restart. Further details on the group’s composition are expected Tuesday.

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