6 States to Coordinate Region’s Reopening

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo – along with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and the governors of Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island – today led a telephone press conference announcing a regionally coordinated approach for eventually reopening their respective states’ economies.

Cuomo said New York has reached a “plateau” in which COVID-19 cases are not decreasing, but rather are not increasing at the rate they had been. He spoke of a time to “start looking forward to reopening,” with a plan that is “smart,” coordinated and cooperative – and that includes sharing information, resources and intelligence.

He additionally said that while the six states would coordinate, he did not foresee “a fully common strategy” due to the states’ differing COVID-19 scenarios.

Cuomo said each state will name a public health official and economic development official, adding that those individuals will collaborate with each state’s chief of staff to form a “working group that will start work immediately on designing a reopening plan, taking into consideration public health concerns and issues, and economic reactivation issues and concerns.

“[They will] study the data, study the research [and] study the experiences of other countries [to give us] guidelines and parameters to go forward.”

New Jersey

Murphy told reporters that New Jersey’s COVID-19 cases have “not yet plateaued,” adding that “our positive tests have begun to flatten, but we’re not yet there.”

He additionally cautioned against “transposing” opening the economy before the public health crisis properly abates, adding, “Whenever it is that we determine – based on the facts, data and science – that is safe for us to responsibly begin the reopening (and all the healthcare infrastructure that goes with it) … doing that in a coordinated way seems to be an overwhelmingly prudent approach, and we are honored to be very much a part of this group (the multi-state effort).”

New Jersey’s Public Health

In the last 24 hours, New Jersey reported 3,219 new COVID-19 positive test results for a cumulative statewide total of 64,584. An additional 94 deaths were also reported in the past 24 hours, for a total of 2,443 COVID-19 fatalities since the pandemic first struck the Garden State.

Of note, Murphy said the latter figure exceeds total New Jersey fatalities from the Korean and Vietnam wars, combined.

New Jersey’s Economy

Underscoring the crisis’ economic severity, businesses this morning flooded the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (NJEDA’s) website and applied for $10 million offered to businesses within approximately 30 minutes. New Jersey’s unemployed residents likewise have had difficulties accessing the state’s online services due to aging mainframe computer systems.

Experts say stimulating the economy is not merely a matter of permitting businesses to reopen: Consumers will likely want to feel physically safe while shopping and additionally possess the money to do so; both are arguably difficult to achieve given the coronavirus’ highly contagious nature – and many residents’ imperiled financial conditions.

Governor Phil Murphy also signed Executive Order No. 126 today, “prohibiting cable and telecommunications providers from terminating Internet and voice service due to nonpayment until 30 days after the current public health emergency has ended.” A complete copy of executive order No. 126 may be found here.

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