Editor’s note: This story first appeared in amNewYork Metro
Governors along the northeast corridor will work in coalition to form a task force to plan out how the region will open up again once the coronavirus subsides, but no one really knows when that will be.
Governor Andrew Cuomo hosted the call with counterparts from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware where they each said the cooperation on a recovery plan would successfully prevent a COVID-19 resurgence on Monday afternoon.
Soon after the call, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced that the commonwealth would join the multi-state coalition.
Each governor will appoint a health official, an economic development official and the governor’s chief-of-staff.
Cuomo said there were frustrations with the federal government and the obscurity of what responsibility is on the federal government on opening, which has led to regions of states banding together in the case of a national emergency.
President Donald Trump commented Monday morning that it is a federal matter whether or not states open up for business once again, which Cuomo challenged as an “interesting construct” with no clarity in leadership.
“For the purpose of creating conflict and confusion, some in the Fake News Media 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,” Trump said over Twitter. “It is the decision of the President, and for many good reasons. With that being said, the Administration and I are working closely with the Governors, and this will continue. A decision by me, in conjunction with the Governors and input from others, will be made shortly!”
The president has said earlier, with dubious reactions, that he would open the economy up by Easter. But with that deadline come and gone, he now says the goal is May 1.
“He left it to the states to close down and that was a state by state decision without any guidance,” Cuomo said. “If you want to change the management model, you can do that as president; but what is the model?”
Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania said it was a “false choice” to place either the economy or public health above one another, but that in reopening the blame should not be on the White House for lack of direction.
“I don’t think we’re trying to say anything negative about anybody, we’re simply saying it was our responsibility to steer our way through these uncharted waters and it’s our responsibility to find our way back,” Wolf said.
Governor Phil Murphy stressed the urgency of the situation as trying to put “the house” back together even while it is still on fire. The next issue raised by New Jersey was coordinating opening business in accordance with schools as a matter of providing childcare to workers.
Despite what President Trump or Mayor Bill de Blasio have said about starting the economy or schools respectively, Cuomo has kept a steady hand on keeping the pace toward a new normalcy slow and with an indefinite deadline.