April 13, 2020
Leaders from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware will be part of a regional council working on a plan to reopen the economy after the coronavirus pandemic. New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island are also part of the panel, which was unveiled by the governors of all seven states on Monday.
The 21-person panel will consist of three people from each state: the governor's chief of staff, a public health expert and an economic development expert. The council will consider options for reopening the region's economy that adhere to public health concerns and minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
"While my administration continues to take critical steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said. "I also recognize that we must look ahead and take a measured, careful approach to prepare for the future while ensuring that we don't undo all of our efforts."
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said getting businesses back open has to be done carefully or lives will be put at risk.
"The only path to a sustainable economic recovery is through a strong health care recovery. Then, and only then, do we position ourselves to fully ignite our economy and get the residents of our state back to work while minimizing the danger of this disease," Murphy said. "A coordinated, regional approach, informed by a multi-state council of experts, will help us avoid a major setback with potentially disastrous consequences. I look forward to the day when the facts on the ground allow us to ease our restrictions and move our regional economy forward."
Economic, social, and scientific data will drive the economic decisions that are made, the governors said.
Delaware Gov. John Carney noted the coronavirus outbreak in his state continues to worsen. On Monday, Delaware officials reported 136 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 1,761. Delaware had added 146 new COVID-19 patients on Sunday. So far, 41 people in the state have died from the virus.
Still, the state needs to look beyond the health crisis, Carney said.
We need a consistent approach for moving our states out of this crisis, when that day comes," the governor said. "I'm grateful for the partnership of my fellow Governors in the region. They are all working around-the-clock to prevent surges in COVID-19 cases, protect hospital capacity for the most critically-ill patients, and save lives. We'll get through this by working together.”
Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware all have instituted stay-at-home orders and ordered non-essential businesses to shut down to help mitigate the spread of the virus.
Pennsylvania reported an additional 1,366 confirmed cases of coronavirus on Monday to bring the state's total number of cases up to 24,199, which is the fifth-most of any state across the country. The commonwealth has had 524 deaths due to COVID-19.
New Jersey recorded 3,219 more cases of coronavirus on Monday to bring the state's total number of cases up to 64,584, which is the second-most of any state across the country. There have been 2,443 deaths due to COVID-19 across New Jersey.