“Well, seeing as we had the responsibility for closing the state down,” Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania said, “I think we probably have the primary responsibility for opening it up.”
He joined the governors of Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island on a conference call, where they agreed to create a committee of public health officials, economic development officials and their chiefs of staff to work together as they decide when to ease the restrictions they have put in place to slow the spread of the virus. They said they did not necessarily expect to act together or to create a one-size-fits-all solution, but they stressed the need for regional cooperation.
On the West Coast, the governors of California, Oregon and Washington also announced Monday what they called a Western States Pact to work together on a joint approach to reopening economies. They said that while each state would have its own specific plan, the states would build out a West Coast strategy that would include how to control the virus in the future. “Our states will only be effective by working together,” they said in a joint statement.
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California said on Monday that he had been in discussions with the other governors to coordinate efforts on the West Coast. He said that on Tuesday he would outline the “California-based thinking” on reopening and promised it would be guided by “facts,” “evidence” and “science.”
The stay-at-home orders that have kept a vast majority of Americans indoors were issued state by state, by their governors. The president did issue nonbinding guidelines urging a pause in daily life through the end of the month; in some states that had resisted such measures, including Florida, his input helped spur governors to act. If the federal government were to issue new guidance saying it was safe to relax those measures or outlining a path toward reopening, many states would most likely follow or feel tremendous pressure from their businesses and constituents to relax restrictions.
But Mr. Trump, who said Friday that the decision of when to reopen the country would be the biggest he would ever make, said Monday on Twitter that it was up to the president, not the governors, to decide when to reopen the states.
“A decision by me, in conjunction with the Governors and input from others, will be made shortly!” he wrote.