A multi-state task force will design a plan to reopen schools and businesses in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island amid the coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday.
"We started this journey together, we're going to end it together," Cuomo said.
The governor made the announcement along with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont as well as Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, Delaware Gov. John Carney and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo.
Later Monday, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker joined the other governors, making the coalition bipartisan.
Cuomo suggested the panel could establish a regionwide strategy and states would then be responsible for setting up and enacting individual timelines, but he added the task force will be responsible for recommending such a plan.
An uncoordinated approach to reopening states' local economies could have "inadvertent, unintended" consequences, Murphy said. "If you jam it too early, you could throw gasoline on the fire and reignite the fire."
A regionwide approach to restarting the economy made even more sense, Lamont added, given the major transportation corridors that run through each state, noting coronavirus outbreaks along the Metro-North Railroad corridor.
"It's the commuter corridor for us, but it's also the COVID corridor," he said.
Lamont called for a shared database and matching protocols, and expressed an interest in coordinating with the federal government.
The task force, which is said to include three representatives from each state, is expected to begin working on the plan Tuesday. Cuomo said they do not have a timeline and emphasized the governors expect a "smart plan" not a "political plan."