- California, Washington, and Oregon have developed a joint regional plan to re-open state economies as the COVID-19 public health emergency grips the nation.
- Each state will have individual reopening plans, but according to state leaders, large-scale reopening efforts will only move forward if the rate of the spread of the virus declines.
- The news comes as the state of California enters the fourth week of its stay-at-home order implemented on March 19. Oregon and Washington followed suit on March 23.
- New York is included in a similar plan on the East Coast alongside states including New Jersey and Connecticut.
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California, Washington, and Oregon have formed a “Western States Pact” that will see the three states working together on a reopening plan for loosening stay-at-home order restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are announcing that California, Oregon, and Washington have agreed to work together on a shared approach for reopening our economies – one that identifies clear indicators for communities to restart public life and business,” according to a statement released jointly on behalf of governors of all three states.
The statement stressed that state leaders would need to see a decline in the rate of the spread of the disease before large-scale reopening and that each state is also building a state-specific plan.
Newsom tweeted on Monday that the “West Coast is guided by science. We issued stay at home orders early to keep the public healthy. We’ll open our economies with that same guiding principle.”
—Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) April 13, 2020
The joint statement also announced that a greater focus would be made on protecting vulnerable populations and disadvantaged communities.
Gov. Newsom will announce more details regarding California’s specific reopening plan on Tuesday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also announced a similar effort Monday that is being developed in partnership with New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
The news comes as unemployment rates continue to climb across the country as city shutdowns bar nonessential businesses from operating, resulting in layoffs.
The state of California is also on week 4 of a stay-at-home order to contain the coronavirus disease, which was issued just two days after the San Francisco Bay Area entered its own.
The Bay Area region has garnered national attention for its early social distancing measures taken in mid-March. Some health experts say that the region is indeed succeeding in “flattening the curve,” or stalling the spread of the disease by restricting human contact throughout the city to prevent the healthcare system from being overwhelmed. However, California also has a sizeable backlog of pending test results.
Other parts of the US followed suit with enforcing stay-at-home orders, and now they’re looking to the Bay Area and the state of California as a whole for guidance on how to respond to the virus and also for some indication of when life could return to normal.
Regardless of what some say is a success on behalf of California in keeping case counts down, public health officials and city leaders continue to stress the importance of heeding the stay-at-home order and social distancing measures in keeping the spread of the virus at bay. Relaxing those restrictions prematurely could exacerbate the spread of the disease.
There are 24,029 confirmed cases of the virus in California, with 721 reported deaths.