Bipartisan governors group including DeWine urges pandemic safety as holidays approach

Screenshot of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine appearing in a bipartisan Midwestern governors "Mask Up" video.

Michigan Gov. Whitmer joined other Democratic governors for a virtual press conference to encourage everyone in the Midwest to stay safe during the holiday season as COVID-19 cases in the region are skyrocketing.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers were part of the event.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, both Republicans, were not present at the virtual conference, but they have joined the group of mostly Midwest governors who are urging residents to stay safe.

All governors present seemed to be on the same page: The holidays cannot be the same this year.

“For eight months, the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated American families everywhere. To fight this virus, governors across the country have listened to medical experts, stepped up, and worked around the clock to protect our families, the brave men and women on the front lines, and our small business owners. And no matter the action we take, we understand that our fight against COVID-19 will be more effective when we work together,” the governors said in a press release.

“That is why this group of bipartisan governors is joining forces today to urge families across our region, and Americans everywhere, to do their part to protect themselves and their families from the spread of COVID-19. When it comes to fighting this virus, we are all on the same team.”

DeWine said in the above video it’s important now more than ever that we double down on mask wearing and physical distancing to get through the winter and protect frontline workers such as doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, and truck drivers.

Whitmer said at the news conference that although they might not see eye to eye on every single issue, this group of governors are “all on the same team” when it comes to protecting people during this pandemic.

She said she hopes families get creative this Thanksgiving and meet virtually rather than in person.

“Each and every one of us that chooses to stay home this Thanksgiving and not get together can be contributing to saving other people’s lives and our own, and protecting our family members,” Whitmer said at the press conference.

Over the past month, COVID-19 cases have skyrocketed across the Midwest. In Michigan, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are increasing rapidly, with cases nearing 265,000 and the death toll topping 8,000. Medical experts are advising people not to host Thanksgiving with people from outside of their households.

The governors each addressed residents of their region and mentioned how they can protect their loved ones, frontline workers, small businesses owners and others from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governors also expressed concern about the rising of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in their states.

“The Midwest is now the epicenter of the biggest COVID-19 surge to date,” Pritzker said. “Here in Illinois … we are ready to take action to protect families and small businesses going into the holidays. To accomplish this, everyone all across our state will need to step up and be all in.”

Beshear said the next few months will be difficult, and it’s important for everyone to stay safe and protect others to prevent COVID-19 from spreading further.

“None of this war can be won without everybody being a part; it takes each of us because our lives are connected, our health is connected, our economy is connected to those decisions,” Beshear said.

Evers said staying home and following COVID-19 restrictions and precautions is a great way to show those you love that you care about them.

“This Thanksgiving is going to look different than others have before and that’s because it has to,” Whitmer said.

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Katie O'Brien Kelley
Katie O'Brien Kelley is a reporter for Michigan Advance. O'Brien Kelley is a Michigan State University graduate with degrees in journalism and theatre. She was previously a reporter, editor and podcast coordinator at The State News — Michigan State's award-winning student paper. As a reporter there, she covered the university's administration, including its mishandling of reports against former doctor Larry Nassar's abuse, as well as academics and student experiences. She was also previously an intern at the Lansing City Pulse.