BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, says any decision about reopening the economy must include the perspective of the evolving coronavirus.
“One of the things that is a top priority for me is to make sure when we go forward that we’re keeping an eye on the virus and we’re also focusing on the economy and getting America back to work,” said Reed, during an interview with News 4. “We have to do that as soon as possible.”
Reed says he knows the virus is devastating and can take people’s lives. He says that requires a healthy respect.
“As we go into opening up the economy, we’re going to have to have the surveillance necessary when it comes to testing,” he said.
He says the projections on the economy are “devastating,” and that he prefers getting people back to work sooner rather than later.
Reed thinks a gradual reopening could happen next month, if not sooner. But he says that needs to include surveillance with trip wires.
“As we open up the country on a regional basis, and I do believe, and I do support the regional type of approach. Not a one size fits all,” Reed added.
Governor Cuomo said Monday that New York State will join with other states, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island, to create a multi-state council to restore the economy and get people back to work.
“The coordinating group – comprised of one health expert, one economic development expert and the respective Chief of Staff from each state — will work together to develop a fully integrated regional framework to gradually lift the states’ stay at home orders while minimizing the risk of increased spread of the virus,” according to a statement released by the governor’s office Monday.
“Everyone is very anxious to get out of the house, get back to work, get the economy moving. Everyone agrees with that. What the art form is going to be here is doing that smartly and doing that productively and doing that in a coordinated way, doing that in coordination with the other states that are in the area and doing it as a cooperative effort where we learn from each other and we share information and we share resources and we share intelligence,” Cuomo said.
On the issue of collaboration, Reed says he’d like to see all elected officials involved in the process.
He told News 4 that he’s still waiting for Cuomo to call.
“I’ve given my cell phone number to the governor like 30 times over the last three years to talk to me. And at least 20 times in the last three weeks, and I’ve yet to have one call with the governor,” Reed said.
“I don’t know why you can’t pick up a phone and have a conversation, return a call when I’m a member representing essentially 700,000 people, 3 million people in an area if you go with the daily calls we’re having from Buffalo to Rochester, Jamestown and Binghamton,” Reed added. “So, if he is really going to have the collaborative approach, that should be for everybody. Not just the governors, but all the elected officials so that we’re all working together.”
There’s been no immediate response from Cuomo’s office concerning Reed’s comments.
During a live interview Monday on News 4 at 5, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul was asked whether Western New York leaders would be included in decisions to reopen businesses.
“This is absolutely a statewide effort,” Hochul said. “It’s not only about, talking about New York City at all.”
“The entire state was shutdown at the same time. The schools were closed at the same time. So, it makes sense to bring them back around the same time,” she added.