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Neb, Wyo, SD Governors All Plan Their Own Timelines For Reopening

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says she’s anxious to see businesses up and running in the state, but on her timeline and not that of President Donald Trump.

The President held a conference call with the nation’s governors on Thursday to roll out his recommendations on reopening the country.

The Republican governor told a Friday news conference that guidance from the White House on reopening is “helpful” but that she “will still make decisions that are best for our state.” Health officials don’t expect COVID-19 cases in South Dakota to peak in mid-June.

Although Noem hasn’t ordered businesses to close or issued a statewide stay-at-home order like most other governors, she has stressed that people should take precautions to slow the spread of the disease “several more weeks.”

Nebraska Gov Pete Ricketts, another Republican, told his daily coronavirus update, much the same – saying he may take the same regional approach to lifting social distancing restrictions as he did when tightening them in the first place. The current limits expire April 30.

Ricketts said he’ll follow a phased-in, “one step at a time” approach to avoid another flare-up of the virus. Nebraska’s statewide social distancing mandates are in place until at least April 30.

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon says testing ability and statistics rather than a schedule will determine when places ordered closed to limit the spread of the coronavirus will be allowed to reopen.

Gordon, also a Republican, has prohibited gatherings of 10 or more people and ordered the closure of schools and many types of businesses through the end of the month.

Gordon hasn’t said whether he would extend that date or when on the calendar he might begin lifting restrictions, only that his decision on reopening won’t be “date-driven” so much as “data-driven” even though Wyoming still doesn’t have enough capacity to test for coronavirus to meet that goal.

Nebraska 3rd District GOP Congressman Adrian Smith says he’s supportive of the President’s efforts to get the economy moving again as soon as possible, but adds it must be based on the best information available.

Smith said in a conference call with Nebraska reporters that it’s very important the decisions on how to best loosen the current restrictions across the country to be made in light of data that seems to be changing on a daily basis.

Smith said even as the President has been pushing for getting the economy going again, he believes Mr. Trump is mindful that the nation is a large country in which the impacts vary widely from state to state, and city to city.