By MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — Several Midwestern governors have come together to urge residents to be careful this holiday season, as COVID-19 surges across the region.
In a video posted to YouTube on Tuesday, the governors of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin joined together in the bipartisan message.
“As we head into the holiday season and the cold winter months, we wanted to take a moment to talk to our families in our region about how you can protect your loved ones and our front-line workers, as well as our small business owners, from COVID-19 and the pandemic,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said at the top of the 2 1/2-minute PSA.
The governors acknowledged the encouraging news from Pfizer last week, that an early analysis showed its COVID-19 vaccine appears to be at least 90% effective against the virus. But that “doesn’t mean we can let our guard down,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said, since the vaccine will take time to distribute.
“It’s more important now than ever that we double down on mask-wearing and physical distancing to help more people get through the winter and protect the brave men and women serving on the front lines of this crisis,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said.
With Thanksgiving approaching, the governors reminded residents to follow health protocols, such as getting a flu shot and adhering to social distancing, frequent handwashing and mask-wearing. One governor — Tony Evers of Wisconsin — even sported a mask in the video.
“All of these measures are crucial if we want to keep our small businesses and our schools open,” said Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz.
Several of the governors featured in the video recently announced new restrictions in response to the increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in their states.
On Tuesday, Ohio’s DeWine announced a three-week overnight curfew, and a new health order limiting socializing at banquet facilities also went into effect. Last week, he strengthened the state’s mask mandate.
In Illinois, cultural institutions, event spaces and casinos will temporarily close and major retail stores will have reduced capacity starting Friday, Pritzker announced on Tuesday.
Earlier this week, Whitmer announced that a three-week pause on indoor dining, some in-person learning and other activities will go into effect Wednesday in Michigan.
New restrictions on crowd sizes in high-risk counties went into effect in Indiana on Sunday, and last week Evers issued an order advising Wisconsinites to stay home.
Minnesota’s Walz and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear have also warned that new restrictions may be coming in their states.
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