Courtesy of CT-N

HARTFORD, CT — Gov. Ned Lamont joined the governors of New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Delaware Monday in creating a working group to see if they can synchronize the reopening of the economy in the Northeast.

Each state will appoint a public health expert, an economic development expert and the governor’s chief of staff to a working group to start planning on how the states should reopen as the coronavirus pandemic begins to plateau in New York City.

“Working together makes the most sense,” Lamont said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a conference call with six of the seven governors that they are aware “This is not a light switch that we can just flick on and everything goes back to normal – we have to come up with a smart, consistent strategy to restart the systems we shut down and get people back to work, and to the extent possible we want to do that through a regional approach because we are a regional economy.”

Lamont said he planned to name former Pepsi Co. CEO Indra Nooyi as his economic development liaison to group. Paul Mounds Jr., Lamont’s chief of staff, and Dr. Albert Ko, the epidemiologist from Yale University will also be part of the group.

“There’s nothing worse than a false start,” Lamont said. “What that would do to confidence and what that would do to a sense of hope.”

However, not every state is in the same place when it comes to the COVID-19 outbreak. Furthermore, within each state there are counties with more cases and more rural counties with fewer.

Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, asked Lamont to consult with legislative leaders before reaching any decision that would impact the state of Connecticut.

“While conversations with neighboring governors are important, it is equally important to have similar robust conversations with Connecticut lawmakers,” Fasano said in a letter. “It also important to make sure there is communication with the governors of states that border our eastern and northern counties.”

He asked Lamont not to commit Connecticut to follow the actions of other states with no room for modification.

“While a multi-state approach is appropriate for some measures, we also need flexibility and should not be limited in what actions we can take based on decisions made by other governors,” Fasano wrote.

Lamont maintained that he would continue to be “collaborative” in his approach.

“I talk to the legislative leaders with some frequency,” Lamont said. “I know some of them feel a great urgency to hurry up and get this economy going.”

The small-business community has been sounding the alarm over the need to quickly reopen their business.

“This health crisis can cause sickness and death, and it must be addressed, but the risks from the economic crisis are extremely serious too,” Andrew Markowski, state director of NFIB in Connecticut. “If we don’t save these small businesses that employ around half of the workers in the state, and contribute about half of the state’s GDP, we will have financial and emotional devastation among workers and their families.”

Lamont has said repeatedly that he’s going to leave the decision to re-open to the public health experts because he doesn’t want a second wave of infections.

Connecticut COVID-19 Briefing – 4 p.m. – April 13, 2020

@GovNedLamont is expected to give a briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic today at 4 p.m.

Posted by CTNewsJunkie on Monday, April 13, 2020