Coronavirus in CT: Gov. Lamont Joins Six Other States to Announce COVID-19 Reopening Task Force

To date, more than 12,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus and 554 Connecticut residents have died from COVID-19 associated deaths

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What to Know

  • Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Delaware will form a joint task force to plan for reopening the economy
  • The task force will begin work immediately with no date set to reopen non-essential businesses, which have been closed in Connecticut since March 23
  • More than 12,000 people have tested positive in Connecticut for COVID-19 and more than 550 residents have died from the illness or related complications

Governor Ned Lamont, along with the governors from New York, Rhode Island, and several other Northeast states, introduced the next steps towards reopening the state from the recent coronavirus closures.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a joint task force between his state, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Delaware. Governor Lamont announced later Monday afternoon that Massachusetts had also joined the partnership.

Each state will name a public health official, economic development official, and chief of staff to serve on a working group, which will start work as soon as Tuesday to begin designing a reopening plan.

Connecticut will be represented on the task force by Indra Nooyi, the former chairwoman and CEO of Pepsi; Dr. Albert Ko from the Yale School of Medicine; and Paul Mounds, the governor's chief of staff.

Nooyi and Ko will also co-chair a new "Reopen CT Advisory Group," which Lamont announced Monday. The governor said more members of the board will be named this week.

"As a long-term resident of Connecticut and someone who loves this state deeply, I am proud to co-chair this group to restart our economy," Nooyi said in a press release. "Companies and workers are desperate to get back to normal operations and contribute to our economic growth.

Scott Gottlieb, a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, will also be one of the board members.

"As a public health professional, it is a privilege to serve as a co-chair of this group and to identify solutions that will enable us to reopen the economy and ensure the safety of our communities, especially those most vulnerable, such as the elderly and the underprivileged,” Ko said,

The group will be governed by AdvanceCT, a nonprofit organization focused on economic competitiveness in Connecticut.

Governor Cuomo said an economic restart must be approached as a regional issue "any plan to reopen society must be driven by data and experts, not opinion and politics."

"I don’t believe we wind up with a fully common strategy. You have different states in different positions," Cuomo said.

Lamont said he wants to make sure not to rush to reopen the state too quickly, which could lead to a surge in new cases.

We have to "make sure you don't pull the trigger too early," the governor said.

There is no deadline for the multi-state task force to deliver a reopening plan, but Cuomo said it must be "within weeks".

"We want it ASAP, but we want it smart," Cuomo said.

Lamont said "working together makes the most sense."

"What we do, I want to do on a coordinated basis," he said.

Governor Lamont raised concern about the reopening of the transportation corridor along I-95.

"It's the commuter corridor for us, but it's also the COVID corridor," he said.

Eager to reopen the country by May 1, NBC News reports, President Donald Trump asserted Monday that he is the ultimate decision-maker for determining how and when to relax the nation's social distancing guidelines.

Trump tweeted some are "saying that it is the Governors decision to open up the states, not that of the President of the United States & the Federal Government. Let it be fully understood that this is is the decision of the President, and for many good reasons.”

In response to Trump's assertion, Cuomo said, "I would say let’s see what the federal government's plan is. Governor Wolf's plan is right - [Trump] left it to the states to close down."

Earlier on Monday, in his daily press conference, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the curve of new coronavirus cases in New York state has flattened showing the state is in or approaching a plateau.

Governor Cuomo said an announcement would come at 2 p.m. Monday focused on a regional approach to reopen states, although, he said, "any plan to reopen society must be driven by data and experts, not opinion and politics."

Governor Lamont has previously said that he would want to work closely with the governors of New York and New Jersey on a reopening plan and timeline.

Lamont closed non-essential businesses in the state beginning March 23. He recently signed another executive order requiring those businesses to remain closed until at least May 20, along with schools across the state.

Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano sent a letter Monday to Lamont urging the governor to consult with the state legislature before committing to any decision made in conjunction with the other states"

"I am glad to see you taking a step toward discussing how to relax regulations and reopen businesses in our state when safe to do so," Fasano wrote in his letter. "More than anything, we need a plan that is tailored to Connecticut and that reflects input from Connecticut residents and regions across the state. We need much more than a one-size-fits-all approach."

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