Connecticut is collaborating with six Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to develop guidelines and recommendations for reactivating the regional economy.

Gov. Ned Lamont joined the governors of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania on an April 13 conference call announcing the regional approach to the coronavirus pandemic recovery.

Collaboration: Gov. Ned Lamont pictured with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo last year.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced later that day his state will also participate in the initiative to develop an integrated regional framework to lift stay at home orders while protecting public health.

"The plan has to fit the facts and the circumstances," said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. "We will be guided by science and facts and not by politics.

"You need the best public safety program and you need the best economic reactivation program. You can't have one without the other."

Lamont also called for a gradual approach, saying "it's critical that we don't pull the trigger too quickly."

"We need to put together a testing system so we can get our people back to work," he said. "And working together makes the most sense."

Regional Coalition

The governors said they would listen to guidance from the federal government but would ultimately decide when to reopen their economies.

"This is about being smart," Cuomo said on the call. "Not political, but smart."

"Every state makes its own decisions," Lamont added.

"You need the best public safety program and you need the best economic reactivation program. You can't have one without the other."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

"Working as a regional coalition to make the right decisions will lead to the best public health results for all our citizens."

Each state will be represented by a business leader, a health expert, and the respective governor's chief of staff.

Advisory Group

Lamont announced that his chief of staff, Paul Mounds, former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, and Albert Ko, professor of epidemiology and medicine and a department chair at the Yale School of Public Health, will represent Connecticut.

Ko and Nooyi will also cochair the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group, a panel of business leaders and medical experts created by Lamont to steer Connecticut's path toward reopening.

Lamont also appointed bioethicist and oncologist Ezekiel Emanuel and former U.S. Food and Drug Administration head Scott Gottlieb to the advisory group.

Additional appointments will be announced later this week.

"Companies and workers are desperate to get back to normal operations and contribute to our economic growth," Nooyi said.

"Our goal is to devise an appropriate and thoughtful plan for all public officials to carefully consider public health outcomes and economic and social costs going forward."

Extension

The regional collaboration announcement came three days after Lamont signed an executive order extending the state's shutdown from April 22 to May 20.

"We need to make sure that Connecticut has a thoughtful approach to getting our state moving after this unprecedented global public health emergency." Lamont said Monday.

"We must strike a balance between public health and the economy."

We want to see businesses open and employees bringing home paychecks as soon as possible. But the challenge of doing this safely is enormous."

CBIA's Joe Brennan

Newspapers around the state published an opinion article April 14 written by CBIA president and CEO Joe Brennan that called for a balanced, collaborative approach to reopening the state's economy.

"We want to see these businesses open and their employees bringing home paychecks as soon as possible," Brennan wrote. "But the challenge of doing this safely is enormous.

"If we move forward with proper engagement from all stakeholders and bipartisan cooperation among policymakers, we will reopen our economy as safely, successfully, and quickly as possible."