Advisory Group: June ‘Earliest’ Date for Reopening

Issues & Policies

Connecticut will not begin reopening until June at the earliest, two key Lamont administration advisers suggested April 23.

Public health safeguards will be the key factors guiding the reopening process, they told a coronavirus pandemic media briefing.

Public health focus: Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group chair Indra Nooyi speaking April 23.

“We are never, ever, not going to focus on public health,” said Indra Nooyi, cochair of Gov. Lamont’s Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group.

The former PepsiCo CEO is leading the advisory panel with Albert Ko, professor of epidemiology and medicine and a department chair at the Yale School of Public Health.

“We need a robust detection and surveillance system to inform us and guide us,” Ko said.

“We need to prevent the surge that all of our hospitals went through in the last couple of months.”


Nooyi said the group is targeting May 20 to present Lamont with recommendations and options for a gradual, stepped approach for reactivating the economy.

Lamont’s current executive order closing or restricting operations at nonessential businesses expires May 20.

Ko and Nooyi expect restrictions will be relaxed “very carefully, in small steps, so that our testing can keep pace with the loosening.”

“A Big Bang opening in one shot in June seems unlikely.”

Indra Nooyi

“A Big Bang opening in one shot in June seems unlikely,” Nooyi said.

“If we can’t do the Big Bang opening, how do we layer in pieces of Connecticut that can be opened?

“And, can we actually control those pieces so there isn’t another outbreak?”

Economic Impact

The shutdown is having a major impact on the state’s economy, with 402,000 unemployment claims filed since March 13.

Those claims represent 24% of the 1.7 million people who were on Connecticut’s nonfarm payrolls prior to the March shutdown order.

The governor’s office released figures showing that businesses closed by the pandemic represent 38% of non-farm employment and 24% of total payrolls.

COVID-19 Connecticut Job Impact

Lamont announced additional members of the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group April 23, adding health, business, workforce, and education experts to a series of committees that will work with the core team led by Nooyi and Ko.

“This group of medical professionals, local business representatives, professionals who work with our at-risk communities, and education officials will provide Connecticut with a valuable resource in our efforts to get our state moving again, while doing so in the safest and most sensible way possible,” Lamont said in a statement.

Main Advisory Group

  • Indra Nooyi (cochair): Board cochair, AdvanceCT; former CEO, PepsiCo
  • Dr. Albert Ko (cochair): Professor of epidemiology and medicine; department chair, Yale School of Public Health
  • Oni Chukwu: Executive chair, Aventri
  • Alex Karnal: Partner and managing director, Deerfield; co-founder and board member, The Institute for Life Changing Medicines
  • Dr. Mehmood Khan: CEO and board member, Life Biosciences, Inc.
  • Dr. Harlan Krumholz: Cardiologist and healthcare researcher, Yale University and Yale New Haven Hospital
  • Dr. Charles Lee: Scientific director and professor, The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine
  • David Scheer: President, Scheer & Company, Inc.; board chair, Aegerion Pharmaceuticals

Business Committee

  • Oni Chukwu (chair): Executive chair, Aventri
  • Joe Brennan: President and CEO, CBIA
  • Rodney Butler: Chair, Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation
  • Peter Denious: President and CEO, AdvanceCT
  • Howard Hill: Owner, Howard K. Hill Funeral Services
  • Roberta Hoskie: President and CEO, Outreach Realty Services
  • Steve Matiatos: President, Connecticut Lodging Association
  • Dan Meiser: Chair, Connecticut Restaurant Association
  • John Olsen: President emeritus, Connecticut AFL-CIO
  • Fran Pastore: President and CEO, Women’s Business Development Council
  • Tim Phelan: President, Connecticut Retail Merchants Association
  • Meredith Reuben: CEO, EBP Supply Solutions
  • David Roche: President, Connecticut Building Trades
  • Garrett Sheehan: President and CEO, Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce
  • Pedro Soto: President and CEO, Hygrade Precision Technologies

Community Committee

  • Marcella Nunez Smith (chair): Director of Equity Research and Innovation, Yale School of Medicine
  • Marie Allen: Executive director, Southwestern Connecticut Agency on Aging and Independent Living
  • Dr. Ken Alleyne: Vice chair, Connecticut Health Foundation
  • Nora Duncan: State director, Connecticut AARP
  • Rochelle Palache: Assistant district leader, SEIU Local 32BJ
  • Daria Smith: Executive director, Connecticut State Independent Living Council

Education Committee

  • Rick Levin (cochair): Former president, Yale University
  • Linda Lorimer (cochair): Former vice president for global and strategic initiatives, Yale University
  • Rick Branson: Executive director, Connecticut Association of Independent Schools
  • Jan Hochadel: President, AFT Connecticut
  • Steve Kaplan: President, University of New Haven
  • Alice Pritchard: Chief of staff to the president, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities
  • Rachel Rubin: Chief of staff to the president, University of Connecticut
  • Jen Widness: President, Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges
  • Donald Williams, Jr.: Executive director, Connecticut Education Association

Governor’s Representatives

  • Paul Mounds: Chief of staff, Office of the Governor
  • Josh Geballe: COO, Office of the Governor; Commissioner, Department of Administrative Services
  • RenĂ©e Coleman-Mitchell: Commissioner, Department of Public Health
  • Dr. Matthew Cartter: State epidemiologist, Department of Public Health
  • Miguel Cardona: Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Education (Also cochair of the Education Committee)
  • Beth Bye: Commissioner, Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (Also member of the Education Committee)
  • Deidre Gifford: Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Social Services (Also member of the Community Committee)
  • Amy Porter: Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Aging and Disability Services (Also member of the Community Committee)
  • Jordan Scheff: Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Developmental Services (Also member of the Community Committee)
  • David Lehman: Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (Also member of the Business Committee)

Nooyi and Ko, along with Lamont chief of staff Paul Mounds, are also Connecticut’s representatives to the seven-state partnership collaborating on a regional recovery strategy.


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