Gov. Ned Lamont announced on Monday, April 13, that the nonprofit organization AdvanceCT plans to form a panel of experts from within the state’s medical and business community that will consult with and advise his administration with respect to reopening Connecticut’s economy as the nation emerges from the unprecedented public health emergency caused by COVID-19.
That panel will be known as the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group and will examine issues concerning how best to allow commerce to begin, while also ensuring the state’s public health and well-being are protected. Established and governed by AdvanceCT, the group will consult with state and regional partners and experts on next steps and will remain in frequent contact with the Lamont administration in the coming days and weeks.
“I’ve always been a believer that collaboration and relying on experts is the best way to be successful,” Lamont said. “To make the reopening of Connecticut’s economy work in the best way possible, we must strike a proper balance between public health and the economy. To make this work, we need to make sure that Connecticut has a thoughtful approach to getting our state moving after this unprecedented, global public health emergency.”
The advisory group will be co-chaired by Indra Nooyi, who the current board co-chair of AdvanceCT and the former chairman and CEO of PepsiCo; and Albert Ko MD, who is a professor of Epidemiology and Medicine and a department chair at the Yale School of Public Health. Other senior advisors will include Ezekiel Emanuel, who serves as Vice Provost for Global Initiatives and chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, and Scott Gottlieb, who is a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. AdvanceCT expects to announce additional members in the coming days.
Nooyi said, “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. Companies and workers are desperate to get back to normal operations and contribute to our economic growth. Our goal is to devise an appropriate and thoughtful plan for all public officials to carefully consider both public health outcomes and economic and social costs going forward. This will enable our state’s leaders to make decisions about the pace and timing of the states reopening.”
Ko said, “The public health priority is to prevent illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus but also to protect the health and well-being of our communities from the consequences of lockdown and economic shutdown. 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.”
AdvanceCT is a nonprofit organization that works to engage, retain, and recruit businesses and advance overall economic competitiveness in Connecticut. In collaboration with the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, AdvanceCT strives to build a place where business, government, higher education, and nonprofits come together to implement high impact and inclusive economic development solutions for the state. It was originally established in 1993 as the Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC) and changed its name to AdvanceCT in 2020.