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“We’re a lot further along in being proactive versus reactive -- and it’s beginning to pay dividends," says Peter Denious, president and CEO of AdvanceCT, the state government’s economic development entity.
This year, the governor said, “We will continue to emphasize our best-in-the-nation public schools and workforce development, making sure every child, regardless of zip code, race, color, or creed, has the best opportunity at the starting line of life.”
“It will be important going forward that sports league or event organizers give their coaches and players the tools to mitigate risks of transmission as much as possible," said Department of Public Health Acting Commissioner Deidre Gifford.
“Workforce development begins in kindergarten," says Kelli Vallieres, executive director of the newly-formed Connecticut Workforce Development Unit. "By talking with them at such a young age about what they’re interested in, you can find the fire that sparks their interest."
Asked about their outlook for the Connecticut economy, 60% of respondents to a CBIA survey said they expect a contraction over the next 12 months.
The usual mitigating practices (masks, social distancing) will still apply in all circumstances. “Obviously we’re dialing up the risk a little bit,” Gov. Ned Lamont said. “This is no time for us to lose our discipline.”
According to the new CBIA survey, 47% of businesses expect to see a profit this year – down considerably from 77% last year – with 28% forecasting a loss (versus 11% in 2019) and 25% hoping to break even (versus 13% last year).
Although one national forecast says that domestic travel spending will drop 40% this year, Connecticut Office of Tourism Director Randy Fiveash maintains that Connecticut's hospitality sector is “a very resilient industry,” and predicted that thousands of lost jobs will quickly be filled as the summer goes on.
Gov. Ned Lamont acknowledged that any coronavirus flare-ups and/or an increase in hospitalizations could negatively affect the situation. "Plan accordingly, knowing there's a fair amount of risk," he said.
“You have to be so flexible, accommodating your customers and your employees,” says Don Droppo Jr., owner, president and CEO of Curtis Packaging in Sandy Hook. “This is unprecedented for all of us, and you can either run from it or you can see it as an opportunity.”
Six days in to Phase 1 of reopening the state, the picture in Connecticut is good, at least on an anecdotal basis. So said Gov. Ned Lamont at his daily briefing today. However, he noted, disagreement with the tribal owners over their planned June 1 reopening continues.
This is a limited series of Q&As by Fairfield County Business Journal Bureau Chief Kevin Zimmerman with leaders in various business sectors and industries....
“It’s going to be a balancing act,” says Connecticut Retail Merchants Association President Tim Phelan. “We’re ready to reopen, and we’re hoping the general public is ready for us to reopen.”
A group of 11 State Senate Democrats has sent a letter to Gov. Ned Lamont questioning the prudence of starting to reopen some state businesses on May 20 – concerns that the governor tried to assuage during today’s briefing.
Maximum restaurant and office capacity at 50%; frequent cleaning of all high-touch points; and face masks or cloth face coverings for all employees and customers are among the various guidelines that will be in place when Connecticut begins its soft reopening of businesses on May 20.